WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump will have to nominate someone else to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, commonly referred to as the U.S. “drug czar.”
On Tuesday, a tweet from President Trump indicated Congressman Tom Marino (R-Pa.) had pulled his name from consideration.
Rep.Tom Marino has informed me that he is withdrawing his name from consideration as drug czar. Tom is a fine man and a great Congressman!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2017
“Marino did the right thing by pulling himself out,” U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said during an appearance on Tuesday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”
The decision came two days after investigative reports from the Washington Post and CBS’ “60 Minutes” detailed how drug industry lobbyists who’d previously worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration helped push through legislation — without raising alarms — which resulted in limits on DEA and U.S. Department of Justice powers to regulate and limit drug distributors.
Marino co-sponsored that legislation, the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2016.
The Act passed both the U.S. Senate by unanimous consent, meaning there were no objections, in March 2016. Passage in the U.S. House of Representatives came the following month.
The provided summary of the legislation indicated the bill amended the Controlled Substances Act “to define phrases related to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA’s) authority to register manufacturers, distributors, and dispensers of controlled substances.”
“It sounds like the intent of the bill got messed around,” said Capito. “The first thing we need to do is reverse the impact of this legislation.”
On Monday, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced legislation to repeal it.
He was also been among those calling on President Trump to nominate someone else to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy before Marino’s withdrawal.
Manchin said “real leadership” is needed for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and Marino “was not it.”
“We need a drug czar who has seen these devastating effects and who is passionate about ending this opioid epidemic,” he said.
Those with the U.S. Senate campaign for West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, a 2018 Republican candidate, have accused Manchin of “backpedaling furiously.”
Before the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act took effect in April 2016, the DEA had authority to block drug distributors believed to be feeding the drug epidemic in the U.S., including in West Virginia.