Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioLatino Republicans split on Trump's outreach Illegal immigration foe: Trump shift the 'death knell of his candidacy' Analysis: Clinton speaks at higher grade level than Trump MORE is signing on to a bill to combat drug abuse as he competes in the presidential primary in New Hampshire, which has one of the nation's worst rates of opioid abuse.
Rubio backs bill to curb drug abuse
The Florida Republican said Monday that he is supporting a bipartisan bill from Sens. Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseDem senator: Clinton may command 'majority of the Republican caucus' Banking association backs financial transparency bill Shift in care could reverse the opioid epidemic MORE (D-R.I.) and Rob PortmanRob PortmanThe Trail 2016: On the fringe McConnell: Senate won't take up TPP this year Senate Dems' campaign arm knocks GOP for Trump support MORE (R-Ohio) that would expand treatment and prevention efforts aimed at curbing prescription drug and heroin abuse.
"It’s important to ensure that proper treatment services are there for those who are seeking help or who have fallen through the cracks, and this bill will help them get the care they deserve," Rubio said.
Rubio's support for the legislation comes as the issue has gained prominence in the 2016 presidential election particularly in New Hampshire, which has its primary on Tuesday. The Florida senator took third place in the Iowa caucuses and has been hoping for at least a second-place showing in the early-voting state.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to mark up the Portman-Whitehouse bill Thursday.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellClinton, Trump sharpen attacks Sanders, Merkley back McConnell decision to skip TPP vote John McCain: No longer a profile in courage MORE (R-Ky.) suggested late last month that the Senate would try to pass legislation this year and that lawmakers were "anxious" to see what gets passed out of the committee. The Obama administration is also seeking $1 billion to fight the epidemic.
Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzThe Trail 2016: On the fringe FULL SPEECH: Hillary Clinton links Trump to 'alt-right' in Reno Presidential hopefuls still bank on retail politics MORE, who is competing with Rubio for the GOP nomination, has not formally signed on to the Portman-Whitehouse legislation. The Texas Republican, however, has repeatedly discussed his half-sister's struggle with drug addiction and eventual death during the campaign, including at a forum last week in New Hampshire.