House to begin voting on opioid-related legislation; Senate committees continue work

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This week, Congress begins voting on dozens of opioid bills.

After a series of hearings and markups in various committees throughout May, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote for two weeks on dozens of bills aimed at combating the opioid epidemic.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee recently approved 57 opioid-related bills, and members on the Ways and Means Committee advanced an additional seven. Other committees of jurisdiction, including the House Judiciary and Financial Services Committees, are working on measures relating to specific aspects of the crisis, such as drug interdiction and housing for individuals struggling with addiction.

The week of June 12, the House will consider approximately 40 bills using a procedural motion allowing typically non-controversial measures to be fast-tracked for consideration. The remaining bills will likely be rolled into a comprehensive package the following week. Additional amendments could then be added to the broader package.

In the U.S. Senate, members on the Senate Finance Committee held a markup on June 12 to review the “Helping to End Addiction and Lessen (HEAL) Substance Use Disorders Act.” The legislation seeks to improve Medicare, Medicaid and human services program responses to the opioid crisis.

Although the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) and Judiciary Committees also advanced bills last month, it is unclear whether the Senate will combine the various legislative proposals into a larger package or move bills to the floor individually. Both the House and Senate would eventually have to reconcile differences between their respective legislative packages before a final bill could be sent to the president’s desk.

NACo continues to closely monitor the progress of opioid legislation moving through Congress. NACo recently released an initial analysis of opioid bills under consideration in the House and Senate, as well as the projected impact for local governments addressing the epidemic.


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