Politics America's forgotten crisis
Did Ted Cruz's Cancun trip distract from the biggest political failure in Texas?
Unless you have been living on another planet for the last few weeks, you know that Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) went to Cancun -- for a day -- while his state was in the grips of extreme cold weather and massive failure of its power grid. © Lynda M. Gonzalez/Pool//Getty Images Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Cruz's terrible judgment -- and weak attempt to explain that poor judgment -- drew national (and international) headlines.
If parents understand one thing, it's the importance of multi-tasking. Each day, parents are faced with a to-do list - getting Timmy to his soccer game, ensuring all the household chores are done, and making sure a meal is on the table when everyone gets home. During the Covid-19 pandemic many families have added balancing working and schooling from home to that list. In the face of a crisis, resilient families have been forced to balance all of these priorities. Why can't Congress do the same?
America is suffering from two epidemics: COVID-19 and substance abuse. Yet, Congress has virtually ignored the overdose crisis over the last year. With people isolated from their family and loved ones, massive job losses, and increased economic uncertainty, many people are anxious and are at risk of turning towards drugs and alcohol as a method to escape.
Gone but not forgotten: Minimum wage raise still creates problems for White House
Democrats hoping to raise the federal minimum wage can still cause headaches for President Biden, despite a ruling preventing the hike from being tucked in a sweeping coronavirus spending package. © Provided by Washington Examiner The setback late Thursday was a blow for liberal Democrats led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont socialist who has been agitating for the minimum wage to be raised from $7.25 to $15 over five years as part of the spending bill.
Even before the pandemic, overdose deaths increased by 18 percent nationwide. Last year alone, overdose and drug death rates spiked in places like Alleghany County, Md., where overdose deaths rose by 111 percent. In my hometown of Wheeling, there was a 55 percent increase in drug-related deaths. This is no coincidence.
In the early days of the pandemic, Congress was focused on providing the tools to fight the public health crisis - developing a vaccine, expanding testing, and ensuring a supply of PPE - as well as providing relief for families and businesses hurt by the economic fallout.
A year later, there are several COVID vaccines available and millions of Americans are getting vaccinated each week. Thanks to this unprecedented effort, America appears to be turning a corner, with cases, hospitalizations, and deaths falling. The same can't be said for the overdose epidemic.
Democrats Show Their Hypocrisy on 'America First' | Opinion
America's interests should be pursued through hard-nosed diplomacy backed by American power. But if it's done at the expense of our allies and to the benefit of our adversaries, it's hard to see how this administration's approach is not the pursuit of a myopic "America First" worldview that Democrats have been decrying for four years.Jonathan Schanzer is senior vice president for research at Foundation for Defense of Democracies, where Mark Dubowitz is chief executive officer. Follow them on Twitter: @JSchanzer and @MDubowitz.The views expressed int his article are the writers' own.
Last year around 400,000 people died from COVID and around. That equates to 480,000 people who unnecessarily lost their lives.
However, the response given to both problems is not proportionate. While COVID deaths outnumber drug-related deaths five to one, the federal government will spend 750-times more on COVID than opioids. Congress made it clear one crisis was more important than the other.
The challenge Congress may face relates to the stigma around addiction. In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people misused opioids. However, over 95 percent of those drugs were prescribed by someone they trusted, a health care professional. People assume that people become addicted to substances obtained from a street corner or in a dark alley way when that couldn't be farther from the truth.
This American drug crisis will continue to wreak havoc on families if nothing more is done. Congress needs to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time and provide appropriate attention to both crises.
Can an Afro-Latina combat veteran make a run at Congress in ‘Trump district’ aka Staten Island?
For Brittany Ramos DeBarros, an Afro-Latina combat veteran and activist, running for Congress as a Democrat in the historically conservative borough of Staten Island serves as the kind of challenge that puts her life’s work into action. “I learned in the military and so many different contexts of leadership, what it means to really lead with heart and in a way that is about serving people and not about you or your ego,” DeBarros told Yahoo News in a video interview last week.
Fighting the opioid crisis has attracted bipartisan support in the past. Over the last five years Congress has passed three major bipartisan bills. All of these provided substantial resources to improve prevention and treatment.
Contrast that with this latest partisan COVID relief bill, where substance abuse advocates like myself and others were rejected when we proposed additional opioid-specific funding. In the end, Democrats only allocated $1.75 billion out of $1.9 trillion to combat the opioid crisis. That's less than a tenth of one percent.
Another way Congress can combat the addiction crisis is to prioritize and implement policy changes that they once championed not too long ago. In 2017 and 2018, the Energy and Commerce Committee held over 10 hearings on this issue. During the last Congress there was only one hearing.
These hearings led to comprehensive substance abuse legislation being signed into law in 2018, as well as a report outlining more than a dozen recommendations on ways to combat the drug epidemic. Nearly three years later, Congress has barely touched these suggestions.
There would be bipartisan support for much-needed funding to combat the overdose crisis, implement policies to improve access to treatment and recovery services, and encourage alternative treatment options for those who suffer from chronic illnesses and pain. Why aren't we doing that?
Congress needs to take a page from busy families who multitask to survive. Government should be able to manage the priorities of a nation, including the overdose epidemic, even when other crises arise. It's time Congress refocus our resources and deliver what Americans need now: hope.
Representative David B. McKinley represents West Virginia's First District, he serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and is co-chair of the Congressional Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery Caucus.
Republicans Pray for a Border Crisis to Bring Biden Down .
Republicans are crazy about immigration. No, really. The issue makes them loco. Just listen to the things they’re saying. Many of them have lost touch with reality. Or maybe Republicans are crazy like a fox. The GOP seems to have once again pinned all of its hopes for retaking power—in this case, by winning back control of the Senate in the 2022 midterm elections and possibly regaining seats in the House of Representatives—on the immigration issue. If either of those things happen, Republicans will be in decent shape to try to retake the White House in 2024.