The Washington Post/"60 Minutes" investigation into how Congress passed a new law that declaws the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in its battle against opioid-induced deaths has drawn the attention of President Trump and some members of Congress.
Today, Trump told reporters his administration is looking into the results of the investigation, which showed that Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA), whom he has nominated to be the nation's new drug czar, helped steer a new law through Congress that makes it more difficult for the DEA to stop suspicious amounts of opioids from hitting the streets.
According to the report, Marino received $100,000 in contributions from the drug industry, which was lobbying for the bill, and that more than $1.5 million was doled out to the 23 lawmakers who either sponsored or co-sponsored the legislation -- including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who reportedly received $177,000.
In addition, the report said the DEA's chief prescription drug enforcer, D. Linden Barber, now has a cushy position with the pharmaceutical industry and helps companies in their dealings with the DEA.
The other day, I called Marino and Barber and their pals the Killer Swamp Rats because opioid-caused deaths keep mounting and Trump said he was going to "drain the swamp." Now he has a chance to actually do that. He told reporters today that he planned to "look into Tom," and will have an announcement about the opioid crisis next week.
Meanwhile, Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) urged Trump to withdraw Marino’s nomination to lead the Office of Drug Control Policy, a position that requires confirmation by the U.S. Senate. Manchin said he was “horrified” to read the details of the investigation by The Post and “60 Minutes.”
In addition, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) said she would introduce legislation to repeal the Marino bill, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016. She said the law “has significantly affected the government’s ability to crack down on opioid distributors that are failing to meet their obligations and endangering our communities.”