By Paige McGlauflin
WASHINGTON – Sen. Joe Mancin (D-W.Va.) said former drug czar nominee Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.) was “not the person” for the position following The Washington Post/60 Minutes report on his connections to the drug industry.
Manchin was speaking at a panel on the opioid epidemic hosted by The Post along with Sens. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio).
“I knew right then that congressman Marino was not the person to be leading the drug czar,” Manchin said at the panel, “because no one in West Virginia would believe after that article, and also y’all collaborating with 60 Minutes, would ever believe he was gonna be fighting for them.”
Marino had pushed through Congress a law in 2016 that prevented the DEA from putting restrictions on drug distributors, who have a large role in the opioid epidemic that claimed more than 60,000 lives in the past year.
Marino, who was also shown in the report to have received more than $100,000 from PACS connected to the drug industry, withdrew his nomination on Tuesday following the report. The position he was nominated for would have enabled him to direct drug-control policies in the U.S.
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) October 17, 2017
Manchin also wrote a letter addressed to the president on Monday urging him to remove Marino from consideration.
Manchin also praised the Post and 60 Minutes reporters for their work.
“I wanna thank you all because if you hadn’t done that, this would still be simmering,” he said at the panel.
Manchin also has introduced a bill co-sponsored by Sens. Hassan and Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) to repeal the 2016 legislation.