Omnibus Spending Bill Includes Ban on Government-Funded Crack Pipes

Free Beacon report earlier this year revealed $30 million Biden admin plan to fund crack pipe kits for racial equity

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December 21, 2022

The $1.7 trillion omnibus spending bill is littered with waste such as $3.6 million for a hiking trail named after Michelle Obama and at least $200 million for gender equity, but there is one provision that could be worthwhile: a prohibition on purchasing crack pipes.

Tucked on page 3,128 of the nearly 4,700 page bill is a provision that says federal dollars cannot be used to "purchase, procure, or distribute pipes or cylindrical objects intended to be used to smoke or inhale illegal scheduled substances."

The provision, which is based on a law introduced earlier this year by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), comes after the Biden administration earlier this year canceled its plans to distribute $30 million in grants to organizations for "smoking kits/supplies," including crack pipes, following Washington Free Beacon reporting. Rubio in February introduced the Cutting Rampant Access to Crack Kits (CRACK) Act after the Free Beacon's reporting, but Democrats at the time never allowed it on the floor for a vote. The omnibus bill is likely to pass Congress with bipartisan support to avoid a government shutdown.

"Most people would agree their tax dollars shouldn't pay for crack pipes. Sending drug paraphernalia to addicts is not the answer. It's just common sense. Thankfully, my CRACK Act is buried in this 4,155-page spending bill," Rubio told the Washington Free Beacon. "It will now be against the law to use taxpayer dollars to purchase, procure, or distribute pipes or cylindrical objects intended to be used to smoke or inhale illegal drugs. It's good policy and I expect it to become a new annual rider included in every appropriations bill moving forward."

Crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia are common items in "harm reduction kits." Such kits are part of a broader push by activists who believe prohibition is more harmful than drug use. Rather than encourage people not to abuse narcotics such as heroin, these activists believe, governments should ensure that drugs are used safely.

The Biden administration said in August that it would hold meetings on forbidding its harm reduction grant recipients to distribute crack pipes. At least one harm reduction center told the Free Beacon it would continue distributing crack pipes after receiving federal funding.