Durbin: Dems will back opioid bill even without funding

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (D-Ill.) on Tuesday suggested his caucus would back an opioid abuse treatment bill even if Republicans reject a push to include $600 million in emergency money. 

"Oh we're going to support it, but we want the Shaheen amendment to pay for it," the Senate's No. 2 Democrat told reporters, referring to an effort by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Obama signs 'bill of rights' for rape survivors into law Four military options for Obama in Syria MORE (D-N.H.). "I'm going to vote for the bill. I think most Democrats will, but we want it to be paid for." 
Top Democrats have demanded for weeks that hundreds of millions of dollars in supplemental spending be folded into the opioid abuse legislation from Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanRepublican opposition to raising the minimum wage Is crumbling Trump: 'Very disappointed' GOP senator dropped support GOP senator: I'd consider Clinton Supreme Court pick MORE (R-Ohio) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseMoney for nothing: Rethinking CO2 Dem takes Exxon fight to GOP chairman's backyard Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP MORE (D-R.I.). 
Democrats overwhelmingly helped the legislation get over a procedural hurdle Monday evening, however. They have been tight-lipped on whether they would be willing to sink the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). 
Republicans argue that any funding should go through the appropriations process. Sen. John CornynJohn CornynReport: Investor visa program mainly funds wealthy areas GOP senators avoid Trump questions on rigged election Conservatives backing Trump keep focus on Supreme Court MORE (R-Texas) said Tuesday there is approximately $571 million in last year's omnibus bill that could be directed toward CARA.
Durbin, however, suggested that he didn't know what his Republican counterpart was talking about. 
"I'd like to ask my friend from Texas to show me the money," Durbin told reporters. 
Whitehouse appeared to back Durbin's comments on the Senate floor while suggesting that lawmakers need to do some soul searching and talk with constituents about the "right way to vote" on the Democratic push for funding.

"I will fight as hard as I can to make sure that this bill is adequately funded, but I do not intend nor do I know anyone who intends to block the passage of CARA or to interfere with it going into law over the question of funding," he said.
CARA authorizes — but doesn't appropriate — funding for programs to combat prescription drug and heroin abuse, in addition to increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug to treat overdoses.
Democrats argue that the the emergency funding is needed to make sure communities who are fighting the overdose epidemic can get help quickly. 
Getting the opioid bill through the Senate would give Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellRubio: GOP Congress could go in different direction than Trump Pelosi blasts GOP leaders for silence on Trump Reid: Groping accusations show Trump’s ‘sickness’ MORE (R-Ky.) an election-year win as both sides dig in for a bitter fight over President Obama's forthcoming nominee to succeed deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. 
It would also be an election-year boon for Portman, who faces a tough reelection bid and has put the drug crisis at the forefront of his campaign. 
Durbin, however, warned that voters would see through a "stunt" if Republicans support the Portman-Whitehouse bill but don't agree to include the funding pushed for by Democrats. 
"I think ultimately the public will see through it, if the Republicans won't pay for it and won't come up with the resources," he said. "Republicans who vote against paying for it ... have something to explain back home." 
—Updated at 6:02 p.m.