President Barack Obama has signed into law three initiatives authored by Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).
On July 22, two Welch amendments to help combat the opioid epidemic became public law. They were included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524) which passed the House in May. The provisions will help states and communities increase their capacity to treat patients in recovery and provide additional tools to prevent addiction and overdoses. The bipartisan amendments were sponsored with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV).
On July 29, a Welch amendment to assist low income mobile homeowners by expanding the federal housing assistance program to cover previously ineligible expenses became public law. It was included in the Housing Opportunities Through Modernization Act (H.R. 3700) which passed the House in February.
Welch's opioids initiatives:
require the U.S. Comptroller General to identify barriers to real-time reporting of data on drug overdoses to law enforcement agencies and solutions for eliminating them; and
direct an inter-agency task force created in the legislation to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication. The task force will report information and recommendations on developing new non-opioid forms of pain relief and examining existing non-opioid alternatives that could be better utilized.
Welch's mobile home initiative:
expands U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 8 housing choice voucher program to better reflect the true costs of housing for low-income mobile homeowners;
allows property taxes paid on the mobile home, as well as insurances, utilities, and financing, to be included as housing costs eligible for the Section 8 payment; and
provides parity between the housing vouchers received by low-income mobile home owners and those received by low-income individuals living in rental units.