After Movement On Opioids In House, Congress Turns Attention Toward Compromise Bill
The House this week voted on several bills to combat the raging epidemic, though the measures were criticized for lacking funding. The Senate passed its own legislation in March, and now lawmakers will work to send a plan to the president before leaving for summer recess.
The Associated Press:
House, Senate Hope To Craft Quick Anti-Drug Abuse Compromise
Congress is ready to start crafting compromise legislation addressing the nation’s opioid abuse crisis, which should be an easier lift than other issues facing lawmakers. The reason: Both parties have an election-year incentive to show they’re tackling a problem that’s killing people in America’s biggest cities and smallest towns. The House approved three bills Thursday setting up federal grants and taking other steps to battle the drug epidemic, the last of 18 measures on the issue the chamber overwhelmingly passed this week. Members of both parties hailed the measures, though Democrats complained that none provided any money for the programs and anti-drug advocates called the bills a needed but modest first step. (Fram, 5/13)
The Wall Street Journal:
House Passes Bills To Combat Opioid Abuse In U.S.
The House passed several bills Thursday to combat the country’s growing problems with painkiller abuse and heroin use, which health officials say are now causing more Americans to die from drug overdoses than traffic accidents. The bills, approved with broad bipartisan support, provide for substance abuse treatment, education and law enforcement efforts to tackle the opioid epidemic, among other provisions. They join related bills passed earlier in the week. (O'Keeffe, 5/12)
Pelosi: Opioid Bills 'Not Effective' Without Funding
Legislation addressing opioid addiction is essentially useless as long as Republicans refuse to provide new funding, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) warned Thursday. Pelosi characterized the opioid proposals, which GOP leaders are pushing through the House this week, as "good bipartisan" bills. "However," she was quick to add, "Republicans are refusing to provide the emergency funding that is needed to make the difference. Just to have the statements is interesting — it's conversational — but it's not effective without the resources." (Lillis, 5/12)
Los Angeles Times:
Lawmaker Calls For Scrutiny Of Drug Makers' Role Amid Opioid Abuse Epidemic
As Congress showed bipartisan support for legislation to address the nation's opioid abuse epidemic, a lawmaker urged colleagues Thursday to look closely at the role of pharmaceutical companies, citing a Los Angeles Times investigation into the manufacturer of OxyContin. In remarks on the House floor, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called the marketing of painkillers by drug companies "the root cause of the problems." (Ryan and Levey, 5/12)
The Lake County News-Sun:
Dold Bill To Increase Access To Heroin Antidote Gets House Approval
Chelsea Laliberte, whose brother Alex "Lali" Laliberte died of a heroin overdose in 2008, was in Washington, D.C. Thursday to see bipartisan legislation pass that will increase access to the life-saving heroin antidote naloxone. "We are getting closer to some very important progress," she said from the office of U.S. Robert Dold, R-Ill. (Abderholden, 5/12)