A bipartisan prescription drug and heroin abuse bill overcame a procedural hurdle Monday evening as it heads toward a final vote this week.
Senators voted 86-3 to end the debate on an important amendment. The amendment, once the Senate formally adopts it, will effectively become the opioid bill, replacing the current text of the legislation.
The overwhelming procedural vote is the latest sign that the opioid abuse bill, from Sens. Rob PortmanRob PortmanRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate Chamber pressures red-state Dems to back Trump on cutting regs GOP govs: ObamaCare repeal bill shifts 'significant' costs to states MORE (R-Ohio) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseLive coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Dems land few punches on Gorsuch Overnight Regulation: Dems punch back in fight over CEO pay rule MORE (D-R.I.), is on a path to clear the upper chamber this week.
Portman told The Hill after the vote that he expects final passage to take place Wednesday.
The legislation authorizes funding for programs to combat prescription opioid abuse, in addition to increasing the availability of naloxone, a drug to treat overdose.
Sen. John CornynJohn CornynGOP senator: 'We still need to figure out what the president was talking about' on wiretapping Live coverage: Day two of Supreme Court nominee hearing Repeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate MORE (R-Texas) praised the legislation Monday, saying it will "help restore communities and families across America."
"This is a serious piece of legislation that's been done on a bipartisan basis, and this is a good illustration of how we in the Senate ought to be doing our jobs," he added.
Monday's vote comes after both Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidThis obscure Senate rule could let VP Mike Pence fully repeal ObamaCare once and for all Sharron Angle to challenge GOP rep in Nevada Fox's Watters asks Trump whom he would fire: Baldwin, Schumer or Zucker MORE (D-Nev.) and Majority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellOvernight Healthcare: High drama for ObamaCare vote | Freedom Caucus chair 'optimistic' about deal | Trump woos right High drama for ObamaCare vote Senate nixes Obama-era workplace safety rule MORE (R-Ky.) tried unsuccessfully to set up additional votes on amendments late last week.
Sen. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyOvernight Cybersecurity: House Intel chair says surveillance collected on Trump transition team Dem senators reintroduce cybersecurity bills for cars, planes Senate Dems introduce bill to rescind Trump border wall, immigration order MORE (D-Mass.), one of the three senators who voted against moving forward Monday evening, suggested he likely wouldn't be able to get a vote on two amendments that he was hoping to attach to the legislation.
"I'm looking forward to continuing to work with my colleagues on the other side of the aisle," he said ahead of the vote. "I believe there is more to be done."
One of the amendments Markey had hoped to get a vote on would require the Food and Drug Administration to convene a review panel for any new opioid medication.
Republican Sens. Mike LeeMike LeeHealthcare fight pits Trump against Club for Growth Republicans should seize the moment and repeal ObamaCare now ObamaCare repeal faces last obstacle before House vote MORE (Utah) and Ben Sasse (Neb.) also voted against ending debate on the substitute amendment.
Portman suggested that senators — led by Sen. Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyLive coverage: Day three of Supreme Court nominee hearing Live coverage: Day two of Supreme Court nominee hearing Grassley, CNN host spar over Trump wiretap claims MORE (R-Iowa) — were continuing to negotiate on a wide-ranging package of amendments. Votes on additional amendments could come as soon as Tuesday, though no votes are currently scheduled.
"I know that he's interested in a manager's package, and we just talked to the staff a moment ago, and they're interested in processing more amendments," he added.