Barletta Named Conferee on Comprehensive Opiate Addiction Legislation

May 17, 2016
Press Release
Barletta Lead Sponsor of House Bill Addressing Opiate-Addicted Newborns

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) has been named a conferee on bipartisan legislation aimed at addressing the opiate addiction epidemic, as House and Senate negotiators will hammer out differences between their competing versions of the bill.  Barletta was the lead sponsor of H.R. 4843, Infant Plan of Safe Care Improvement Act, which requires that states which receive federal funds for child protective services comply with federal law and enact certain guidelines for the welfare of children exposed to opioids.  H.R. 4843 passed the House by a unanimous vote of 421-to-0.  Barletta’s bill was incorporated into the House’s overall opiate legislation, which was passed as an amendment to the Senate’s version, S. 524, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  Barletta, as a representative of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, will now be a part of the negotiations on the final package to be approved and sent to the president for his signature.

“Dependence on opiates like heroin and some painkillers is a problem that is fast growing into a nationwide epidemic,” Barletta said.  “It hurts individuals, families, children – and most heartbreakingly, babies who are born addicted.  It is a sad fact that every 25 minutes in America, a baby is born suffering from opioid withdrawal. These are commonsense reforms we should all embrace.  By working together and advancing this legislation, we help ensure these children, mothers, and their families have the help they need and the care they deserve.”

In addition to Barletta’s bill, the House legislative package addresses illegal drug dealers, supports addiction recovery efforts, and funds drug courts, among other approaches.

Specifically, Barletta’s legislation would:

  • Require the department of Health and Human Services to review and confirm states have put in place policies required under the 1974 Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA).
  • Strengthen protections for infants born with illegal substance exposure by clarifying the intent of safe care plans.
  • Improve accountability related to the care of infants and their families by requiring additional information on the incidents of infants born with illegal substance exposure and their care.
  • Provide states with best practices for developing plans to keep infants and their caregivers healthy and safe.
  • Encourage the use of information made available through other child welfare laws in verifying CAPTA compliance.

CAPTA was enacted in 1974 to coordinate federal efforts to prevent and respond to child abuse and neglect.  The law provides states with resources to improve their child protective services systems.  In order to receive funds under CAPTA, states are required to assure the Department of Health and Human Services that they have implemented certain child welfare policies.  Such policies include requiring health care providers to notify state child protective services agencies when a child is born with prenatal illegal substance exposure, as well as requiring the development of a “safe care plan” to protect these newborns and keep them and their caregivers healthy.  A recent Reuters investigation revealed some states are receiving federal funds without having the necessary policies in place, resulting in shocking and deadly consequences.


Click here or on image for video of Rep. Barletta arguing in favor of his bill to protect babies born addicted to opiates.


Other House-passed bills that were included in the overall package and will be part of the conference are: 

H.R. 4063 – Jason Simcakoski PROMISE Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis / Veterans’ Affairs Committee)

H.R. 4985 – Kingpin Designation Improvement Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. John Katko / Foreign Affairs Committee)

S. 32 – Transnational Drug Trafficking Act of 2015 (Sponsored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 5048 – Good Samaritan Assessment Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Frank Guinta / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 5052 – OPEN Act (Sponsored by Rep. Kevin McCarthy / Judiciary Committee)

H.R. 4978 – NAS Healthy Babies Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Evan Jenkins / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 3680 – Co-Prescribing to Reduce Overdoses Act of 2016, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 3691 – Improving Treatment for Pregnant and Postpartum Women Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Ben Ray Lujan / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 1818 – Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4969 – John Thomas Decker Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Pat Meehan / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4586 – Lali’s Law (Sponsored by Rep. Bob Dold / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4599 – Reducing Unused Medications Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Katherine Clark / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4976 – Opioid Review Modernization Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4982 – Examining Opioid Treatment Infrastructure Act of 2016 (Sponsored by Rep. Bill Foster / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4981 – Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, as amended (Sponsored by Rep. Larry Bucshon / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 4641 – To provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, and for other purposes (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Susan Brooks / Energy and Commerce Committee)

H.R. 5046 – Comprehensive Opioid Abuse Reduction Act of 2016, Rules Committee Print (Subject to a Rule) (Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner / Judiciary Committee)

The conference committee will be led by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23).  The rest of the conference committee will consist of:

Judiciary Committee:
Chairman Bob Goodlatte (VA-6)
Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-5)
Rep. Lamar Smith (TX-21)
Rep. Tom Marino (PA-10)
Rep. Doug Collins (GA-9)
Rep. Dave Trott (MI-11)
Rep. Mike Bishop (MI-8)

Energy and Commerce Committee:
Chairman Fred Upton (MI-6)
Rep. Joseph Pitts (PA-16)
Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-7)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (KY-2)
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (IL-16)
Rep. Larry Bucshon (IN-8)
Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-5)

Education and the Workforce Committee:
Rep. Lou Barletta (PA-11)
Rep. Buddy Carter (GA-1)

Veterans Affairs Committee:
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (FL-12)
Rep. Jackie Walorski (IN-2)

Ways and Means Committee:
Rep. Patrick Meehan (PA-7)
Rep. Bob Dold (IL-10)