GOP suggests SCOTUS fight stalling opioid bill

Republicans are accusing Democrats of delaying a bipartisan opioid abuse bill because of the battle over the Supreme Court. 

"To hold hostage the [Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery] bill and shift the discussion to a genuine disagreement that we have with the minority on SCOTUS is literally costing lives," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), a member of the Judiciary Committee, said Thursday on the Senate floor. 
 
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Grassley's staff announced on Wednesday evening that he was postponing Judiciary Committee meeting scheduled for Thursday where Democrats were expected to talk about the Supreme Court vacancy.
 
Grassley's office chalked it up to a scheduling conflict due of the Senate's consideration of CARA. The Iowa Republican had asked to hold the committee meeting off of the Senate floor instead of in the committee's room, but Democrats objected. 
 
"I understand that they're protesting the Judiciary Committee's lack of action on a Supreme Court nomination," Grassley said on the Senate floor. "I imagine that this is just the first of several problems we're going to have in the next few weeks." 
 
Democrats on Thursday blasted Grassley, suggesting senators could have easily debated CARA on the Senate floor while also holding the public Judiciary Committee meeting in its normal committee room. 
 
"We're perfectly willing to have one that was not in a backroom but open so the press would see it," Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyCitizens lose when partisans play politics with the federal judiciary Senate Dems petition Saudi king to release dissidents, US citizen Patrick Leahy sits at center of partisan judicial nominations MORE (D-Vt.), the committee's ranking member, said. 
 
 
Schumer, who is expected to be the next Democratic leader, suggested that the meeting had been postponed because Republicans wanted to avoid a public debate over the Supreme Court. 
 
"We know why they're not doing it today. They're afraid to discuss the issue," he added.
 
The rhetorical battle is the latest in the fight over Obama's forthcoming nominee since Republicans announced that they would not give anyone the president picks a hearing or vote. 
 
Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSuicide is not just a veteran problem; it is an American problem The Hill's Morning Report — Washington readies for Mueller end game Bernie campaign 2.0 - he's in it to win it, this time around MORE (D-Nev.), who has taken to the Senate floor repeatedly to slam Republicans on the issue, suggested Thursday that Grassley had handed over his control over the Judiciary Committee to McConnell, saying that Republican senators had signed a "loyalty oath."