Republicans Refuse To Back A Bill That Would Staunch The Flow Of Opiates – Why?


Currently, a law makes it more difficult for the DEA to crack down on suspicious shipments of opioid medications. Across the board, Republicans have so far refused to sign on to legislation that would provide a fix.

Once again, instead of taking a common sense approach and passing obvious legislation to help save lives, Republicans would rather let people die so they can continue to play partisan politics and line the pockets of the already wealthy.


According to the Hill, one of the most vulnerable members of Congress, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), introduced legislation last October to address the issue and has had no luck finding a Republican co-sponsor. Currently, she is one of the most vulnerable members up for re-election this year in a hotly contested race in a district that President Donald Trump won by 18 points.

McCaskill said:

“I have tried to get Republican co-sponsors and for the life of me I can’t figure out why everyone’s afraid of this bill.”

Last October, the Washington Post along with 60 Minutes, found in an investigation that a law passed in 2016 impeded the DEA’s ability to freeze suspicious opioid shipments. That law allowed small towns to become flooded with more opiates than anyone would ever need, resulting in the crisis we now face today.

McCaskill’s bill would fully repeal that law, but Republicans refuse to budge.


Since Republicans are silent concerning the reasons for their reticence, we can only guess at their motives for refusing to sign on to this life-saving measure. When reporters asked McCaskill if she thought Republicans were avoiding the bill because she is up for re-election, she said that politics could play a role.

“I have no idea. [Senate Majority Leader] Mitch McConnel works magic sometimes.”

However, Republicans in the House have also refused to back Democratic legislation on the issue, which means that there are other factors beyond McCaskill’s campaign.


House Democrats have floated a couple of other reasons for the GOP’s refusal of the bill, as well. According to the Hill, Democrats are suspicious that drug companies are blocking the legislation because they stand to lose money if it passes.

On top of that, they suspect that perhaps Republicans want to protect the sponsor of the original bill, Rep. Tom Marino (R-Penn.).

Marino’s office said he is working on a fix for the bill, but efforts to address the issue are absent from the package emerging on the opioid epidemic from the House and Energy Commission, so that’s likely another Republican lie.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, the trade group that represents the drug companies, denied reports that showed them lobbying to pass the 2016 legislation.


The only Republican to attempt to clarify his reluctance to the bill was Sen. Orin Hatch (R-Utah). His only defense was that he wanted to protect the people already taking opiate medications. He said he feared they would not be able to access their pills.

So, yet again, here we are. Republicans would rather sit back and line their pockets, increase profit margins for pharmaceutical companies, protect their own, or play partisan politics instead of pass legislation that makes sense.

All the while, Americans are dying by the thousands.

Feature Image via Bart Heird on VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-ND.

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