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 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)
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)
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)
Meanwhile, senators have broken their deadlock over Zika funding —
The Washington Post:
Senate Reaches Deal On Zika Funding, Will Vote Tuesday
The Senate on Thursday reached a bipartisan deal that would provide $1.1 billion in funding to fight the Zika virus, breaking a months-long standoff over how much spending is needed to address the growing public health threat. The funding package was introduced as an amendment to a spending bill that is expected to be considered next week. Senators will also have the opportunity to vote on an option that would fully fund White House’s $1.9 billion request and a separate GOP-backed proposal that would use $1.2 billion in cuts to an Affordable Care Act program to offset the cost of $1.1 billion in Zika spending. (Snell, 5/12)