Trump raises possibility of withdrawing drug czar nominee

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On Monday, Trump defended Marino as a "great guy" but indicated that after seeing the "60 Minutes" report, he would further investigate Marino's actions.

Trump said "we're going to be looking into" that bombshell joint investigation by The Washington Post and CBS' "60 Minutes" that was published and aired Sunday about Marino's advocacy for a bill the DEA long opposed.

Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia sent President Donald Trump a letter on Monday asking him to withdraw his nomination for a top drug policy position.

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Manchin cited Marino's support for the bill, which he said made it "significantly harder" for the DEA to bring enforcement against drug companies in cases of prescription painkillers being diverted from proper use. Marino, in his fourth term representing northeastern Pennsylvania, played a key role in the law along with a handful of other Republicans.

Political action committees representing the industry contributed at least $1.5 million to the 23 lawmakers who sponsored or co-sponsored four versions of the bill, including almost $100,000 to Marino, according to the Post. The president's 2018 budget request increases addiction treatment funding by less than 2 percent, even including $500 million already appropriated by Congress in 2016 under the 21st Century Cures Act.

"Confirming Rep. Marino as our nation's drug czar is like putting the wolf in charge of the hen house", Schumer said.

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This reportedly undermined the DEA's effort to stop the flow of prescription opioids, drugs that have contributed to rising overdose death rates. Hatch, a 40-year veteran of the Senate, said he was "no patsy" of the drug industry.

A White House commission convened by Trump and led by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has called on Trump to declare a national emergency to help deal with the growing opioid crisis. Overdose deaths continue to rise. But critics say it effectively curbs the DEA's ability to prosecute corporate drug distributors amid the opioid epidemic.

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