OPIOID SERIES:

Schumer: Trump must withdraw drug czar pick

Schumer: Trump must withdraw drug czar pick
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerCorker won’t campaign against Democrat running for Tennessee Senate seat Family, friends mourn death of Barbara Bush James Comey’s history of misconduct  MORE (D-N.Y.) is calling on President Trump to withdraw Rep. Tom Marino's (R-Pa.) nomination to serve as the nation’s drug czar amid criticism that he led a bid to weaken enforcement of the nation's drug policing laws.

"Tonight I am calling on President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Rep. Marino. ... We can do better," Schumer said on Monday from the Senate floor.

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He added that if Trump doesn't withdraw the nomination, "it will be another betrayal in a long line of betrayals on issues near and dear to rural America."

Trump nominated Marino to head the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy.

But The Washington Post and "60 Minutes," in a joint investigation, detailed Marino’s involvement in helping pass legislation critics say weakened the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) authority to halt drug distributors.

This reportedly undermined the DEA’s effort to stop the flow of prescription opioids, drugs that have contributed to rising overdose death rates.

Schumer called the Washington Post-"60 Minutes" report a "profoundly troubling revelation" as the country faces a prescription drug and opioid overdose epidemic.

"Confirming Rep. Marino as our nation's drug czar is like putting the wolf in charge of the henhouse. The American people deserve someone totally committed to fighting the opioid crisis, not someone who has labored on behalf of the drug industry," Schumer added.

Since 1999, the rate of overdose deaths from opioids has more than quadrupled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinSenate blocks bill that opponents say weakens water pollution rules GOP Senate hopeful convicted after mining disaster files to vacate conviction Senate repeals auto-loan guidance in precedent-shattering vote MORE (W.Va.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinDem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance Dem senators call on FCC to protect against robocalls GOP Senate hopefuls race to catch up with Dems MORE (Wis.) have also called on Trump to pull the nomination.