GOP: House to vote Friday on opioid bill

GOP: House to vote Friday on opioid bill
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House GOP leaders are pressing ahead with a high-profile opioid abuse bill despite a standoff with Democrats over funding.

The House is expected to vote Friday on the opioid bill, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonGOP: The economy will shield us from blue wave Republicans mull new punishments for dissident lawmakers Key primaries in August will help shape midterms MORE (R-Mich.) told The Hill on Wednesday.

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The bill will likely head to the House Rules Committee on Thursday, he added.  

Democrats have vowed to oppose the GOP’s latest version of the bill, which was publicly unveiled this week after months of closed-door conversations.

While GOP leaders have promised to commit more than $500 million during this fall’s regular appropriations process, Democrats have said it will be too late — if Congress can manage to pass a budget at all.

Upton, who leads the bicameral conference committee on opioids, said he was “optimistic” Congressional leaders could reach a deal to bring Democrats on board.

“It’s not likely that the [Democrats] will sign the conference report, so at some point, it gets kicked up to the leadership levels to figure out how to get this done,” Upton said.

“I think at the end of the day, you’ll see money for it, you’ll see an agreement that’s made, but it’s not quite there yet,” he said.

Earlier Wednesday, Republicans unanimously defeated several Democratic attempts to add nearly $1 billion to the opioid package.

While the conference committee can proceed without Democratic support, the party’s staunch opposition will become problematic when the bill reaches the Senate floor.

Like in last week’s spat over the bill to combat the Zika virus, Democrats can block a House-passed bill from going forward in the Senate.

That would cause a major headache for GOP leaders, who have just two weeks before this summer’s recess begins.

“Nobody wants to get out of here without getting opioids [legislation] done,” Upton said.