Health Care: Update on Opioid Use
On Friday, May 13th, comprehensive legislation aimed at combating opioid addiction passed in the House with a vote of 400-5. This package contains 18 pieces of bipartisan legislation, including a mandate to the FDA to convene special advisory boards when painkillers without addiction-deterrent ingredients are produced, increases to funding for overdose reversal drugs, a reduction in the volume of unused drugs, and mandated opioid addiction educational programs.
The President previously proposed $1.1 billion in new funding to combat opioid addiction in his last budget. Speaker Paul Ryan’s office has complained that the series of bills has not received widespread attention due to the raucous presidential primary. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) commented that the “good bipartisan” legislation is essentially worthless if Republicans continue refusing to provide the emergency funding required to make a difference. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest commented that the administration’s perspective on this legislation is that it lacks “substance.” However, at the time of writing, no veto threat has been issued.
Transportation: TRANSPORTATION-HUD (THUD) (S. 2844)
The Senate’s Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act authorizes $114.2 billion for FY 2017. $56.5 billion would be allocated to discretionary appropriations. It provides $827 million less discretionary funding than in 2016 and about $2.5 billion less than what was requested by the President. Highway, transit, and transportation safety program funding increased compared to FY 2016. However, the bill did not include White House requests for additional mandatory funding for some transportation programs. It instead provides more funding than requested for Community Development Block Grants and Airport Improvement Grants. This bill provides about 2% more funding than 2016 for Housing and Urban Development programs.