Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Tuesday expressing her “grave concerns” about the department’s program that could reportedly use taxpayer money to distribute crack pipes to drug addicts. File photo: Christopher Halloran, Shutter Stock, licensed.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – After reports have surfaced that a grant program instituted by the Biden Administration could start using taxpayer dollars to distribute crack pipes among drug addicts, Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) expressed “grave concerns” about the proposed plan in a strongly-worded letter addressed to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra on Tuesday.
The $30 million grant program, originally reported on by the Washington Free Beacon, is slated to begin distributing its funds in May to nonprofits and local governments, with the goal being to make taking illegal drugs safer for addicts. The grants, which are distributed by the HHS, have funds earmarked specifically for “smoking kits/supplies,” which will include pipes that addicts can use to smoke crack cocaine, crystal methamphetamine, or “any illicit substance” that the user wishes.
The documentation accompanying the grant includes text that makes reference to President Joe Biden’s Executive Order 13985, titled “Advancing Racial Equity and Support for Underserved Communities Through the Federal Government.”
Last week, Biden talked about being tough on crime.
This week, the Biden Admin announced funds for crack pipe distribution to “advance racial equity.” pic.twitter.com/cnSazcL8bA
— Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) February 7, 2022
In her letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, Senator Blackburn admonished the grant program, calling it a “slap in the face” to the countless men and women nationwide who are fighting against the damage that illegal drugs do in communities every day.
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“Government-funded drug paraphernalia is a slap in the face to the communities and first responders fighting against drugs flowing into our country from a wide-open southern border,” Blackburn wrote. “If this is the president’s plan to address drug abuse, our nation is in serious trouble.”
Blackburn gave HHS a March 1 deadline to respond and confirm if the grant program will indeed be providing funds for the distribution of drug paraphernalia – which, she said, would be a violation of U.S. law – as well as detailing the approval process and providing a list of the originations and entities that had applied for the grant, whose application deadline ended this past Monday.
Fox News reached out to HSS to confirm the Washington Free Beacon’s report; a spokesperson claimed the report was “misinformation,” but did not issue a denial.
While acknowledging the grant description includes a provision for reporting on purchases of ‘smoking kits’ provided to addicts, Snopes.com rated conservatives coverage from JustTheNews.com and The Blaze, as “Mostly False” through “gross misrepresentation” saying the “crack pipes” or “smoking kits” are only a very small part of the program.