Democratic CARA Conferees Call for Addition of Real Funding to Combat Opioid & Heroin Addiction
WASHINGTON – Ahead of Wednesday’s public meeting of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) conference committee, Democratic conferees are urging their Republican counterparts to support the addition of $920 million fully paid for by bipartisan offsets for states to provide critical resources to respond to the nation’s opioid and heroin epidemic.
In a letter to Conference Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), all House and Senate Democratic conferees noted that the savings identified in the letter have recently received strong bipartisan support in both the House and the Senate, and similar funding levels for combatting opioid addiction were included in the president’s FY2016 budget request. A coalition of 182 organizations representing medical experts, first responders, and local government has called on conferees to put real resources in the CARA bill, as this proposal would do.
The Democratic Conferees noted that, “While the scope and urgency of the opioid crisis would justify this investment being considered emergency spending, we are willing to put Federal budget savings on the table, demonstrating that there is no excuse for inaction when it comes to funding for treatment and prevention of opioid addiction.”
They added, “Accordingly, we will not sign a conference report that does not include significant funding that reflects the seriousness of the epidemic and provides meaningful support to these important priorities.”
The letter was signed by Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), HELP Committee Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-Wash.), and Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) in the Senate; and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.), Education and Workforce Ranking Member Bobby Scott (D-Va.), Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), Rep. John Sarbanes (D-Md.), Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.), Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas), Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.), Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), Rep. Elizabeth Esty (D-Conn.), Rep. Ann Kuster (D-N.H.), and Rep. Raul Ruiz M.D. (D-Calif.) in the House.
A copy of the July 5 letter to Chairman Upton can be found online.
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