Shaheen Statement on Opioid Funding and Proposals in President Trump’s 2020 Budget

March 11, 2019

**Shaheen welcomes continued funding levels she and Hassan negotiated in bipartisan budget agreement for opioid treatment, but expresses concern regarding deep cuts to law enforcement grants and partisan health care repeal proposals**

**Last week, Senator Shaheen and the NH congressional delegation sent a letter to President Trump encouraging him to continue funding secured by Shaheen and Hassan for opioid treatment that is helping NH stand up new treatment model**

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, issued the follow statement in response to President Trump’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposal that continues funding levels for opioid response efforts that were established by Congress in 2018, of which Shaheen was a key negotiator:  

“I am pleased the President’s budget proposal continues the opioid treatment funding Senator Hassan and I helped secure,” said Shaheen. “Too many people in New Hampshire continue to struggle to get the lifesaving treatment that they desperately need, which is why Congress and the administration must continue to work together to deliver resources where they are needed most. While I’m pleased with the funding proposed for treatment grants, I am deeply concerned about proposed cuts to programs that help New Hampshire law enforcement and community organizations combat the opioid epidemic. With hundreds of Granite Staters still dying every year, this is not the time to be withdrawing help from our local law enforcement and community partners who are stretched thin by this crisis. I also am strongly opposed to the President’s proposals to cut Medicaid Expansion and gut the Affordable Care Act. Taken together, these actions could increase health care costs for thousands of Granite Staters, dramatically decrease access to opioid treatment, and allow insurance companies to discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions. 

“As we begin our important work to fund the government this year, I’ll be fighting to make sure additional opioid response funding is signed into law and that New Hampshire gets its fair share to help the state continue to battle this epidemic.” 

The President’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposes maintaining State Opioid Response (SOR) grants at $1.5 billion, a continuation of the same level secured by Senators Shaheen and Hassan in Congressional budget negotiations. However, his budget also proposes cutting nearly $100 million in funding from opioid-specific grant programs at the Department of Justice. This funding is critical to the efforts of local law enforcement and community organizations working to stem the opioid crisis. The President’s request includes cutting the Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Program by $12 million, Drug Courts, Mental Health Courts, and Veterans Treatment Courts by $5 million, Youth Mentoring grants by $15 million and eliminating the COPS Anti-Heroin Task Force Program. Overall, the Department of Justice’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic are cut by 20 percent. Senator Shaheen is the Ranking Member on the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Appropriations subcommittee and will help lead efforts to write the funding legislation for these grant programs.   

Last week, Shaheen led a New Hampshire Congressional Delegation letter to the President, urging him to prioritize opioid treatment resources in his annual budget proposal, specifically citing the State Opioid Response (SOR) grants, which have been instrumental for first responders and health care providers on the front lines of the opioid epidemic. Senator Shaheen helped negotiate the bipartisan agreement in 2018 that outlined the two years of opioid response spending – totaling $6 billion to respond to the opioid crisis. This included the set-aside funding for states with the highest mortality rates, like New Hampshire. This critical additional funding, which Shaheen helped broker, has been included by Congress over the last two fiscal years. As a result of the Delegation’s efforts, New Hampshire received a more than seven-fold increase in annual grant award funding provided through the State Opioid Response Grant program.   

During a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the opioid epidemic last month, Senator Shaheen heard from experts on the front lines of the crisis, including Dr. Daisy Pierce, Executive Director of Navigating Recovery of the Lakes region in Laconia. Each expert reaffirmed the critical need for federal resources.