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Columns February 14, 2017  RSS feed

U.S. Congressman Keivn Brady

Drug Testing, Trade & Israel
By U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady

In 2012 I helped lead the successful effort in Congress to allow states to conduct drug testing of people receiving unemployment benefits. The goal: get Americans job ready for occupations that drug test as a condition of employment. Texas to its credit was the first to volunteer for the pilot program, and even changed its laws to get ready.

Not surprisingly, President Obama refused to implement the new law he signed, instead directing his Department of Labor to release regulations that effectively blocked states. One of the last obstacles was imposed just as he left office -- another example of his unconstitutional arrogance in picking which laws to ignore and which to enforce.

This week the U.S. House of Representatives will consider my legislation to stop the last-minute Labor Department regulation. Why should taxpayers subsidize drug use by those on unemployment? How can parents be ready to go back to work if they can't pass a simple drug test that so many businesses require these days?

This is commonsense and I look forward to letting Texas lead the way in helping lift people off government paychecks and into good paying jobs.

One of America's best investments in peace and security is our special relationship with Israel. For America it means cooperative missile defense systems that protect Israelis and American citizens. It means state-of-the-art weapons to protect U.S. military men and women, including IED detection and reactive armor. Our joint intelligence sharing gives us insight into terrorist groups through the world, and foremost, protects Israel as it seeks a permanent and lasting peace in the Middle East.

That relationship has been damaged as President Obama engineered a Congress-opposed agreement that ensures that Iran, which is a state sponsor of terrorism, gains nuclear weapons over time. He further betrayed

Israel by allowing a dangerous U.N. resolution to pass that targets Israel and jeopardizes a two-state solution to peace in the Middle East.

I'm pleased that one of this Congress' first acts was to overwhelmingly condemn the U.N. Security Council Resolution enabled by President Obama. More needs to be done, including President Trump's reversing of the dangerous Iran nuclear agreement, fighting economic boycotts of Israel by other countries and cutting funding to the United Nations until the longstanding balance in Israel-Palestinian negotiations is restored.

I recently met with President Trump and Vice President Pence in the White House to discuss trade. This is a key economic issue. In the U.S. House of Representatives, trade is directed by the Ways & Means Committee that I lead.

The president made it clear he opposes NAFTA in its current form and wants to make it more fair for America. As he seeks to modernize the 23-year old agreement between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, he asked us to identify what is working for America, what is not and what should be included in a 21st Century trade agreement between three large economies that are closely integrated.

This is the right starting point. This is also incredibly important to states like Texas who lead the nation in export sales to other countries.

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