House Panel Advances Mental Health Bill, But Dems Complain Their Concerns Weren’t Met
In a fierce clash at the hearing, Democratic lawmakers say that they were not allowed to contribute to the bill, despite promises that their issues would be addressed.
Mental Health Reform Bill Advances After Clash
A House panel on Wednesday advanced a sweeping mental health reform bill after a fiery debate where Democrats objected that they had been cut out of the process. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), which overhauls the system for treating seriously mentally ill people, was billed as the Republican response to the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting when the measure was first introduced in 2013. It has been controversial and delayed for years, but is now starting to move forward. The House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee advanced it on a mostly party line vote of 18-12 on Wednesday. (Sullivan, 11/4)
Sparks Fly in Usually Amicable Committee Over Mental Health Bill
Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) has made bipartisanship a key tenet as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. On Wednesday, that comity fell apart. At an uncharacteristically chaotic and lengthy subcommittee meeting, Republicans and Democrats duked it out over a divisive and long-stalled mental health bill. Democrats’ attacks were mainly leveled at the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), who they said did not negotiate with them. (Reid, 11/4)
House Subcommittee Advances Mental Health Bill
Legislation to overhaul the mental health system was advanced by a House subcommittee on Wednesday evening without resounding support from Democrats – a sign that efforts to address the complex issue of mental health could be an uphill battle in Congress. After a marathon markup that saw nearly 30 amendment votes, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health backed 18-12, mostly along party lines, an amended measure (HR 2646) that would redirect federal funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to programs that focus on serious mental illness. (Zanona, 11/5)