Republicans reject Democratic funding proposals for opioids
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[July 07, 2016]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Republican
lawmakers in U.S. Congress on Wednesday rejected two Democratic
amendments to provide nearly $1 billion in funding for bipartisan
legislation intended to combat America's opioid epidemic, aides said.
The rejection, which came during a meeting of U.S. House of
Representatives and Senate negotiators on the measure, could
undermine Democratic support for final legislation that could come
up for a vote in the House of Representatives as early as Friday.
The House and Senate each passed its own versions of the legislation
in the last few months.
House and Senate Democratic lawmakers are now withholding their
support for the final version of the bill, according to two
Democratic opposition could prove to be an obstacle, especially in
the Senate, where lawmakers need 60 votes to move legislation
Two amendments, from House and Senate Democrats, would have provided
$920 million up front to finance program grants for states. Aides
said the programs otherwise require completion of a lengthy
appropriations process that could stall in a congressional session
shortened by this year's election campaign.
Republican aides were not immediately available for comment. But
House Republicans are separately considering a health spending
measure that would provide more than $581 million to address opioid
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House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra said on Wednesday it
was only the latest instance in which legislation with bipartisan
backing fell short on funding. "It's becoming a bit of a joke to say
we're concerned and want to do something, when the only thing we'll
do is shell of what it actually takes," he said.
(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Diane Craft)
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