Whitehouse Cheers Passage of Agreement Ending Cycle of Budget Showdowns and Unlocking $6 Billion in Opioid Funding



Whitehouse Cheers Passage of Agreement Ending Cycle of Budget Showdowns & Unlocking $6 Billion in Opioid Funding

Measure paves the way to increase funding for troops, infrastructure, medical research, community health centers, and more

Washington, DC – Today, Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) hailed passage of a bipartisan budget agreement that ends the cycle of stopgap funding measures of recent months and paves the way to fund our military and boost investment in key priorities for Rhode Island.  The agreement comes with a commitment for a $6 billion increase in funding to fight the ongoing opioid and mental health crises.  It will also boost medical research, improve key tax credits to help limit carbon pollution, and invest in vital water and transportation infrastructure.

“This agreement is a win for Rhode Island,” said Whitehouse.  “It moves us beyond the funding showdowns of the last six months, and sets a course to overhaul the federal budgeting process and restore fiscal sanity.  It paves the way for $6 billion in additional funding to battle the opioid crisis in Rhode Island and around the country, as well as increases funding for our troops and a range of Rhode Island priorities.  And it includes my bipartisan legislation to combat climate change by putting a dollar value on reducing carbon pollution.  I hope we can carry the bipartisan spirit of this agreement forward as Congress takes up the important work of bringing relief to Dreamers.”

Whitehouse is a lead author of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, sweeping bipartisan legislation designed to curb the opioid public health crisis and save lives.  As a result of the legislation, Rhode Island has received $3 million over three years to create ten Centers of Excellence for Opioid Use Disorders.  The Centers provide rapid access to treatment and comprehensive services for people struggling with opioid addiction.

“In 2016, President Obama signed into law my bill to combat addiction and promote recovery, fundamentally changing the way the federal government deals with addiction,” Whitehouse continued.  “The agreement we passed today will lead to more funding for substance abuse education, expanded medication-assisted treatment, better prescription drug monitoring programs, and help states like Rhode Island to implement their opioid battle plans.  I am so proud we’ve secured this help for Rhode Islanders fighting to prevent opioid addiction and support those on the long, noble path of recovery.”

In addition to the increase in opioid funding, the bill includes important commitments on a range of Rhode Island priorities Whitehouse has been fighting for:

·       It ups by $20 billion federal infrastructure investment to fix and improve roads, bridges, and ports.

·       It closes the prescription drug doughnut hole for seniors, completing a process set in motion by an Affordable Care Act provision championed by Whitehouse.

·       It includes Whitehouse’s legislation to spur investment in next-generation carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technologies, putting a dollar value on the reducing carbon pollution driving climate change.

·       It creates a process to examine federal budget reforms—a move Whitehouse has been advocating as a member of the Senate Budget Committee.  Earlier this year, the Senate passed Whitehouse and Senator David Perdue’s bipartisan amendment to the fiscal year 2018 budget resolution highlighting the need for a new budget process.

·       It extends the biodiesel credit benefiting companies like Rhode Island’s Newport Biodiesel.

·       It includes a significant increase in funding for community health centers, which provide care for over 160,000 Rhode Islanders.

·       It increases investment in medical research carried out at Rhode Island hospitals and universities.

Having cleared Congress, the legislation now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.