MEMPHIS, Tenn. — U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee says she will no longer hold up a funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown.
She had threatened to block it because of a misunderstanding involving “crack pipes.”
Senator Blackburn said last week she would hold up the bill until Health and Human Services could clarify whether it contained money to provide free crack pipes to drug addicts.
The bill provides money for “safe smoking kits” which includes overdose reversal drugs and syringe disposal containers. It does not contain money for crack pipes.
Blackburn’s office released this statement Tuesday:
“Senator Blackburn lifted her hold after she received an answer in writing from the HHS Secretary committing that no taxpayer funding will be used to fund crack pipes.”
Congress has until Friday evening to pass the spending bill in order to avoid a government shutdown.
The White House says the idea of providing free crack pipes was never on the table.
“What is happening here is the potential to hold up funding the government and important programs around an issue that is not an issue because we’ve been very clear that we are not providing funding for crack pipes,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.