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America Stands With the People of France

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following statement Thursday regarding the tragic loss of life in Nice, France:

While we will soon learn more about the shocking events in Nice, what will not change is that America stands with the people of France this Bastille Day as they grieve for this tragic loss of life and we will stand with them in their response and recovery.”

Republican-Led Senate Builds on Accomplishments for American People

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

Sends Bill to Address Heroin and Opioid Epidemic to the President

By Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell

July 14, 2016

In my travels across the state, I hear constantly from Kentuckians whose lives have been devastated by the opioid and heroin epidemic that is ravaging our country. The Bluegrass State has been particularly hard hit: 1,248 people died from drug overdoses last year alone, a record high for Kentucky. It’s clear that something must be done.

That’s why, as Senate Majority Leader, I have made it a priority to pass legislation to address this epidemic. Just this week, the Senate passed and sent to the president’s desk for signature the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA). This bipartisan legislation authorizes programs and funding to target the prescription opioid and heroin crisis at every level and will help the Commonwealth combat the scourge of addiction.

Through enhanced education and prevention efforts, the bill works to keep more people from ever becoming addicted in the first place. It also bolsters treatment, recovery and law-enforcement tools to help those already caught in the cycle of addiction and to prevent more senseless loss of life.

It’s not hard to see why nearly 250 drug-fighting organizations signed a letter of support for CARA, including Kentucky organizations like the Carter County Drug Free Coalition, Seven Counties Services, and Voices of Hope—Lexington.

Kim Moser, Director of the Northern Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, said of the bill: “Passage of…CARA will enable communities to provide much-needed treatment for substance-use

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008.  Photograph by Karen Ballard

Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) photographed at the Capitol on December 2, 2008. Photograph by Karen Ballard

disorders, and families and individuals to heal from the devastating effects of addiction. It is time to reverse the cycle of relapse, recidivism and overdoses which affect every corner of our communities.”

Dr. Kelly Clark, the president-elect of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, said this: “In Kentucky I have treated patients, their parents, and grandparents. This epidemic is devastating whole communities. CARA will make it possible to improve evidence-based prevention, treatment, and recovery resources throughout Kentucky, including our rural areas.”

These statements are from just a few of the many Kentucky organizations that support CARA. The bill has earned widespread bipartisan support due to its comprehensive approach to tackling the drug epidemic.

I have traveled across Kentucky, visiting with the families and communities hit hardest by the drug epidemic, for several years. I see how heroin and prescription drug abuse is wrecking lives and destroying families, which is why last year at my request Michael Botticelli, the Director of National Drug Control Policy—known as the nation’s drug czar—visited Kentucky and participated in a community discussion about the challenges faced by those in the medical, public health, and law-enforcement fields who confront drug addiction on a regular basis.

I’ve also sought to protect the most vulnerable victims of drug abuse—the babies who are born dependent on opioids and suffering from withdrawal. That’s why I introduced a bill, the Protecting Our Infants Act, and ushered it through the Senate and into law. It works to prevent prenatal exposure to opioids, treat infants born dependent to these drugs, and improve the states’ public health response to this problem.

Now passing CARA is the next step in this years-long effort to combat substance abuse in our communities. No single piece of legislation can solve America’s substance abuse problem overnight. But CARA can begin to turn the tide of increased drug fatalities and help prevent people from using drugs. This Senate which I am proud to lead has also provided more than twice as much funding for opioid-related programs as the previous Senate majority, to fund efforts like those outlined in CARA.

Substance abuse affects Kentuckians from every walk of life, and addiction breaks apart families. I hear stories like this one from a mother in Florence, Kentucky, all too often. “My son is in jail and at least I know he is safe,” she wrote to me. “We must have a heroin bill this year. There are so many lives lost and so many more headed in that direction.”

CARA will benefit Kentucky a great deal. Still, we must work harder to save our children, our friends, and our families from the scourge of substance abuse. As Senate Majority Leader, I will continue to make fighting drug abuse and protecting Kentuckians one of my most urgent priorities.

Sen. Mitch McConnell

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Photos from CARA enrollment ceremony in the United States Capitol.

Rep Thomas Massie

Congressmen Massie and Amash Block Patriot Act Expansion

On Monday, House leadership tried to expand the Patriot Act by passing H.R. 5606. The bill would have passed on a voice vote if my colleague Congressman Justin Amash  had not demanded a recorded vote.

Following the September 11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, a package of laws that created what I call a “Constitution distortion zone” which lowered the constitutional threshold required to search a person’s information. Under the current Patriot Act, financial institutions like banks can share their customers’ private information with the government without a warrant, provided those customers are suspected of terrorism or money laundering. H.R. 5606 would have expanded the Patriot Act to allow financial institutions to share private information for literally ANY suspected criminal activity, WITHOUT a warrant.  Allowing intimate customer information to be given to the government based on mere suspicion of a domestic offense is unconstitutional and goes well beyond the scope of “terrorism” targeted by the original Patriot Act.

The bill required a 2/3 majority to pass since they “suspended the rules” to bypass the committee and bring it directly to the floor. Using social media like Facebook and Twitter, Congressman Amash and I rallied colleagues and citizens to oppose the bill. The bill received a majority, but not the 2/3 majority required to pass. We must remain vigilant, because leadership could reintroduce the bill through committee and pass it with a simple majority. Hopefully by then, more congressmen would realize how unconstitutional the bill is.

FBI Director James Comey Testifies Before House Oversight Committee

On Thursday, July 7th, I had five minutes to question FBI Director James Comey about the Bureau’s investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private e-mail server and her reckless treatment of classified information. Watch my questioning below.

Public Pressure Forces House to Delay Vote on Gun Control Bill
Last week, Speaker Paul Ryan announced his intention to bring a gun control bill (H.R. 5611) to the House floor for a vote in order to placate rule-breaking Democrats who just two weeks ago staged a “sit-in” to try and force a vote on gun control legislation. Fortunately, outside gun rights groups and people across the nation pressured leadership to pull it from consideration. 

This bill was unconstitutional, did not effectively counter terrorism, and rewarded Democrats for disrupting regular order in the House. Also, the gun control language of the legislation had already failed in the Senate and was clearly dead on arrival in the House. Though leadership might resuscitate the bill in the future, I am glad the bill is dead for now.

Reps. Jones, Lynch, and Massie Urge Release of 28 Classified Pages of 9/11 Report
On Wednesday, July 6th, Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC), Congressman Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), and I hosted a press conference to highlight H. Res. 779, a resolution we introduced to urge the House to publish the 28 classified pages of the 9/11 commission report. Eighteen months ago, we introduced H. Res. 14, a similar resolution that urges the president to declassify the 28 pages. The new resolution acknowledges that Congress can unilaterally declassify the redacted pages without the president’s permission, since Congress itself created the report.

The pages were initially classified by President George W. Bush and have remained classified under President Barack Obama.  In the House, the Committee on Intelligence has jurisdiction over the pages.

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