Congressional reporting over the past week focused on the aftermath of the events of Jan. 6: the insurrection at the Capitol and the attempt to throw out Georgia’s votes in the November election.

Coastal Georgia’s Rep. Buddy Carter took center stage in several stories — he was one of several members of the Georgia delegation who tried to block their state’s votes from counting at all. 

That move — construed by some as an endorsement of the riot — nearly derailed a bipartisan effort to stem the opioid addiction crisis by allowing more treatments for addiction on the market. Carter had been working steadily on that bill for a couple years as the lead Republican sponsor. His Democrat co-sponsor on the bill, Pennsylvania Rep. Madeleine Dean, refused to work with him as the lead on the bill as it finally came up for a vote because of his stance on Jan. 6. Carter refused to budge saying “It’ll be a cold day in hell before I apologize for standing up for my values.” He also reiterated that he did not endorse the violent attack on the Congress and wanted to move on from the event. He then led an effort to defeat the noncontroversial opioid bill in protest. Requiring a two-thirds vote, it failed on a first vote. Here’s the PBS NewsHour report on the environment in Congress and Carter’s full statement.

It wasn’t Carter’s only skirmish with his colleagues over the topic. He filed a complaint against California Democrat Rep. Zoe Lofgren regarding a 128-page report she issued in March that quoted various House members and their social media communications regarding the fairness of the election and the insurrection. In the report, 18 instances of Twitter and other notes quoted Carter questioning the Georgia state government and the voting process. It also linked to a video where Carter called  the riot “a few people who got out of control” and that their actions were unacceptable. In it, he said there was no link to those actions and his move to disallow the votes and overturn the election.

Carter said Lofgren violated the House Communication Standards Commission’s rules of civility by compiling and circulating the report. The Washington Post report detailed the blowback on Lofgren.

This week, Carter also voted against the formation of bipartisan legislation to create an independent commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack. 35 Republicans joined 217 Democrats to pass the bill which now heads to an uncertain fate in the U.S. Senate. And he also voted Nay for funding to pay for damages and more security for the Capitol, Capitol police and Congress stemming from the insurrection. That bill passed, as well. (He did not vote on the other bill getting press attention this week, the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, that requires the Department of Justice to do expedited reviews of COVID-19 hate crimes. This was in part advanced in the aftermath of a mass killing that included Asian women outside Atlanta.)

So what happened to the opioid treatment bill? Carter, who is the only pharmacist in the House and who is known for his knowledge and legislative work on drug benefits and supply chains, turned down an offer to be an ordinary co-sponsor. 

The bill, key to opening new treatments for opioid addiction, was delayed for more than a week but did eventually pass 402-23 and headed to the Senate on Wednesday. Carter voted Nay. 

The Tide brings regular notes and observations on news and events by The Current staff.

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