Mental Health Justice Act of 2022

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 22, 2022
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GUTHRIE. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to this bill.

Make no mistake, this bill is a Trojan horse to advance the radical defund the police movement and will hurt people who need help the most.

This bill would not only keep our dedicated law enforcement officers off the streets at a time when crime is rising and illicit drugs are flooding communities but, also, could significantly reduce access to care for individuals with severe mental illness or substance use disorder. This bill would penalize organizations that have higher rates of institutionalization.

To be clear, we need to promote access to all types of behavioral healthcare and substance use disorder services. However, this bill does not take into account that sometimes these organizations provide the safest, most effective care for individuals with serious mental illness.

If Democrats' goal is to provide effective care for individuals with disabilities, severe mental illness, and substance use disorder, then we already have legislative solutions which this very body overwhelmingly passed in June of this year.

In June of this year, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well- Being Act was passed, and it would bolster behavioral health and substance use disorder treatment and recovery services for millions of Americans, most notably our children.

Democrats need to work with Republicans on addressing some of the root causes of crime, such as our border crisis that the Vice President insists is secure despite record numbers of border encounters and illicit drugs being trafficked into our country.

We have a solution in the Energy and Commerce Committee to provide law enforcement officers the tools they need to get drugs off our streets and break the cycle of addiction. The HALT Fentanyl Act would permanently schedule fentanyl-related substances as schedule I drugs.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to work with Republicans on passing this legislation.