WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (MD-05) spoke on the House Floor this afternoon in support of H.R. 7666, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery and a link to the video:
Click here to watch the video.
“Madam Speaker, I want to thank my friend Chairman Pallone and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rodgers for their hard work compiling this bipartisan package to combat two of the most important issues facing communities today: mental health and drug addiction. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated mental-health and addiction challenges that were already present in our communities. For those already experiencing severe depression, anxiety, or even substance abuse and addiction disorders, the pandemic made it harder to access mental health care and essential help and resources and created of course, much greater anxiety. This bill would reauthorize key mental health and addiction programs, while helping to strengthen communities’ crisis response.
“There are many important programs included, but I will highlight a few here. Among them is legislation from my friend Rep. David Trone to help states expand the availability of high-quality recovery housing as they receive treatment from substance abuse. Rep. Trone has been a real leader on this issue as Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Addiction and Mental Health Task Force. Also included is legislation from my friends Reps. Cindy Axne and Chris Pappas to revise opioid treatment program criteria to help those in need of treatment access it more quickly. Our in-house pediatrician, Rep. Dr. Kim Schrier, authored a provision to help children and teens, who have had their lives upended by the pandemic, access the mental health care and services they need.
“I will also mention a critical section added by Rep. Susie Lee to provide important resources for virtual peer-support programs. Rep. Lee knows how much her constituents have benefitted from these types of programs and how much more good they can do if given the proper resources. And Rep. Tonko included legislation to expand access to prescription medications that help patients overcome addiction disorders. These are just some of the very beneficial policies included in this legislation that will improve lives and indeed save lives.
“I am so proud of the Energy and Commerce Committee and all of the Members whose legislation is included in this bipartisan package, which demonstrates how we can join together – Democrats and Republicans – to pass important legislation and show those we serve that they are not alone in facing these challenges. I hope this strong vote today will help move these critical policies through the Senate and see them quickly enacted into law. I urge a ‘yes’ vote.”