WASHINGTON, D.C.—At the House Leadership stakeout today, Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) shared the story of a three-year-old boy named Kemper, who was born addicted to opioids as a result of his mother’s ongoing battle with addiction. Thankfully, Kemper recovered and is thriving, but stories like his and his mother’s are all too common. This week and next, the House is taking action to pass dozens of bills to address this crisis and save lives. Additionally, Whip Scalise discussed the future of immigration legislation in the House and President Trump’s progress towards denuclearizing North Korea.
Click here or on the image above to watch his remarks.
On solving the opioid crisis:
“I want to thank all my colleagues who are sharing these stories. Both their stories and others are too often occurring in our country. I want to talk a little bit about Kemper from Slidell, Louisiana.
“Kemper’s mom was addicted to opioids. She’d gotten in a car accident, started getting prescribed drugs, and eventually became an addict while she was pregnant with Kemper.
“When Kemper was born, he was born addicted to drugs. It’s actually a syndrome called NAS. Unfortunately, according to the Centers for Disease Control, about once every 25 minutes a baby is born addicted to opioids, NAS. That’s how serious this epidemic is.
“Fortunately, Kemper was able to beat the odds, and now he’s 3 years old, and he’s very healthy. But there are too many stories like this happening across our country, and that’s why it’s so important that this package of bills to address this opioid crisis all across our country is so important to saving lives, and will be effective once it’s carried out.”
On passing immigration legislation:
“…We’ve been having very productive meetings with a number of our members on solving the immigration problem in this country.
“We’ve been working very closely with the Trump administration. And, clearly, our objectives are to get a bill that, first, secures the border, to fund the wall that President Trump campaigned so actively on, and built such a core around, and then also to address so many of the other problems, the interior border-security problems—closing loopholes, addressing chain migration and the visa lottery.
“Look, when you talk to Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen, she will tell you that, right now, if somebody comes to this country illegally and then commits a felony—after they’ve served their time for committing a felony, if she wants to send them back to the country that they came here illegally from, she, in many cases, has to pick up the phone and call and ask that country for permission to take them back.
“And you might be surprised to find out that, in many cases, those countries say, ‘No, thank you. We don’t want the felon back in our country.’ And so, because of current law and rulings by the courts, she has to just let those people go.
“We need to close those loopholes, and that’s what we do in this bill. And we also solve the DACA problem. And so I’m really glad that our colleagues have come together to work in a way that addresses this problem.”
On President Trump’s progress towards denuclearizing North Korea:
“Finally, I want to commend President Trump for his leadership on the world stage. The historic meeting that we saw between the president and North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, is so incredibly meaningful to finally get us to a place where we can actually see a denuclearized North Korea.
“Just think about that. Imagine how important that would be not only for our allies in South Korea, Japan, and others throughout the [region], but what that would then mean to isolating Iran and what we could do to finally denuclearize some of these dangerous countries.
“Obviously, there are a lot more details to work out. But the fact that you saw the North Korean leader agree to denuclearize in a verifiable way is an incredible achievement. And I commend President Trump and our former colleague on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Mike Pompeo, who is doing a great job as Secretary of State, and his entire team.”