It was the report that turned heads all over Washington: an anonymous source told The Washington Free Beacon that drug paraphernalia would be included in government-issued “safe smoking kits.”
The White House has since disputed the source, but there are contrasting reports. It’s a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program, and it’s currently under heavy scrutiny.
Now, one Republican leader is furious — and she’s about to make some big waves in D.C.
The program in question is modeled after one that’s already in place in San Francisco, and it will reportedly provide $30 million to local governments and non-profits to make drug use “safer.”
The anonymous source said this included crack pipes, but White House press secretary Jen Psaki called this “inaccurate reporting.”
Psaki confirmed the kits would contain alcohol swabs, lib balm, and other items that are supposed to promote hygiene and reduce transmission of disease. That’s the official statement.
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Even so, The Daily Caller notes that many similar programs do include crack pipes in these kits, as evidenced by kits evidently available in Seattle, San Francisco, and New York.
And Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn says the entire situation is unacceptable: she’s placing a hold on a continuing resolution to fund the federal government.
It would be absolutely absurd to send government-funded drug paraphernalia to underserved communities.
U.S. taxpayer dollars should not be used to fund vending machines for crack pipes. If this is President Biden’s plan to address drug abuse, our nation is in serious trouble.
Blackburn added that the claims made by the White House “mean nothing,” because the HHS-approved Harm Reduction Program Grant does allow for government-funded smoking kits.
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The Senator concluded by saying: “We will not allow this administration to continue lying to the American people.”
Her reaction to this could have a tremendous impact on Washington’s financial situation, too.
This week, the House passed a resolution to fund the government through March 11. But the Senate has to pass the bill, or the government will be shut down in just a few days (February 18).
Sen. Blackburn’s hold on this causes a problem. It means that if Congress doesn’t erase the drug paraphernalia funding, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer will be forced to hold a cloture vote.
Even if the kits don’t contain crack pipes, critics still say it doesn’t do anything to help the drug problem.
In fact, they claim it does exactly the opposite — they say it simply encourages and subsidizes drug use. And worse, it essentially normalizes the entire thing, and it’s more likely to happen in public.
The drug epidemic continues to assault the population and medical services, and the federal government has tried numerous plans to stem the tide.
This latest idea may come across as an admission of defeat. The naysayers will say this is like accepting that drug use is just too common, that it shouldn’t be punished and instead tolerated — and even promoted.
These kits will remain hugely controversial regardless of the contents, that’s for certain.
And because of that, Sen. Blackburn could force all of Washington into a shutdown state. And that’s something the embattled Biden administration almost definitely doesn’t want.