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Member spotlight: Trone's mental health push

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Dec 6, 2022
David Trone speaks at an election night event

Trone speaks at his election night event Nov. 8. Photo: Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Rep. David Trone has a message for his colleagues: shame on you if you let the year end without passing some or all of the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act.

What he’s saying: “It looks like we didn't do our jobs” if the package doesn’t pass this year, the Maryland Democrat told Axios in a sit-down interview Friday. “It looks like we failed. It looks like we're gonna allow literally tens of thousands of more people to die and not make any efforts.”

  • It’s personal for Trone: His nephew passed away from a fentanyl overdose in 2016.

The details: The legislation passed the House in June, 402-20. The package includes more than 30 bills related to easing the nation's mental health and substance use crises.

  • Trone led five bills in the package and co-led another three.
  • The bill would reauthorize several federal programs currently helping people with mental health and substance use disorders, improve the quality of recovery housing, eliminate stigmatizing language in federal programs and more.
  • A plus for the package? CBO predicts it would reduce the deficit by $200 million over 10 years.

What’s next: Trone and fellow advocates are angling to include the legislation in a year-end omnibus package — but there’s a chance Congress goes with a year-long stop-gap funding bill instead.

  • In that case, the mental health provisions could conceivably be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act, which also needs to pass before the end of the year, Trone said. “There's nothing else much moving. That's the problem,” he added.

ICYMI: Peter wrote about legislation to remove an administrative hurdle for providing opioid treatment that has a good chance of making it into an omnibus package.

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