Senate

Reid: Dems could pull out of opioid bill

Cameron Lancaster

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) is warning that Democrats want more amendments to a bipartisan opioid bill or they may block it. 

“We should be able to offer amendments on this legislation. So I hope the Senate will be able to have a full and open amendment process,” Reid said Thursday. “If not, we may not be able to proceed forward on this legislation. It would be too bad.” 

 
{mosads}While Democrats helped the legislation easily overcome a procedural hurdle earlier this week, they could still block Republicans from getting the 60 votes needed to end debate. 
 
Reid suggested Dems have not been allowed to offer enough amendments, adding that the Senate hasn’t had a “robust amendment process.”
 
“We would accept a new definition of robust I guess, if we got to offer a few amendments,” he added. “We’re not going to pass it if we get jammed.” 
 
While no additional vote has been scheduled on the bill, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that senators “have an opportunity to take another step forward” on the legislation. 
 
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) added that he tried to schedule additional votes on the legislation but was blocked by Democrats, accusing them of setting up “additional roadblocks” and using “shenanigans” on the Senate floor. 
 
Reid’s comments come after Republicans blocked a Democratic push to include $600 million in emergency funding in the legislation. Top Democrats, however, have suggested they will still support the opioid abuse bill without the extra money.  
 
The bill, from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), 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 overdose.
Tags Chuck Grassley Harry Reid Mitch McConnell Rob Portman Sheldon Whitehouse
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