The NBC News (7/17, Merod) website reported that last week, by a vote of 422-2, the House of Representatives passed HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, considered to be “one of the most significant bills targeting mental health reform since 1963.” Even though “Congress just began its seven-week recess Thursday, advocates say they’re optimistic a similar bill could pass in the Senate by the end of the year.”
The Hill (7/17, Sullivan) reported, however, that “hopes are dimming for passage of a mental health bill in the Senate this year.” Proposed “legislation offered by Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) may have to wait until 2017.” This is because “a tougher battle has emerged in the Senate over the politics of guns.” Should the mental health measure become embroiled in “a fight over the divisive issue of gun control, many fear the legislation would be sunk.” Even if guns do not become an issue, should mental health legislation not pass the Senate before the election in November, “there would be little time to get it through this Congress.”
— “House Passes Most Significant Mental Health Reform Bill in Decades,” ANNA MEROD, NBC News, July 17, 2016.