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Opioid legislation stalled in Senate

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Senate may delay votes on opioid legislation until after midterm elections

Senate legislation focused on addressing the opioid crisis is increasingly expected to get delayed until after the approaching November midterm elections.

This impasse follows significant movement in both chambers and action taken by the U.S. House of Representatives, in June, when they passed comprehensive opioid legislation.

The Senate’s delay comes after members spent the first several months of the year considering dozens of opioid bills across various committees, some of which were included in the wide-ranging Opioid Crisis Response Act, which the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee approved in May.

Looking ahead, the Senate’s path forward is complicated by the chamber’s busy legislative calendar over the next three months.

While the House has adjourned for the annual August recess, the Senate will remain in session for most of the month, but is expected to focus on FY19 appropriations, major program reauthorizations and presidential judicial appointments.

Members of Congress are also expected to return home in October leading up to midterm elections, leaving limited time in the months ahead for legislators to negotiate next steps on opioid proposals.

The Senate had been expected to build on the momentum from the House, where legislators moved quickly throughout May and June to combine 58 narrowly-focused opioid proposals into the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act.

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