Rep. Armstrong Tackles Addiction, USMCA & 9/11 Victims Compensation Fund
WASHINGTON – Criminal justice reform, addiction and farming. What’s being done in Washington to address these issues?
North Dakota Congressman Kelly Armstrong is working on a bipartisan bill to give $5 billion over five years to fight the opioid epidemic. At least $4 million would be given to each state to reduce overdose deaths through prevention, treatment, and recovery.
“If we can break that cycle of abuse and the cycle of criminal activity, not only do we do something for a particular offender or a particular community, you also do it for the generation behind that offender,” Armstrong said.
The Republican has also introduced a bill to arrange rules in the Justice Reinvestment Initiative. It gives money to states and tribes to study what drives crime. The measure would give $40 million each year from 2021 to 2025 to the organization. He says North Dakota has already done something similar.
Armstrong also supports the USMCA trade deal with Canada and Mexico. The NAFTA replacement still hasn’t been introduced in the House.
“Just being an export–based economy like North Dakota is, we need to get the deal done,” Armstrong explained.
The Republican says the House would pass the USMCA if it’s brought onto the floor. It was ratified by Mexico earlier this week.
Another issue the Congressman is seeing firsthand: funding the 9/11 Victim Compensation fund.
It gives money to people who file claims connected to deaths and health problems from the World Trade Center Attacks. VCM is at risk of running out next year if Congress doesn’t fund it.
Comedian Jon Stewart spoke for 9/11 first responders in front of a judiciary subcommittee Armstrong is on.
“Sick and dying they brought themselves down here to speak to no one. Shameful!” Stewart shouted.
Armstrong says he was at the hearing for an hour. He then went to a previously scheduled meeting with Senators John Hoeven and Kevin Cramer and Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen. The Congressman supports the bill, which funds the program through 2090.
“We are getting to the point where more people will die from complications after 9/11 then actually died on the day of 9/11,” Armstrong said.
The measure has passed the House Judiciary Committee.