Schumer: Trump must withdraw drug czar pick

Schumer: Trump must withdraw drug czar pick
© Greg Nash

Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSinema says she would back Kennedy in race against Markey Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall Pelosi: 'People are dying' because McConnell won't bring up gun legislation 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) Manchin The 13 Republicans needed to pass gun-control legislation Trump, lawmakers consider app that would conduct background checks: report Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (W.Va.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinFederal funding for Chinese buses risks our national security Democrats threaten to withhold defense votes over wall The Trump downturn: Trouble ahead for the US economy MORE (Wis.) have also called on Trump to pull the nomination.