Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Billby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2016-03-08
McCONNELL. Mr. President, the junior Senator from New Hampshire
delivered a powerful address to our Nation this weekend. She spoke
about the need to tackle a heroin and prescription opioid epidemic that
is impacting not just her State, not just my State, but communities all
across our country.
Senator Ayotte correctly called this a ``life or death issue'' and talked about what she has been doing to address it. She also talked about important legislation the Senate is considering that would help address the problem.
I was proud to see the Senate vote yesterday to advance the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. It is bipartisan legislation that colleagues in both parties--like the junior Senator from New Hampshire, her colleague from Minnesota, and, of course, the lead sponsors from Ohio and Rhode Island--have worked hard to advance.
I want to especially thank the lead Republican sponsor of this bill, the junior Senator from Ohio, Mr. Portman, for all the work he has done on this critical legislation. The same is true for the senior Senator from Iowa, Mr. Grassley, who worked to move this bill quickly through the committee that he chairs.
Let's not forget the Senators in both parties who worked with the bill managers to process the kind of amendments both sides agree would make a good bill even better. Because of the dedicated leadership of Senators from both sides of the aisle, we will soon have the opportunity to actually pass this important legislation.
I urge colleagues to join me in voting to do so. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is important legislation that will help tackle this crisis at every level. It is a good bill, it enjoys strong bipartisan support, and it builds upon a foundation we laid just a few months ago when we appropriated $400 million to opioid-specific programs--money that still remains available to be spent.
This bipartisan legislation also comes at a time when our Nation needs it most. My home State of Kentucky has been among the hardest hit by this epidemic, with more people dying from drug overdoses than car crashes.
As the junior Senator from New Hampshire reminded us in her address this weekend, these are not just numbers. ``Behind every statistic and behind every headline is a life that has been lost,'' Senator Ayotte said. ``This is not a Republican or Democratic issue--it affects all of us.'' I want to thank her and the lead Republican sponsor from Ohio for their important work. I thank their colleagues across the aisle from Rhode Island and Minnesota and the Judiciary Committee chairman from Iowa as well. Let's keep working together to pass the bipartisan CARA bill and take [[Page S1324]] another step towards ending this devastating epidemic.