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Orrin Hatch under scrutiny after sponsoring controversial bill

Posted at 7:13 PM, Oct 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-17 21:31:18-04

WASHINGTON - Utah Senator Orrin Hatch is pushing back after a scathing report from the Washington Post concluded a bill Hatch sponsored undercut federal efforts to fight the opioid epidemic.

"I have spent forty years of my life here fighting the scourge of drug abuse," Hatch said in a Monday speech on the Senate floor.

The bill in question is the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, passed in April of 2016.

The sponsor of the bill in the House of Representatives, Tom Marino, withdrew his nomination for Drug Czar in light of the article in the Post, which also pointed to campaign donations from drug companies to Marino and Hatch.

The non-profit Center for Responsive Politics shows Hatch and his Political Action Committee have received $990,000 from drug and health product companies since 2013.

Hatch says suggestions of undue influences are unfair, pointing to unanimous support for the bill in both houses of Congress, and extensive help on the bill from Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island.

"I'm no patsy when it comes to drug abuse, prescription or otherwise, and neither are my colleagues," said Hatch