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House to vote on opioid bills next week

House to vote on opioid bills next week
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The House will vote on legislation aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic next week, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyRocky Mountain National Park closed due to expanding Colorado wildfire Trump is out of touch with Republican voters on climate change The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Iran, Russia election bombshell; final Prez debate tonight MORE (R-Calif.) announced Wednesday.

The chamber will vote on dozens of bills over a period of two weeks.

“This epidemic is destroying America, the fiber of who we are,” McCarthy said Wednesday in announcing the votes.

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“It will take us two weeks to finish this process, but at the end of the day we'll continue to make America safer and more secure and more prosperous,” he added.

Many of the bills are relatively minor on their own, but they seek to fight the epidemic of opioid overdoses in a variety of ways.

One of the more far-reaching measures lifts some limits on Medicaid paying for care at treatment facilities for people with opioid addiction, something known the IMD exclusion, a long-held goal for many advocates.

That bill is sponsored by Rep. Mimi Walters (R-Calif.), who is facing a tough reelection race this year. Passage of opioid bills could be touted by many lawmakers in their bids to be reelected.

Some Democrats have warned that the money could be better spent on other forms of care rather than keeping people overnight in treatment centers. It is not yet clear what the cost of the measure will be, and changes to the version that was voted out of committee could be needed.

A final list of bills has not been released yet, though the vast majority of measures approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee are expected to be considered, along with some measures from other panels.

Most of the bills are uncontroversial and received wide bipartisan support.

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenRace heats up for top GOP post on powerful Energy and Commerce Committee Asbestos ban stalls in Congress amid partisan fight Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' MORE (R-Ore.) has made advancing opioid measures a top priority.

Other legislation that could be considered includes encouraging research on non-addictive painkillers, requiring electronic prescribing as a way to better track prescriptions and giving authorities new tools to intercept imports of illicit opioids.  

David Popp, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote Democrats warn GOP will regret Barrett confirmation GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg MORE (R-Ky.), said Wednesday that the Senate also could take up opioid legislation, saying it is one item on the to-do list for August now that the August recess has been canceled. He said there were no detailed scheduling announcements to make now, though.