Florida congressman seemingly takes credit for opioid bill he didn’t sponsor in campaign ad

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A current marketing campaign advert for Florida Rep. Gus Bilirakis touts the “Bilirakis Interdict Act” to fight the nation’s opioid disaster by bettering screening for U.S. Customs and Border Safety to catch fentanyl coming into the nation.

The issue? Bilirakis, a Republican working for re-election this yr, wasn’t one of many sponsors of the Interdict Act, which was signed by President Trump earlier this yr.

Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Mass, sponsored the invoice within the Home. The Republican co-sponsors have been: Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, Barbara Comstock of Virginia, Vern Buchanan of Florida, Thomas MacArthur of New Jersey and Carlos Curbelo of Florida.

The 30-second advert options Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, who mentioned he has “hope” in “this healthcare disaster” due to Bilirakis’ work to apprehend drug traffickers through the nationwide opioid epidemic.

“He is giving us the instruments to do our jobs and getting traffickers off the road. Gus has taken on the large drug firms, and he is a pacesetter for prevention and therapy for individuals who undergo,” Nocco says within the advert, because the phrases “Bilirakis Interdict Act” and “Bilirakis DEA Enforcement and Authority Act of 2018” showing on display.

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Towson Fraser, a marketing campaign spokesman, instructed the Tampa Bay Instances that Bilirakis “voted for the act … he participated in hearings concerning the want for it and labored to assist its passage.”

Bilirakis additionally confronted controversy together with his co-sponsoring of the Guaranteeing Affected person Entry and Efficient Drug Enforcement Act. The 2016 invoice strengthened the factors that allowed Drug Enforcement Administration brokers to cease shipments that contained medicine believed to be “an imminent hazard,” the Tampa Bay Instances reported.

Bilirakis faces Democrat Chris Hunter, a former federal prosecutor with the Justice Division’s well being care fraud strike pressure, in his re-election marketing campaign for Florida’s 12th congressional district.

A Hunter marketing campaign spokesperson instructed the Tampa Bay Instances that Bilirakis’ advert represents a “sample that displays his indifference to fact and an perspective that he can say or do no matter he desires as a result of he is by no means been held accountable.”

Bilirakis has served in Congress since 2007 when he gained an election to succeed his father. Earlier than that, he was a longtime member of the Florida state Home.

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