The Latest: White House suggests $45B in opioid fight
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the U.S. policy on the opioid epidemic (all times local):
The White House is suggesting that $45 billion might be a good number for Congress to add to the fight against opioid addiction.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked Friday how much money the president would like to see Congress add to a nearly-bankrupt public health emergency to address the crisis.
She’s noting one version of the “Obamacare” replacement bill that died in Congress included $45 billion to fight opioid abuse.
Sanders she she’s “not going to negotiate” from the podium, but says: “We do feel like that $45 billion would have been a good number.”
White House officials have said they plan to work with Congress to lock down a number as part of the end-of-year budget negotiations.
Sanders says she hopes “there will be a lot of bipartisan support to put behind the opioid crisis.”
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is defending President Donald Trump’s push to combat opioid abuse, saying the president “gave compassion yesterday and hope” to families struggling with the epidemic.
Christie says in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” that “Congress is serious” about the scourge and billions of dollars will need to be spent to address the problem.
Critics say Trump’s declaration of opioid abuse a national public health emergency doesn’t go far enough. The emergency will be effective for 90 days and Christie says it would be renewed “over and over again.”
The governor says he expects the administration to waive federal rules that will help more people access treatment under Medicaid.
President Donald Trump is calling for Americans to liberate their communities from the scourge of drug addiction as he declares opioid abuse a national public health emergency.
Trump on Thursday announced new steps to combat deaths from opioids such as prescribed painkillers and heroin. The declaration allows the government to redirect resources in various ways and to expand access to medical services in rural areas. But it won’t bring new dollars to fight a scourge that kills nearly 100 people a day.
Administration officials say they will urge Congress, during end-of-the year budget negotiations, to add new cash to a public health emergency fund.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut says Trump’s effort falls far short of what’s needed and will divert staff and resources from other public health initiatives.