|Mitch McConnell and other leaders of the Senate's Republican|
majority (Associated Press photo by Jacquelyn Martin)
"McConnell's spokesman, Don Stewart, pushed back on the assertion that anyone wants to delay a vote on tackling the opioid crisis until after the election," Colby Itkowitz reports, quoting him: "This is obviously a priority for the leader and he's encouraged his chairmen to come to an agreement quickly and I predict they will."
Four Senate committees have reported bills, similar to a massive package the House passed in June. The bills are similar: expanding prevention and treatment, and cracking down on distribution. "But the political imperatives diverge in a year when House Republicans are fighting to maintain their majority -- see the number of vulnerable House GOPers who have sponsored opioid legislation -- and Senate Republicans are trying to pick off Democrats," such as Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Claire MacCaskill of Missouri and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Itkowitz notes "The vulnerable incumbents are almost all Democrats, many from states hit hardest by the opioid problem." Kentucky is among them.