Credit Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times
The Senate returns on Monday to resume work on legislation to combat the nation’s growing opioid epidemic, but there are continued signs that the bipartisan bill is getting caught in the increasing nastiness surrounding the Supreme Court fight.
On Thursday, with tempers flaring, the Democratic leader, Harry Reid of Nevada, objected to plans by the majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, to debate amendments to the bill, forcing Mr. McConnell to initiate procedural steps to overcome a filibuster. Until now, the bill has enjoyed bipartisan support, and it is still likely to win passage.
But the deepening acrimony over the Republicans’ insistence that they will not consider any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Obama is now dominating much of the discussion on the Senate floor.
Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio, who is a chief author of the antidrug legislation and keen to keep it in a path to approval, invoked on Sunday the memory of Nancy Reagan, the former first lady, as inspiration for getting it done.
“I would like to acknowledge her significant contributions in the struggle to end drug abuse and addiction,” Mr. Portman said on Sunday as part of a statement honoring her life. “She was a true leader on this issue, and I have no doubt that her focus on education and prevention, as well as treatment and recovery, helped save many Americans from the disease of addiction.”
Mr. Portman was hardly the only Republican to note Mrs. Reagan’s push against drug addiction.
Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, said in a statement on Sunday: “I often think it is too little appreciated that her historic leadership inspired millions of good citizens to rise up and take action to stop the catastrophic surging rate of drug abuse and addiction. It is a fact that her ‘Just say no’ initiative which spread all over the nation was the key to the effort. Many scoffed, but after sustained efforts drug use started downward to levels that were half what they were when she started.”
Mr. Sessions added, “It is good to remember this work and strive not to let an increasing drug cycle begin again.”
As the Senate continues work on the antidrug bill, the House will meet only in pro forma session, allowing most representatives to be home gearing up for the November elections.