Trone signs task force letter supporting mental health legislation
Credit: Cumberland Times-News, Lindsay Renner-Wood
A bipartisan group of legislators, including U.S. Rep. David Trone, are asking Congressional leaders to support a spate of bills focused on mental health and addiction as the country faces an “inflection point” for both.
Trone, a Democrat who was recently reelected to represent Maryland’s 6th District, joined his co-chairs on the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force and 51 other members of Congress in signing a Nov. 17 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell urging them to prioritize funding for a suite of more than 30 bills that includes billions in funds for those services.
The bill, called the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, passed in the House, according to a joint statement from the task force, which has 140 members. Trone co-chairs the task force with Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.), Annie Kuster (D-N.H.) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wa.).
The letter opens by citing statistics including the nine in 10 Americans who reportedly believe the country is in the midst of a “mental health crisis,” along with rising drug overdose and suicide rates. People who seek treatment for substance use and mental illness also regularly report running into issues accessing the care they need, per the letter.
“We have reached an inflection point,” the letter says. “We cannot continue on our current path, leaving our constituents to struggle with unmet needs for mental health and substance use support. The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act is a sweeping, strongly bipartisan bill that will help turn the tide of the mental health crisis and should be an end of year priority for the Congress.”
Other Maryland signers of the letter include U.S. Reps. Anthony Brown, Kwesi Mfume, Jamie Raskin and Dutch Ruppersberger, all Democrats.
“This is one of the greatest crises we’ve ever faced as a nation — and Congress’ duty is crystal clear: our fellow Americans, from the smallest towns to the biggest cities, are counting on us to deliver common sense, bipartisan solutions,” said Trone of signing the letter. “The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, which includes eight bills I’ve led or co-led, combats the opioid and mental health epidemics from every angle. It’s time to put our full weight behind this legislation and work together to get it over the finish line.”