Bipartisan bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law

Washington, D.C.  – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below after the Senate followed House action and voted to approve the conference report for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524). The House of Representatives passed the conference report on July 8, 2016 and following today’s Senate vote it now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

“Opioid abuse is destroying families and lives all across the United States. This epidemic calls out for action at all levels of government and civic life so that we protect our citizens from these dangerous drugs. Congress has taken decisive action to strengthen the enforcement of our nation’s drug laws, provide tools to combat addiction, offer appropriate treatment and care to addicts so that they can begin to reclaim and rebuild their lives, and leverage existing programs to accomplish these goals, which is a responsible use of precious taxpayer dollars. I applaud today’s Senate action and urge President Obama to sign this bill into law swiftly.”

The conference report for S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016, contains the following House Judiciary Committee bills:

  • The Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act (H.R. 5046): This bipartisan bill, authored by Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), combats the opioid epidemic by establishing a streamlined, comprehensive opioid abuse grant program that encompasses a variety of new and existing programs, such as vital training and resources for first responders and law enforcement, criminal investigations for the unlawful distribution of opioids, drug and other alternative treatment courts, and residential substance abuse treatment. The bill authorizes $103 million annually for the grant program and is fully offset in accordance with the House cut-go protocol.
  • The Opioid Program Evaluation (OPEN) Act (H.R. 5052): This bipartisan legislation, sponsored by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), increases the transparency and accountability of the comprehensive opioid abuse grant program created in H.R. 5046. Specifically, it requires grantees to report on the use of grant funds and requires a publicly available analysis of whether or not the grants have achieved their intended purposes.
  • The Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (H.R. 5048): This bill, authored by Representative Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), requires the Government Accountability Office to study state and local Good Samaritan laws that protect caregivers, law enforcement personnel, and first responders who administer opioid overdose reversal drugs or devices from criminal or civil liability, as well as those who contact emergency service providers in response to an overdose.
  • The Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4985): This bill, authored by Representatives John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), protects classified information in court proceedings involving drug kingpins. Under the federal Kingpin Act, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is able to designate international drug traffickers as kingpins, and thereby block them from using the U.S. financial system. Designees are able to challenge their listing in federal court. However, unlike a similar statute used by OFAC, the Kingpin Act does not contain a provision to protect classified information when such information is used as the basis for a designation. This means that the U.S. government risks having classified information being publicly disclosed. H.R. 4985 addresses this issue by making clear that OFAC can submit classified information to defend its designations in federal district court without it being publicly disclosed.