A New Hampshire Union Leader editorial attempted to attack Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) for her effort to secure extra funding to help states deal with drug addition by saying she was trying “to score points” by “providing ammunition for Democrats to accuse [Sen. Kelly] Ayotte [(R-NH)] of not responding forcefully enough.” However, the editorial failed to note that Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for Shaheen's amendment, a fact that was reported in the Union Leader itself.
The March 13 editorial claimed that “the politics are obvious” in the Democrats' failed amendment attempt to add extra funding to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) -- a bill which provides federal grants to states to combat heroin addiction and pain killer abuse. Suggesting only Shaheen supported the extra funding, the Union Leader claimed the amendment was an attempt by Shaheen to provide “ammunition for Democrats to accuse Ayotte of not responding forcefully enough.”
Democrats tried to score points by spending more of your money.
In Washington, the U.S. Senate passed a bill reforming federal drug treatment programs. New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte details the legislation more fully in an opinion column today.
Again, Democrats attempted to outbid Republicans on the issue. New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen decided to attack the bill, even while voting for it, complaining that it lacked sufficient funding. But Congress dedicated $400 million to opioid treatment programs in December, which Shaheen called at the time “a big win” that would “help states like New Hampshire stem the tide of the heroin epidemic.” The latest bill changed how that money would be spent.
The politics are obvious. Hassan is sure to take fire for her disastrous drug czar, and Shaheen is providing ammunition for Democrats to accuse Ayotte of not responding forcefully enough. It's a shame such petty partisanship should mar bipartisan progress.
While the Union Leader was quick to accuse Shaheen of trying to score political points, they failed to note that Ayotte co-sponsored and voted for Shaheen's amendment, something the Union Leader reported itself nearly two weeks ago. Ayotte also issued a press release supporting the amendment on March 2 saying she “remained committed to pursuing all options available to secure this funding.”
I cosponsored and voted to advance Senator Shaheen's amendment to provide emergency funding to address the opioid abuse epidemic, which is desperately needed in New Hampshire. While her measure unfortunately was not adopted, I remain committed to pursuing all options available to secure this funding. I also renew my call for the Department of Health and Human Services to expedite the release of funds that Congress has already appropriated so that New Hampshire and other states can quickly utilize federal dollars and grants to support local efforts to combat opioid abuse. Passing CARA will represent an important step forward in addressing the opioid abuse crisis and I urge the Senate to pass this legislation without delay.