Republican Congressman busted for cocaine possession voted to drug-test food stamp recipients

Trey Radel all sadface with journalists mics and voice recorders around him

You’ve probably heard about freshman Congressman Trey Radel, a Republican from Florida who was recently caught buying cocaine from an undercover cop in DC. But did you know he just voted to drug-test food stamp users? Yup:

But a month before he sought to ride the white pony with the college kids in Northwest, he was neck-deep in the House’s messy debate over whether to continue federal food-stamp benefits to needy families.

That debate culminated in Radel’s vote for a bill that would have authorized states to withhold food stamps from applicants who didn’t submit to a drug urinalysis. Which is pretty interesting, given that a similar plan in Radel’s home state, championed by Florida Gov. Rick Scott, ended up as a disastrous waste of taxpayer money and a violation of impoverished welfare applicants’ Fourth Amendment rights.

Apparently Congressman Radel thinks that if you’re a wealthy white politician it’s cool to do all the drugs while making decisions that impact the material conditions of THE ENTIRE COUNTRY, but if you’re just trying to get help getting food for your family so that you can literally survive,  you should be shit outta luck. Really?

The treatment of addiction as behavior that should be punished is extremely frustrating and in diametric opposition to clinical evidence about what actually helps addicts recover. Addiction is a public health issue, and it should be treated as such. When it’s not, it’s usually low-income folks of color who suffer the most. In the case of SNAP benefits, or food stamps, women – and particularly women of color – are distinctly affected.

Of course Congressman Radel thinks he, as opposed to SNAP benefit recipients, deserves a second chance: He plans to stay in office, taking a leave of absence until next year.

1bfea3e7449eff65a94e2e55a8b7acda-bpfullVeronica Bayetti Flores is an immigrant queer writer, domestic artist, and music video enthusiast.

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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