Tags: Barack Obama | Rep. Marsha Blackburn | DEA | Drug Enforcement Agency | Rep. Thomas Marino

Rep. Blackburn: DEA Official Accused Me of 'Supporting Criminals'

By    |   Wednesday, 01 October 2014 04:56 PM

Rep. Marsha Blackburn says a Drug Enforcement Administration official accused her and a colleague of "supporting criminals" because the agency had issues with the lawmakers' handling of a bill to rein in prescription drug abuse.

The Tennessee Republican told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Wednesday that the accusation was "completely inappropriate" and "misplaced."

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In airing her conflict with an official whom she identified as a DEA deputy administrator, Blackburn also criticized federal agencies in general under President Barack Obama — calling them agenda-driven, unaccountable, and hostile both to oversight and to evidence that contradicts their regulatory aims.

Blackburn said that her constituents increasingly "wonder if the government has the ability to police itself."

The interview took place just hours before Secret Service director Julia Pierson resigned on Wednesday over a string of embarrassing White House security breaches. Blackburn also said that doubts about the integrity of the federal government don't just fall on one agency or center on one episode.

"It goes much deeper than just an occurrence," she said. "What it is, is systemic."
Blackburn said her conflict with the DEA arose over a bill, HR 4709, the "Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2014."

Blackburn said that she and Rep. Thomas Marino, a Pennsylvania Republican, wanted a provision to make sure that law-abiding pharmacists aren't swept up in efforts to bust the "pill mills" that sometimes consist of licensed pharmacies and doctors' offices selling prescription painkillers illegally.

In the course of trying to hammer out acceptable language in the bill, and restore an earlier provision that would afford some protections and rights of redress to pharmacies, "we had a deputy administrator from the DEA accuse Congressman Marino and I of supporting criminals," Blackburn said.

Blackburn said that she is well aware of the havoc wreaked by overdoses of prescription drugs, and said that it was "unacceptable" for a government official to accuse her of supporting the criminal enterprises behind the painkiller abuse problem.

A larger issue for federal agencies under Obama, according to Blackburn, is that they're losing people's trust through their actions.

"They want specifically to achieve certain benchmarks," Blackburn said. "Part of it is taking an exceptional nation and making it average. They go about that in so many ways: centralizing control of healthcare; nationalizing portions of the economy through regulation; driving businesses out because of increased litigation. And they do this every single day.

"We have even asked some of the agencies that we oversee at [the House] Energy and Commerce [Committee], do they do cost-benefit analysis?" she said. "They will answer no, they do not. The reason they don't is because doing a cost-benefit analysis of how a certain regulation would affect the marketplace may not coincide with the outcome they're seeking to achieve. If it doesn't fit, they don't do it."

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Rep. Marsha Blackburn says a Drug Enforcement Administration official accused her and a colleague of supporting criminals because the agency had issues with the lawmakers' handling of a bill to rein in prescription drug abuse.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn, DEA, Drug Enforcement Agency, Rep. Thomas Marino
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2014-56-01
Wednesday, 01 October 2014 04:56 PM
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