Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V) introduced legislation on Monday that would expand the Drug Enforcement Agency’s existing authority to act on suspicious shipments from “substantial likelihood” so the agency could act for “probable cause.”
The bill also would abolish provisions allowing a “corrective action plan,” which Manchin said slows the DEA’s response to problem shipments.
Manchin introduced the legislation in response to an earlier law sponsored by Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) that critics said hindered the DEA’s enforcement abilities amid the opioid addiction crisis. Rep. Marino withdrew from consideration as White House drug czar due to controversy over his role in the law’s passage. Shortly after Marino’s withdrawal, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced legislation that would have repealed the law outright.
In late February, the Justice Department wrote to House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walder (R-Ore.) suggesting alterations to the 2016 bill as part of a push to more aggressively address the opioid crisis. Manchin’s amendments align with the department’s recommendations.