Manchin hopes White House not 'serious' on cuts to anti-drug office

Manchin hopes White House not 'serious' on cuts to anti-drug office
© Keren Carrion

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinSenators scramble to save infrastructure deal GOP sees debt ceiling as its leverage against Biden Democrats brace for slog on Biden's spending plan MORE (D-W.Va.) on Sunday said he hoped the White House wasn't "serious" in a reported proposal to cut nearly the entire budget for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

"I would hope that that's not a serious consideration," he said during an interview on CBS's "Face The Nation."

"This in any other sense of the word would be a pandemic."


Manchin said drug addiction is something the country needs to fight. He called for doctors to be more educated on the crisis and for the DEA to do its job.

"We need to have treatment centers that take care of people. We need to start basically education from kindergarten all the way through adulthood," he said.

"We need to get involved and stop this epidemic that's going on," he continued.

"You don't cut 90 percent of funding out of the greatest epidemic that we've ever had."

Reports surfaced last week the White House is proposing slashing funding to the ONDCP by about 95 percent, according to a lobbyist familiar with the plan. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, responding to the report, said that "this is a budget that hasn't been completed yet," and "the president has an absolute commitment to making certain that we fight the opioid crisis." 

"Whether it's through an office within the White House or whether it's through a department, an agency of government, I don't think the American people care," he said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "What they care about is that we are absolutely addressing this opioid crisis in the most aggressive and effective manner possible."

The agency is informally known as the drug czar's office. It is charged with advising the president on drug-related issues, coordinating efforts to reduce drug use and creating an annual national drug control strategy.