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Manchin urging White House to withdraw Marino nomination for ONDCP

NOTE:  WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump said Tuesday that his nominee to be the nation’s drug czar is withdrawing from consideration for the job.

Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., was under fire in the wake of revelations in a Washington Post/”60 Minutes” investigation that the lawmaker helped steer legislation in Congress making it harder to act against giant drug companies.


The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Following a Washington Post article outlining Rep. Tom Marino’s involvement in passing a bill weakening the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) authority to stop companies from distributing opioids, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., is urging the White House to withdraw its nomination of Marino to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

In a release, Manchin said he was “horrified” after reading The Washington Post article, “The Drug Industry’s Triumph over the DEA.”

“(I) cannot believe the last administration did not sound the alarm on how harmful that bill would be for our efforts to effectively fight the opioid epidemic,” Manchin said. “We are sent here by the people to represent them, to protect their interests and to improve their lives and create opportunities for everyone.”

Later Monday, Manchin introduced legislation to repeal the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016, which was targeted in The Post’s story, which indicated that the legislation has dramatically restricted the ability of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to crack down on opioid distributors and manufacturers suspected of wrongdoing.

In his letter to the president, Manchin highlighted America’s opioid death toll and the importance of the Office of National Drug Control Policy in curbing opioid misuse.

“The head of this office, often called America’s drug czar, is a key voice in helping to push and implement strategies to prevent drug abuse, stop drug trafficking, and promote access to substance use disorder treatment,” Manchin wrote.

After reading the Washington Post article, Manchin said, “Congressman Marino no longer has my trust or that of the public that he will aggressively pursue the fight against opioid abuse.”

The article indicated Marino led the effort in Congress to move through a bill that has made it significantly harder for the DEA to enforce the nation’s anti-drug diversion laws.

Manchin wrote, “His advocacy for this legislation demonstrates that Congressman Marino either does not fully understand the scope and devastation of this epidemic or ties to industry overrode those concerns. Either option leaves him unfit to serve as the head of the ONDCP.”

He said he is demanding the White House pull Marino’s nomination from consideration, as the country needs someone leading the Office of National Drug Control Policy “who believes we must protect our people, not the pharmaceutical industry.”

When asked for comment, Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., offered the following: “Congressman Marino will need to address the accusations that were raised in (Sunday’s) Washington Post story during his confirmation hearings.”

Email: [email protected] and follow on Twitter @WendyHoldren

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