- Lawmakers in the House and Senate see the current opioid legislation as a vehicle for other healthcare bills they’d like to pass, Morning Consult reported.
- While scenarios are still be bandied about, the idea is to piggyback measures on mental health and medical innovation to the opioid bill, a senior Republican aide told the media group.
- The opioid bill, which has strong bipartisan support, is set for House-Senate conference negotiations this summer.
According to the aide, House leaders would prefer to keep the bills separate, but believe the mental health and innovation bills stand a better chance of being passed before the November election if they are combined with the opioid proposal.
The Senate approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) in March, and the House passed its version in May. Both bills are budget-neutral, with the plan that they would be funded through the appropriations process.
However, Senate Democrats are seeking a funding commitment before conference begins. An amendment to CARA that would have allotted an extra $600 million in emergency funding for the opioid crisis failed along party lines in the Senate. President Obama has asked for $1.1 billion in funding.
The House passed its 21st Century Cures medical innovation bill last summer, but a Senate version has yet to make it to that body’s floor.
Mental health legislation in both houses has stalled. The Senate’s bill includes controversial gun amendments, while the House hasn’t been able to pass its mental health proposal. However, the House Energy and Commerce committee is now set to markup the delayed measure next Wednesday, The Hill reported.