On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the House of Representative Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force Announced a 2021 Legislative Agenda. According to the group led by Congresswoman Annie Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD), and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA). Congresswoman Kuster announced the agenda that includes more than 60 separate bills, outlines a comprehensive approach and effort in Congress to address the dual addiction and mental health public health crises that have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The House group outlined four main goals:
- Increasing access to recovery resources;
- Ending the stigma surrounding addiction and mental health;
- Building the public health infrastructure needed to address the addiction crisis; and
- Creating safeguards against the flow of dangerous drugs in our communities.
One of the co-chairs of the group Congressman Jaime Herrera Beutler, said, “Southwest Washington was facing an addiction crisis that has significantly worsened by the COVID pandemic. With over 93,000 Americans dying of a drug overdose last year – the most ever on record – it’s clear we have much work to do to curb this devastating addiction and mental health crisis. As co-chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force, I’m pleased to join my other co-chairs in presenting this legislative agenda offering solutions aimed at helping folks overcome addiction and ending the crisis caused by deadly substances like fentanyl.”
The Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force’s 2021 legislative agenda includes bills by Representatives Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), David Trone (D-MD), David McKinley (R-WV), Scott Peters (D-CA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Katie Porter (D-CA), Tim Ryan (D-OH), Raul Ruiz (D-CA), Susie Lee (D-NV), Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Doris Matsui (D-CA), Dusty Johnson (R-SD), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), Lizzie Fletcher (D-TX), Dan Kildee (D-MI), Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Susan Wild (D-PA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), John Katko (R-NY), Brad Schneider (D-IL), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Grace Napolitano (D-CA), Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Paul Tonko (D-NY), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), French Hill (R-AR), Mike Thompson (D-CA), Terri Sewell (D-AL), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), and Tony Cardenas (D-CA).
This effort should coincide with some of the current work of the Senate Finance Committee as announced through two separate letters released in August and September.