White House takes stand against drug abuse bill

White House takes stand against drug abuse bill
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The Obama administration is casting doubt on a Senate bill to tackle opioid abuse, warning it would “do little to address the epidemic” without more funding.

The White House is wading into the Senate battle over the bill, hoping to bolster the stand of Democratic Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerSenate Dems plan floor protest ahead of ObamaCare repeal vote Dem senator: Don't bet against McConnell on ObamaCare repeal It's time for Republicans to play offense while Democrats are weak MORE (N.Y.) and Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenDems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity Senate overwhelmingly passes Russia sanctions deal Russia sanctions deal clears key Senate hurdle MORE (N.H.), who are demanding $600 million in extra funding for the bill.

The administration’s statement — which falls short of a veto threat — comes just one day after Senate GOP leadership said it was unsure about the bill’s passage, citing the concerns among Democrats.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, spearheaded by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), focuses on treating drug addictions by improving prescription drug monitoring programs and making the anti-overdose drug, naloxone, more available to first responders.

But the administration warned Tuesday that the bill does not go far enough.

“Rather than accelerate important policies like training health care providers about appropriate opioid prescribing, the bill includes an unnecessary feasibility study on the issue that would delay action,” the administration wrote.

The bill passed its first hurdle in the Senate late Monday, though Senate Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) warned after the vote that he has seen “some signals on the horizon that indicate some potential trouble.”

Combating drug addiction has been hailed as one of few areas of potential bipartisan agreement in Congress, particularly in an election year when drug abuse has become a key issue in early-voting states.