Senate approves bipartisan bill bolstering anti-drug efforts

The Senate has easily approved legislation reinforcing efforts against heroin and the abuse of opioid painkillers despite a partisan battle over providing added money for the programs.

Thursday’s vote was 94-1.

Bipartisan unity over the measure contrasted with the parties’ nasty divide over Republicans’ refusal to consider anyone President Barack Obama nominates for the Supreme Court vacancy.

Democrats have used the court fight to label GOP lawmakers obstructionists. Republican senators in tight re-election contests in Ohio, New Hampshire and elsewhere have been especially eager to win passage of the anti-drug package and cite it as an accomplishment.

Republicans rejected a Democratic effort last week to add $600 million to the bill, which creates grants for state and local governments.

The House has yet to advance its own legislation.

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