(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, ahead of House Judiciary Republicans’ politically divisive Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee hearing entitled “The Effect of Sanctuary City Policies on the Ability to Combat the Opioid Epidemic,” House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Vice Ranking Member Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and eight other House Judiciary Democrats sent a letter to Chairman Bob Goodlatte, urging him to hold a real hearing to appropriately examine the ongoing opioid epidemic in America.

In their letter, the Members wrote, “We write to request a hearing to comprehensively examine the ongoing opioid epidemic.  In 2016, more than 42,000 people died of opioid overdoses, which equates to 115 people dying every day of preventable causes.  On October 26, 2017, President Trump declared the opioid epidemic a Nationwide Public Health Emergency.  At the time, you stated that ‘the House Judiciary Committee will continue to review our nation’s laws to determine if more resources are needed to address this crisis.’  Shortly thereafter, on November 1, 2017, the President’s Commission on Combatting Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released its final report setting forth 56 specific recommendations to address the ongoing epidemic.  It is long past due that the Committee held a hearing to examine these issues and how we can work in bipartisan manner to consider comprehensive measures to combat the opioid epidemic.”

Nadler and Raskin compared the Judiciary Committee’s inaction on this issue with the productivity of other committees, writing, “On October 26, 2017, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a full committee hearing, ‘Federal Efforts to combat the Opioid Crisis: A Status Update on CARA and Other Initiatives,’ at which Members pressed the Drug Enforcement Agency regarding ongoing investigations into ‘pill dumping’ in West Virginia, which include investigating the shipments of over 20 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to two pharmacies in a West Virginia town of 3,000 people.  On December 5, 2017, the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing, ‘Examining Concerns of Patient Brokering and Addiction Treatment Fraud;’ and, on January 20, 2018, Chairman Greg Walden announced a series of hearings to continue oversight and consider legislation to combat the opioid epidemic. Like these committees, we should explore the opportunities for bipartisan action on these issues instead of focusing on divisive anti-immigrant politics.”

Today’s letter was signed by Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), Karen Bass (D-CA), David Cicilline (D-RI), Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA).

Full text of the letter is available here.