Twenty House Republicans voted against a package on Wednesday that includes provisions aimed at addressing mental health and substance abuse.
The legislation, dubbed the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act, cleared the House in a 402-20 vote. Six Republicans and one Democrat did not cast votes.
The lawmakers who voted against it were: Reps. Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Mo Brooks (Ala.), Ken Buck (Colo.), Tim Burchett (Tenn.), Michael Cloud (Texas), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Louie Gohmert (Texas), Bob Good (Va.), Paul Gosar (Ariz.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Michael Guest (Miss.), Clay Higgins (La.), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Tom McClintock (Calif.), Mary Miller (Ill.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Chip Roy (Texas), Greg Steube (Fla.) and Van Taylor (Texas).
The package seeks to set up a Behavior Health Crisis Coordinating Office within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) that would strengthen access to crisis care.
Additionally, it reauthorizes grants for community mental health services supporting adults with mental illnesses and children with emotional disturbances, and calls for more research into the effects smartphone and social media use have on adolescents when it comes to health and development.
In a video posted on Twitter, Biggs said he opposed the legislation because the federal government does not have the authority to get involved in the matter.
“I want to talk to you about a bill that I voted no on today, H.R. 7666, which is Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022. Now that sounds good, but there really is no constitutional authority for the federal government to get involved in that,” he said.
He argued that the U.S. has seen “greatest efficacy” when these matters are overseen by state and local government for local churches, community clinics and associations.
“The problem is the federal government getting involved in something it has no expertise in, and it’s gonna spend more money on administrative costs ultimately than actually providing services,” he said.
“That’s why it need to be left at the local level,” he added.
In a separate video posted on Twitter, Burchett said the measure “allegedly” deals with mental health, and described it as “woke.”
He also argued that the measure is taking away “what the states have the right to do and just furthers more federal programs.”