Senate sends bipartisan package to fight opioid epidemic to Trump's desk

Senate sends bipartisan package to fight opioid epidemic to Trump's desk
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The Senate on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a bipartisan bill aimed at fighting the opioid crisis, sending the measure to President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump passes Pence a dangerous buck Overnight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Trump nods at reputation as germaphobe during coronavirus briefing: 'I try to bail out as much as possible' after sneezes MORE’s desk.

The Upper Chamber passed the bill by a vote of 98-1, capping months of work on the measure and gaining a bipartisan achievement in the midst of a fiercely partisan battle over the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress eyes killing controversial surveillance program Trump creates new headaches for GOP with top intelligence pick Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' MORE (R-Utah) was the only senator to oppose the bill. 

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The 660-page bill includes a range of measures aimed at fighting the opioid addiction crisis.

the legislation lifts some limits, which lawmakers called outdated, on Medicaid paying for care at addiction treatment facilities. It cracks down on illicit opioids being imported by mail from other countries and fueling the epidemic.

The legislation also lifts limits on nurse practitioners and other providers being able to prescribe the addiction treatment drug buprenorphine.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellOvernight Health Care — Presented by American Health Care Association — Trump taps Pence to lead coronavirus response | Trump accuses Pelosi of trying to create panic | CDC confirms case of 'unknown' origin | Schumer wants .5 billion in emergency funds Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives To avoid November catastrophe, Democrats have to KO Sanders MORE (R-Ky.) on Wednesday said the bill is “set to deliver major relief to the American communities that have been decimated by the scourge of substance abuse and addiction.”

He called the bill “a landmark package that will deliver critical resources to establish opioid-specific recovery centers and equip local medical practitioners.”

More than 42,000 people were killed by opioids in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the House, Republican incumbents in tough reelection races touted their work on the bill, while in the Senate more Democratic incumbents lauded the progress.

For example, Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon Donnelly70 former senators propose bipartisan caucus for incumbents Ginsburg health scare raises prospect of election year Supreme Court battle Watchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 MORE (D-Ind.), who faces a tough race in a state President Trump won handily in 2016, praised the bill from the Senate floor Wednesday and pointed to the inclusion of provisions he worked on.

Some Democrats say the bill is a good first step but more work still needs to be done, including more funding.

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenBiden looks to shore up lead in S.C. Hillicon Valley: Dems cancel surveillance vote after pushback to amendments | Facebook to ban certain coronavirus ads | Lawmakers grill online ticketing execs | Hacker accessed facial recognition company's database Push for national popular vote movement gets boost from conservatives MORE (D-Mass.), for example, has a bill to provide $100 billion to fight the crisis over 10 years, saying a larger, more sustained investment is necessary.