Maloney presses for action on bill to prevent liability for opioid crisis


Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday pressed lawmakers to approve legislation that is meant to prevent the Sackler family from avoiding lawsuits related to the opioid crisis.

“Congress has a duty to ensure that there is accountability for this deadly crisis and to prevent bad actors like the Sacklers from evading responsibility when they harm American communities,” Maloney, who chairs the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told reporters during a press call ahead of a hearing.

“We must pass the SACKLER Act before the bankruptcy plan is confirmed and the Sackler family will practically get off scot-free,” she continued.

Background: The legislation would prevent people who have not filed for bankruptcy from being released from lawsuits brought by states, municipalities or the U.S. government.

Under the current proposal, the Sackler family’s company Purdue Pharma would legally release family members from facing opioid-related lawsuits, while requiring them to pay almost $4.3 billion over 10 years.

During the hearing: Republicans called attention to concerns that drug trafficking at the U.S.-Mexico border is contributing to the opioid crisis in the country.

Ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) criticized Maloney for not calling a hearing on the “border crisis” and fentanyl trafficking, as demanded by GOP members.

“This hearing misses the point,” he said during his opening statement. “It’s so focused on the Sackler family that it forgets the ongoing epidemic, affecting millions of Americans each day.”

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) responded to the remarks saying the Sackler family was at fault, adding: “It’s not immigrants or China that are drug dealing here.”