All for Show: McCain’s Empty Rhetoric on Drug Epidemic

McCain talks tough on fighting opioid and heroin smuggling for the cameras, but voted against funding solutions

At a recent Department of Homeland Security hearing, John McCain took great pains to look tough on drug smuggling and battling the opioid and heroin epidemic – which would be commendable, except McCain had just voted against funding law enforcement and treatment efforts to battle this very problem.  

Even worse, McCain’s campaign then promoted this grandstanding episode but avoided McCain’s actual vote on the matter.  

“John McCain’s record is clear. He voted against funding efforts to fight the opioid and heroin epidemic to appease his party bosses, then tried to cover it up with tough talk and grandstanding,” said Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson Enrique Gutierrez. “This is just another example of how McCain has changed after three decades in Washington. Arizonans want a senator, like Ann Kirkpatrick, who cares more about results than making the nightly news.”



McCain Voted Against An Amendment To Add $600 Million In Funding For Enforcement And Treatment In Order To Address The Heroin And Drug Abuse Epidemic. On March 2, 2016, McCain voted against the “Shaheen, D-N.H., motion to waive applicable portions of the Budget Act with respect to the Enzi, R-Wyo., point of order against the Shaheen, D-N.H., amendment no. 3345 to the Grassley, R-Iowa, substitute amendment no. 3378. The Shaheen amendment would make available $600 million for opioid-prevention and -treatment programs.” The amendment was rejected 48-47. [CQ, 3/2/16; S.Amdt. 3345 to S.Amdt. 3378 to S. 524, vote #30, 3/2/16]

The Shaheen Amendment Would Have Provided $230 Million For Law Enforcement Initiatives Including Alternatives To Incarceration. “The emergency funding provision would have allocated $230 million to law enforcement initiatives, including treatment alternatives to incarceration. Another $10 million would have gone to state and local law enforcement units that oversee communities with high levels of drug use.” [Huffington Post, 3/2/16]

The Shaheen Amendment Would Have Provided $300 Million For Programs Focused On Prevention, Treatment, And Recovery, As Well As Fund For CDC Monitoring Programs. “The amendment, authored by Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), also set aside $300 million for state programs focused on prevention, treatment and recovery, and for improving treatment for pregnant and postpartum women dealing with heroin or opioid addiction. The remaining funds would have helped the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in its drug monitoring programs, and increased medication-assisted treatment in high-risk communities.” [Huffington Post, 3/2/16]