Durbin: Dems will back opioid bill even without funding

Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenators introduce dueling miners bills Dems want Sessions to recuse himself from Trump-Russia probe Cubs celebrate World Series win at White House 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 Shaheen5 billion reasons Rex Tillerson is wrong Mattis's views on women in combat takes center stage Tillerson won't rule out Muslim registry 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." 
 
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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 PortmanSenators introduce dueling miners bills Schumer puts GOP on notice over ObamaCare repeal Trump, House GOP could clash over 'Buy America' MORE (R-Ohio) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseHealth pick’s trades put STOCK Act in spotlight Dems prepare to face off with Trump's pick to lead EPA Dem: EPA pick should answer questions before hearing 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 CornynSenate panel sets vote on Sessions for AG Obama commutes Chelsea Manning's sentence Report: Concealed-carry permit holders have killed hundreds since 2007 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 McConnellGOP senators introducing ObamaCare replacement Monday Senators introduce dueling miners bills Dems demand second hearing for Trump's Education nominee 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.