Former Democratic Representative Patrick Kennedy, a member of President Trump’s Opioid Commission, said the Republican-led Congress has turned the group’s work into a “charade” and a “sham,” CNN reports.
Kennedy, one of six members appointed to the bipartisan commission, noted the president declared the opioid epidemic a 90-day public health emergency in October, but did not make funding available.
“This and the administration’s other efforts to address the epidemic are tantamount to reshuffling chairs on the Titanic,” Kennedy said. “The emergency declaration has accomplished little because there’s no funding behind it. You can’t expect to stem the tide of a public health crisis that is claiming over 64,000 lives per year without putting your money where your mouth is.”
The public health emergency was set to expire on January 23, but Acting Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan renewed the national public health emergency for another 90 days.