Government affairs

Legislative Updates

House Energy and Commerce advances dozens of opioid related bills

In a nearly nine-hour long markup today, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health approved 57 of the 64 bills related to the opioid crisis they were considering.

None of the legislation considered would directly impact the letter carriers, the U.S. Postal Service, or federal employees, but it remains an intensely difficult issue that impacts many thousands of Americans each year.

This markup comes at a time when Congress not simply recognizes the severity of the opioid epidemic, but is trying urgently to address the situation. Energy and Commerce ranking member Frank Pallone Jr., (D-NJ) was concerned however that the amount of bills being considered by the subcommittee and the speed at which they were expected to vote on them meant that no Representative had an adequate amount of time to read and understand the scope of each measure.

“The fact is many of these discussion drafts have not been fully vetted by staff and stakeholders, nor received technical assistance from the appropriate agencies,” said Health Subcommittee ranking member Gene Green (D-TX).

“Some of these bills remain in discussion draft form intentionally, signaling our commitment to working with members and stakeholders to get technical details right,” said Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess (R-TX). “We could have one bill before us and it would be about this big, so I don’t know what your argument would be. It is time for us to act, not for us to drag our feet and delay.”

This stands in contrast to the work recently done by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which approved the bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 (S. 2680) unanimously after seven bipartisan hearings and more than 40 proposals (read about it here).

America’s letter carriers, who work in every neighborhood in the country, have seen the devastating impact of opioids firsthand. We are fully committed to working with Congress to fight the epidemic in any way we can.

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