Updated May 8, 2019

Elizabeth Warren releases $100 billion plan to combat opioid crisis

Photo: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

2020 Democratic candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released a new campaign proposal Wednesday that would allot $100 billion over the next decade to fight the opioid crisis.

Why it matters: Warren's cash-heavy idea, which would be funded by her proposed wealth tax on America's top earning individuals and companies, aligns with what experts told Congress last year — no amount of money used to combat the opioid crisis is too much.

The big picture: In outlining her policy, Warren continues her long-held theme of fighting big business — this time aimed at pharmaceutical companies like Purdue Pharma and members of Congress that have been "driven by greed."

  • She writes, "The opioid epidemic teaches us that too often in America today, if you have money and power, you can take advantage of everyone else without consequence. I think it’s time to change that."

Details: The proposal, which Warren calls the CARE Act, is mirrored after the Ryan White CARE Act that fought the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the 1990s. Money will go toward first responders, public health departments and states for prevention and rehabilitation services. Warren's legislation, also co-authored by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), was introduced in the last session of Congress. During each year of the 10-year proposal:

  • $4 billion would go to states, territories and tribal governments.
  • $2.7 billion would be distributed to the hardest-hit counties and cities, including $1.4 billion to counties and cities with the highest levels of overdoses.
  • $1.7 billion would go toward public health surveillance, research and improved training for health professionals.
  • $1.1 billion would be earmarked for public and nonprofit entities.
  • $500 million would be used to expand access to naloxone.

The intrigue: An aide on Tuesday, per Politico, said Warren will donate the $4,500 she received for her 2012 and 2018 Senate reelection campaigns donated by Beverly Sackler, whose late husband Raymond managed Purdue Pharma — the manufacturer of OxyContin — alongside his brother. Warren has been vocal about the family's role in the opioid epidemic, and they presently face several lawsuits alleging their actions inflamed the crisis.

“Beverly Sackler is well into her 90s and denigrating her personal donation, made with the best intentions, can serve no proper political purpose. We would welcome a genuine dialogue with the senator that’s fact-based, as the facts clearly demonstrate that the company started by Beverly's family has for decades been the industry leader in combatting opioid abuse while providing products essential for the treatment of serious chronic pain."
— A spokeswoman for the Sackler family

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GM to exit Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

GM's Holden brand is popular among racing fans down under, and it's been a regular fixture at events like the Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar Race in Australia. Photo: Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

General Motors is retiring its celebrated Holden brand from sales in Australia and New Zealand after 160 years and winding down operations by 2021, the company confirmed in a statement Monday.

The big picture: GM also intends to "sell its Rayong factory in Thailand to China's Great Wall Motors and withdraw the Chevrolet brand from Thailand by the end of this year," AP reports. "The downsizing is part of a long-running strategy at GM since the Detroit-based company emerged from bankruptcy in 2009," per Bloomberg.

In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

Sen. Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg. Photos: Drew Angerer; Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

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