Analysis: Wildfire is one of three TV commercials unveiled Tuesday by Portman’s campaign dealing with opioid and heroin addiction. Portman’s commercial has two goals — convince voters he will work with Democrats on major issues and demonstrate he is involved in issues impacting many Americans. One of those is drug addiction. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention calculates that about 44 people in the United States die every day because of an overdose of prescription drugs aimed at killing pain.
Portman and Sen. Sheldon Whiteside, D-R.I., co-sponsored a bill the Senate approved this spring, 94-to-1, a measure aimed at expanding drug treatment programs.
Democrats correctly point out that Portman at the end of last year opposed a $1.1 trillion spending measure which financed the operations of most of the federal government and included millions of dollars to combat drug addiction. At the time, Portman complained the 2,000-page bill included too much overall federal spending and lawmakers “only had a few days to read” the measure.
However, Portman and Whiteside took $725 million of the $1.1 trillion that had yet to be spent from last year’s big spending bill and used it to finance their bill.
The U.S. House this month took a different approach when it approved its own version. The House measure would spend $103 million a year to provide state and local officials with grants to combat drug abuse and the money would be. The House dug up the money by re-authorizing a handful of Justice Department programs which had expired.
The differences in the House and Senate bills will have to be reconciled during a conference committee before a final bill can be sent to President Barack Obama for his signature. The White House, however, has asked Congress for an additional $1.1 billion in new spending to combat drug abuse.