Federal government could shut down Saturday because one GOP senator keeps pushing debunked 'free crack pipes' lie

Federal government could shut down Saturday because one GOP senator keeps pushing debunked 'free crack pipes' lie
Image via Gage Skidmore.

U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn has a hold on a stopgap continuing resolution that must pass by Friday if the federal government is to avoid a costly and dangerous shutdown. The Tennessee Republican, a peddler of conspiracy theories and far right-wing extremism, falsely insists that an HHS program includes $30 million in federal funds to buy “crack pipes” for drug abusers.

Politico co-congressional bureau chief Burgess Everett Monday afternoon reports Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer “says he’s working on scheduling the continuing resolution, which must pass by Feb. 18 to avoid shutdown. He has not filed cloture on it yet, hoping to work it out with Sen. Blackburn, who wants reassurances HHS isn’t handing out crack pipes.”

The “free crack pipes” claim, which exploded across the country last week thanks to a false report from the right-wing outlet Washington Free Beacon, has been thoroughly debunked by The Washington Post and other investigative outlets, but the GOP is refusing to let the falsehoods die.

“It’s amazing to us that they continue to ignore this issue, and they continue to say they are fighting drugs when indeed they’re enabling drugs,” Blackburn told Newsmax on Monday.

Congress will have to jump through several hoops to avoid Blackburn’s shutdown, given how late in the process they are. The House, which has already passed its bill to avert the shutdown, would have to again pass another bill, the Senate’s which Blackburn is blocking.

Fox News’ Chad Pergram:

It’s clear for Blackburn the issue isn’t the crack pipes, which are not and by law cannot be included in the HHS program. Blackburn has repeatedly voted in favor of shutting the federal government down, which she did by voting against continuing resolutions in December 2021 and September 2020.

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