Republican-Led Senate Works to Combat Opioid Epidemic, Keep Americans Safe
‘[T]his Senate majority has provided more than double the funding that the previous majority provided for opioid-related issues. That’s why this Senate majority has made passing this comprehensive response a priority…We can also pass the bipartisan, bicameral aviation bill, which is an important step to ensuring safety and security for American travelers…With cooperation now, we can finish our work on these critical bills.’
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today regarding the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) conference report, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill, and the Energy Policy Modernization Act:
“Today the Republican-led Senate will have two opportunities to make a difference for the American people by passing the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act conference report and the bipartisan, bicameral aviation agreement. Both bills are the result of months of hard work from colleagues on both sides. With continued cooperation, we can move these measures across the finish line now.
“The CARA conference report is a comprehensive legislative response to the prescription opioid and heroin epidemic devastating our nation. By increasing prevention, treatment, recovery, and law enforcement tools, CARA can help prevent more people from struggling with addiction to begin with, and it can help foster long-term healing for those already struggling with addiction.
“It’s no wonder it’s earned the backing of nearly 250 groups, from local hospitals like the Kent County Memorial Hospital in Rhode Island, to law enforcement groups like the Fraternal Order of Police, to anti-drug groups like Voices of Hope in my home state of Kentucky.
“At a time when drug overdoses claim 129 American lives every day, it’s painfully clear that we need to do more now. That’s why this Senate majority has provided more than double the funding that the previous majority provided for opioid-related issues. That’s why this Senate majority has made passing this comprehensive response a priority.
“I appreciate all who’ve worked to make this moment possible — from Senator Portman and Senator Ayotte to Senator Grassley and Senator Alexander. I also appreciate those on the Democratic side who have worked hard on this bill — like Senator Whitehouse and Senator Klobuchar. I know they are all proud to support it today.
“We can also pass the bipartisan, bicameral aviation bill, which is an important step to ensuring safety and security for American travelers. Recent terror attacks, like those at the airports in Brussels and in Istanbul, underline the significance of this bill, which represents the most significant airport security reform in a decade.
“By shoring up security for international flights coming into U.S. airports, by enhancing vetting for aviation employees, and by improving security in pre-screening zones that are often vulnerable, the airport security bill before us will take more steps to protect airline passengers. The bill will also take steps to keep Americans safer from active shooter threats, by authorizing more so-called ‘VIPR’ teams. It will also help make sure airports are better equipped to respond to and disarm threats that come their way, by bolstering resources and training for security personnel. In addition to these smart security enhancements, the bill also includes a number of key items to improve safety in our skies, such as ensuring that unmanned aerial vehicles don’t interfere with emergency response and improving mental health screenings for pilots. It includes a number of consumer-protection provisions too, like refunds for lost or delayed baggage and improvements to travel for disabled passengers and parents with small children.
“I want to especially recognize Senator Thune for guiding this critical bill through the legislative process and for his work to include even more security provisions to keep Americans safe. Every Senator should support this bill today too, so that we can send it to the president’s desk.
“With cooperation now, we can finish our work on these critical bills. With continued cooperation in the coming days, we’ll be able to finish our work on other important legislation too.
“For instance, yesterday we voted to go conference on the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which represents the first broad energy legislation to pass the Senate since the Bush Administration. By updating and reforming our energy policies and infrastructure, this bill can help Americans save more energy, produce more energy, and pay less for energy.
“This much-needed legislation wouldn’t have been possible without the resilient efforts of the Energy Committee Chair, Senator Murkowski, and the Ranking Member, Senator Cantwell, to move it forward.
“I’m pleased that the Senate took the next steps to advance this bill, and I hope we can arrive at a final agreement soon.”