Jul 6, 2016

Mental Health Reform Brings New Hope

Washington, D.C. – House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23) spoke on the House floor today in support of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which is the largest reform of our mental health system in decades.

Full remarks are below or watch online here.

“Mr. Speaker, it is a testament to Representative Tim Murphy’s (PA-18) expertise, persuasion, and sheer force of will that something so many thought would be impossible is now inevitable.

“The House will soon vote to pass Mr. Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act under suspension. Though this bill is the most significant reform to our nation’s mental health program in decades, it has such a breadth of bipartisan support that we know it will pass with far more than a majority of votes in this House. This is a work that Mr. Murphy has done not just for one month, not two, not even one year, but, I would say, a lifetime of his work. 

“You see, each year the federal government has responded with money—$130 billion to be exact. But we cannot and should never conflate the amount we spend with the effectiveness of the spending.

“The federal government has 112 programs to address mental illness. But coordination is limited and gaps are common. Children with mental health disorders can’t get psychiatrists. Criminal facilities are commonly used to house mental health patients. Funding isn’t going to support evidence-based breakthroughs that improve people’s lives.

We need simplification, coordination, and effectiveness. We need reforms that help those who suffer from mental illness while also making our nation safer. This bill is thorough and will deliver from top to bottom, and it will improve our fragmented mental health system, giving new hope to those too often forgotten and support to those truly in need. 

“It is an honor to be on this floor with Representative Murphy. He had the passion, but he had the servant’s heart to never forget those that he wanted to serve. Many of those did not have a voice, many of those felt left with no one there to speak for them. Mr. Murphy has never given up. And he has led the entire body of this house—and in essence willed it together—that it came out of committee of Energy and Commerce unanimously. And I hope on this floor we follow that direction.”

“I yield back.”