White House warns House conservatives’ budget could hurt opioid epidemic fight

April 3, 2024

The White House called out the Republican Study Committee’s (RSC) budget proposal for potentially cutting funding of programs addressing the opioid crisis.

In a new fact sheet first obtained by The Hill, the White House breaks down how the RSC plan would cut the nondefense budget by about 30 percent, arguing that figure would include cuts to states’ overdose epidemic response effort.

The budget proposal by the RSC, which comprises nearly 80 percent of all House Republicans, was released last month.

The White House fact sheet highlights that the proposal would slash funding for the State Opioid Response Grants, which is how the federal government helps states and territories fight the opioid epidemic. The grant program gives funding to states to increase access to medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder and to strengthen support services for substance use disorder.

“At a time when more than 27 million Americans had a drug use disorder in 2022, and when we are losing one American to drug overdose every five minutes, House Republicans are proposing to rip away life-saving treatment for opioid use disorder,” according to the fact sheet.

Through funds from the State Opioid Response Grants, states have been able to purchase about 10 million overdose reversal medication kits and reverse more than 550,000 overdoses since 2018, according to the White House.

The fact sheet breaks down by state what the 30 percent nondefense cut would mean for such assistance. It argues, according to the White House estimate, that 38,771 fewer people facing the opioid crisis would be helped in fiscal 2025.

In state-by-state impact, it estimated help would reach 2,905 fewer people in California, 2,749 fewer people in Florida, 2,623 fewer people in Ohio, 2,172 fewer people in Pennsylvania and 1,797 fewer people in New Jersey.

The White House has also slammed the RSC budget proposal for endorsing the Life at Conception Act, which would implement protections for unborn humans and that Democrats argue would threaten access to in vitro fertilization.

President Biden’s reelection campaign also bashed the budget proposal because it called for raising the retirement age for those not near retirement “to account for increases in life expectancy.”