The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously approved a bipartisan measure authored by U.S. Representatives Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and Andy Barr, R-Ky., to increase funding for the National Guard counterdrug program by $3 million. This funding will be used by the Florida National Guard and other states’ national guards to combat the flow of illicit drugs into the United States and to reduce drug-related violence. The Murphy-Barr measure was included within the Fiscal Year 2019 Defense Appropriations Act, which the House passed today by a bipartisan vote of 359-49. This bill, which funds the Department of Defense, also includes a 2.6 percent pay raise for military servicemembers, the largest increase in nearly a decade.
“The drug trade is a threat to national security and public health, and I will not rest until our communities and our kids are safe from drugs,” said Murphy. “I’m proud the House approved my bipartisan measure so the Florida National Guard and other states’ national guards can help law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations protect our communities and our families.”
Under the National Guard counterdrug program, the National Guard Bureau distributes the money it receives from Congress to the national guards in the states and the U.S. territories, using an allocation model that examines the nature and scope of the drug problem in each jurisdiction. With this funding, national guard units provide different forms of assistance to law enforcement agencies and community-based organizations, including analytical, reconnaissance, and training support. Each state uses its funding in a way that reflects the drug interdiction priorities of its governor, the capabilities of its national guard; and the needs of its law enforcement partners at the federal, state, and local levels.
The Florida National Guard receives about $10 million a year under this program, which it uses to reduce the supply of, and demand for, illegal drugs in the state. Since 2014, support provided by the Florida National Guard has been instrumental in over 2,000 arrests and the seizure of nearly $14 billion dollars in illicit drugs, property, and cash.
The Murphy-Barr amendment increases funding for the National Guard counterdrug program by $3 million, from $197 million to $200 million.
This is the 21st legislative measure led by Murphy to pass the U.S. House, eight of which have become law.
Murphy has made the effort to combat drug trafficking and to address opioid abuse one of her top priorities in Congress. This month, the House approved a Murphy-led bill to help ensure that states have effective plans in place to protect infants who are innocent victims of the opioid epidemic. Earlier in the year, Murphy introduced a bipartisan bill with Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Fla., the Opioid Emergency Response Act, which would improve access to treatment for opioid addiction, invest in life-saving research to combat the opioid epidemic, and crack down on criminal networks that supply opioids. Murphy is also the Democratic co-lead of a bill with Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa., the Road to Recovery Act, which would repeal a federal law—called the “IMD exclusion”—to authorize Medicaid to cover treatment at certain licensed, accredited residential facilities for individuals addicted to opioids.