A new rule for U.S. senators is making it a little easier to get a urine test, as the new “bipartisan” legislation introduced Tuesday seeks to give all senators the same access to urine samples as all Americans.
The bill would also create a new “special access program” for senators.
The bill, which was introduced by U.K. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), would create a special program for senators to get samples from urine collection centers, which would include a statewide registry of urine samples.
The program would also require that senators and their staffs submit samples to the National Institute of Standards and Technology, the body responsible for the testing requirements of the Federal Drug Code.
Under the bill, the Senate would not have to submit samples and urine samples to federal labs, but the Senate Office of Public Records would.
The new bill would create the National Registry of Senate Pee Recycling Centers, which is being funded through the National Institutes of Health.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) says the program is intended to make it easier for senators and staffs to obtain samples from their own offices, but critics say it doesn’t go far enough.
“There is no evidence that urine is safer than blood or semen,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).
“We should be taking a blood test every four to eight hours, but we’re not.”
The Senate’s chief biostatistician, William H. Bennett, has also warned that the bill’s provisions could be dangerous, saying in a statement: The Senate will be sending the nation’s health care workers to their graves, and I fear that we will see people die unnecessarily because of a lack of access to reliable urine testing.
“A number of lawmakers have raised concerns that the Senate bill would lead to a spike in drug-related deaths, but Bennett said in a Senate floor speech that “drug use in general is not a leading cause of death in this country.
“A few lawmakers have expressed concerns about how the bill would affect people who work with their own urine samples, which they said would make it difficult for them to get the testing they need.
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R.S.) has raised concerns about the bill in a letter to Bennett, who wrote back to her Wednesday that he had discussed the matter with the chief biographer of the Senate.
Senators also are concerned that the legislation could allow people to evade drug testing requirements and collect their own samples, and they’ve asked for additional details about how that would work.
Sen.-elect Tom Carper (D.-Del.), who is expected to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee, told BuzzFeed News that he is looking forward to working with senators to ensure that the new law will not pose a safety risk.”
I want to make sure that the people who are doing this, those of us who have been here for a long time, we know that it is not just about politics, but it’s about people,” Carper said.