Job undone: McCain refuses to address opioid epidemic

McCain and Republicans refuse to do their jobs, skip town without addressing the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic

Arizonans are used to John McCain refusing to do his job on important issues, but he took things to another level yesterday when he and his fellow Republicans decided to skip town without addressing the ongoing opioid and heroin epidemic in this country.

For whatever misguided reason, they continue to ignore legislation that would fund law enforcement initiatives as well as prevention, recovery and treatment programs across the nation.

McCain’s actions – or lack thereof – should come as a surprise, however. Earlier this year, McCain took great pains to look tough on drug smuggling and fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic in front of the TV cameras. Unfortunately, it was only empty rhetoric as McCain had actually voted against similar funding efforts that would address this crisis and protect communities.

“John McCain’s only interested in fighting the opioid and heroin epidemic when television crews are around, not actually addressing this issue,” said Arizona Democratic Party spokesperson Enrique Gutierrez. “After 33 years in Washington McCain’s changed, and now he cares more about attending high-priced fundraisers for his stalled campaign than finding solutions to real problems.”

BACKGROUND

S. 2423 Was A Bipartisan Bill Containing Nearly $600 Million In Emergency Funding To Battle The Drug Epidemic. [Bloomberg, 1/27/16]

December 2015: The Last Action Taken On S. 2423 Was To Refer To The Committee On Appropriations. [Congress.gov, S.2423, 12/18/15]

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]

 

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