GOP prepares opioids bills to send to Obama's desk

GOP prepares opioids bills to send to Obama's desk
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The House on Friday put the finishing touches on a major package of legislation to address the opioids epidemic, which GOP leaders say could be one of their top achievements in 2016.

Lawmakers voted 400-5 on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act — its version of the opioids legislation passed the Senate in March.


The sweeping bill passed Friday is the 18th measure on opioids approved this week, all on a broad bipartisan basis. The legislation will now move to a conference with the Senate package, and is likely to receive President Obama’s signature despite Democratic protests that the bill lacks sufficient funding.

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanAmash storm hits Capitol Hill Debate with Donald Trump? Just say no Ex-Trump adviser says GOP needs a better health-care message for 2020 MORE (R-Wis.) and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) have made the legislation tackling drug addiction the centerpiece of the week, despite the focus on GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpA better VA, with mental health services, is essential for America's veterans Pelosi, Nadler tangle on impeachment, contempt vote Trump arrives in Japan to kick off 4-day state visit MORE's presence in D.C. on Thursday.

“This has been a big week in the House,” McCarthy said at a ceremony after the bill’s passage, with about 25 GOP lawmakers behind him.

Many of the bill’s authors are House Republicans from states hit hard by drug addiction who are facing reelection this fall. Reps. Frank Guinta (N.H.), Ryan Costello (Pa.) and Barbara Comstock (Va.), who each touted their roles in the legislation at Friday’s press conference, are listed among the House’s most competitive races of 2016, according to the Cook Political Report.

The main provisions of the bill include an interagency task force to recommend new guidelines for pain management and prescribing and a new substance abuse program within the Department of Justice. The package also includes a measure to strengthen legal protections for “good samaritans” who help administer overdose-reversal drugs.

Rep. Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteTop Republican releases full transcript of Bruce Ohr interview It’s time for Congress to pass an anti-cruelty statute DOJ opinion will help protect kids from dangers of online gambling MORE (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement Friday he believes the House bills passed this week “improve the Senate bill” because it calls for stronger law enforcement while also expanding education and treatment.

“I look forward to working with the Senate to send a bill swiftly to the President’s desk to address this terrible epidemic poisoning our nation,” Goodlatte wrote in a statement.

Obama has not said he would reject the bill, though his administration has applied pressure for more funding.

"[W]hile we appreciate the attention Congress is paying to the issue, the legislation being voted on today in the House lacks the funding necessary to help every American with an opioid use disorder who wants treatment get the help they need," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell said in a statement this week.