House Panel Advances Opioid Bills to Energy and Commerce Committee

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee on Wednesday advanced a dozen bills related to opioid abuse treatment, prevention and recovery to the full committee for consideration.

The panel advanced the bills by voice vote, kicking off a process in the House that lawmakers hope will send legislation related to opioids to the White House. The chamber’s leadership hopes committees will wrap up work on opioids bills this month so the legislation is ready for floor action in May.

“Each of these bills deals with a different aspect of the epidemic, because we need a comprehensive plan: not just adequate funding, but targeted funding; not just emergency response, but education and prevention,” Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) said.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), the ranking member of the subcommittee, said the bills, which had broad bipartisan support,”rightly treat addiction like the public health crisis it is.”

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), a physician, said he had concerns about some of the proposals, warning that doing something doesn’t mean doing the right thing. For example, simply expanding access to Naloxone may not help addicts as much as necessary, he said, adding that he hoped many of his concerns would be worked through before the full committee marks up the legislation.

Advancing legislation related to the opioid crisis has broad bipartisan support across Congress, and is something many think will reach the White House this year. The Senate already approved the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. The two chambers will likely need to go to conference to reconcile legislation, if and when it passes the House.

Below are the bills advanced by the subcommittee: