Heroin and prescription drug abuse is tearing families apart throughout South Carolina and across America. From 2013-2014 alone the Palmetto State saw a 118 percent rise in opioid-related deaths. In 2015 the Florence County Sheriff’s Office seized 3,339 percent more heroin than in 2012. In 2012 the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office responded to 21 overdose calls; by 2015 that number more than tripled. Considered the most addictive substance in the world and cheaper than prescription narcotics, heroin is a plague on our communities that must be addressed.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the rate of heroin-related overdose deaths nearly quadrupled in the United States between 2002 and 2013. Research also shows that those who first abuse prescription drugs have a greater risk of trying and subsequently becoming addicted to heroin. Nearly 80 percent of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin.
As too many families know, addiction does not discriminate. Each day, 46 Americans die from an overdose of prescription painkillers. To address this vicious cycle, I worked with my colleagues in Congress to pass 18 bills aimed at curbing prescription drug abuse.
Among the measures passed last week is the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery (CARA) Act, legislation I cosponsored that directs the Department of Health and Human Services to create an inter-agency task force to outline the best practices for pain management and develop a strategy to prevent the overprescription of pain medication.
Health care providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for painkillers in 2012 – the equivalent of a bottle of pills for every American adult. Worse, ten of the highest-prescribing states for painkillers are in the South, including South Carolina. This overprescribing has led to misuse of opioids and increased the likelihood these addictive drugs end up in the hands of children and teenagers. Already, we have seen heroin use in young adults more than double in the last decade. Heroin and prescription drug overdoses have surpassed car accidents and firearms as the leading cause of injury deaths. While South Carolina has taken actions at the state level to curb over-prescriptions, I am glad that this federal legislation seeks solutions with federal resources. Preventing youth from having easy access to prescription drugs is a necessary step in the fight against opioid abuse.
The CARA bill also expands educational efforts nationwide to create awareness about drug addiction and address the dangers associated with different types of medication. By implementing targeted education to everyone from veterans to young adults, we can spread awareness and help curb abuse for people in all walks of life.
In addition to the preventative measures included in this bill, Congress also acted to help save lives from heroin overdose before it’s too late. Naloxone is a life-saving drug administered to people during a narcotics overdose and has a very high success rate when used properly. CARA increases the amount of grants awarded for naloxone distribution to state and local law enforcement agencies so first responders can have access to this life-saving drug in times of emergencies.
I was pleased to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in order to combat the opioid epidemic. Through increased education, a detailed plan on how to address and limit over-prescription of opioids, and increased access to life-saving naloxone, fewer lives will be cut short from drug overdose.
After passing with strong bipartisan support, these measures will now go to formal conference committee with the Senate. This is a step in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) today applauded the submission of the permit application for approval of the Interstate 73 project. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) submitted the final piece of the application to the Army Corps of Engineers who will now consider it for review and approval.
“This submission is a big milestone for the I-73 project. I’ve been working closely with federal and local agencies to submit the best proposal possible and am confident in the application,” said Rice. “I-73 is closer than ever to bringing the Pee Dee and Grand Strand the interstate access needed to remain competitive. This permit is a crucial step to enhancing our economy and bringing much needed jobs to the Seventh District and I look forward to its approval.”
Congressman Rice has worked with SCDOT on the mitigation plan for the I-73 permit application since he was elected to Congress. The permit will allow for construction of the interstate. Studies indicate that I-73 will generate approximately 22,000 permanent and 7,700 temporary jobs in South Carolina.Read More
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) today released the following statement praising the D.C. Federal District Court’s ruling in favor of the House of Representatives.
“When writing the Constitution, our Founding Fathers used separation of powers to protect the freedom of the people,” said Rice. “Article II, section 3 of the Constitution states that the President shall ‘take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ Unfortunately, President Obama has often overstepped the boundaries placed on him by the Constitution and ignored laws written by Congress.
“Today the Constitution won. This historic ruling reaffirms the foundational power of the purse that was given to the legislative branch by our Founding Fathers. I applaud Judge Collyer on this monumental decision.” Rice concluded.
In July 2014, the House voted to authorize the lawsuit challenging the Obama Administration’s executive order delaying the employer mandate provision of Obamacare. The lawsuit is a scaled-down version of the Stop This Overreaching Presidency Resolution introduced by Congressman Tom Rice (SC-07) in December 2013.Read More
Florence, S.C.—Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07) released the following statement today in regards to the expansion of Harbor Freight Tools and their $60 million dollar investment in South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District:
“I was thrilled to learn that Harbor Freight Tools has decided to expand in our district. This is good news for everyone- for Dillon County, Marion County, Marlboro County, the 7th district, and for South Carolina. This $60 million dollar investment in our community is a multi-county initiative and will create as many as 200 jobs, will spur economic growth, and bring an influx of capital to the district. I am proud to represent a right-to-work state that is consistently attracting new business and will continue to do so because South Carolinians, our business community, and our state’s leaders all share the same free market values.
“I will continue to encourage our pro-business climate and will continue to do everything I can to grow our community, create more jobs, and attract new business because when one community thrives, the entire state thrives. Thank you Harbor Freight Tools for your investment in Dillon, Marlboro, and Marion Counties; in our district; and in our state.”Read More
Washington, DC- Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), issued the following statement on the President’s State of the Union Address today.
“It is no surprise that President Obama delivered another lofty, grandiose speech tonight,” said Rice. “The President is a gifted orator, and we have heard this type of rhetoric in every one of his State of the Union Addresses, but we have had enough rhetoric. It is time for leadership.”
“In his 2009 address to the nation, the President vowed to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term – last year we had a $1.1 trillion deficit,” Rice said. “In his 2010 address, Obama pledged that ObamaCare would allow Americans to keep their health insurance – earlier this month the Congressional Budget Office estimated that seven million Americans will be forced off their employer-based insurance due to ObamaCare. Then, in 2011, the President assured us that he would get rid of regulations that hurt job growth – but in 2012, over-reaching federal bureaucrats added more than $236 billion in new regulations. Finally, in last year’s address, Obama assured us that he would work to develop every source of American energy – the EPA’s proposed regulations on Coal Ash will cost more than $75 billion and countless jobs due to the closure of more than 300 coal power plants.”Read More
Washington, DC- Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), was appointed by Transportation & Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster (PA-09) today to the following Transportation and Infrastructure subcommittees: Subcommittee on Highways and Transit; Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment; and the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation. The Transportation & Infrastructure Committee will meet later today to formally approve Rep. Rice’s subcommittee assignments.
“I am pleased that Chairman Shuster appointed me to subcommittees that will have a direct impact on some of the most vital infrastructure issues in the Seventh Congressional District,” said Rice. “Serving on the Subcommittees on Highway and Transit, Water Resources and Environment, and Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation, I will have a seat at the table to fight for the greatest infrastructure needs – I-73 and dredging of the Georgetown Port – in our district.”
“I look forward to working with Congressman Rice on the Committee,” said Chairman Shuster. “I know that South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District, like the nation, depends on an effective and efficient transportation network. I know Tom will be a tireless advocate as Congress works to address our critical infrastructure needs.”
“I am eager to work with Chairman Shuster on projects that are paramount to our nation’s competitiveness and will fight to make sure the infrastructure needs for the 7th District are addressed,” concluded Rice.
The Subcommittee on Highways and Transit has responsibility for the development of national surface transportation policy, construction and improvement of highway and transit facilities, implementation of safety and research programs, and regulation of commercial motor vehicle operations. Within this scope of responsibilities, the Subcommittee has jurisdiction over many U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) programs.
The foremost legislative product of the Subcommittee is the reauthorization of the Federal surface transportation programs. The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21)—the latest reauthorization of these programs—was enacted in the summer of 2012. MAP-21 reauthorizes Federal surface transportation programs through September 30, 2014, and builds on the foundation established by the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA), the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA 21) enacted in 1998, and the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) enacted in 2005. This legislation represents an investment in the nation’s infrastructure that translates into safer travel, more efficient commerce, faster project approval and delivery, and the creation of thousands of jobs.
Issues and agencies under the jurisdiction of the Highways and Transit Subcommittee include:
The jurisdiction of the Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment consists generally of matters relating to water resources development, conservation and management, water pollution control and water infrastructure, and hazardous waste cleanup. A number of agencies administer programs that address one or more of these issues; two agencies in particular, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), oversee the larger programs of concern to the Subcommittee.
Through its Civil Works Program, the Corps constructs projects for the purposes of navigation, flood control, beach erosion control and shoreline protection, hydroelectric power, recreation, water supply, environmental protection, restoration and enhancement, and fish and wildlife mitigation.
EPA has the primary responsibility for carrying out the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, commonly known as the Clean Water Act. This act provides for a major federal/state program to protect, restore, and maintain the quality of the nation’s waters. Although EPA is responsible for carrying out the Act, significant parts of the program may be administered by the states if approved by EPA.
Issues and agencies under the jurisdiction of the Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee include
The Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation has jurisdiction over the activities of the United States Coast Guard, including its duties, organization, functions, personnel, the Coast Guard Academy, and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.
The Coast Guard enforces the laws of the United States on waters under U.S. jurisdiction and on the high seas. The service’s many missions include search and rescue, illegal drug and migrant interdiction, oil spill prevention and response, maritime safety and security, maintaining aids to navigation, icebreaking, and enforcement of U.S. fisheries and marine pollution laws.
The Subcommittee also has jurisdiction over regulation of ocean shipping and the merchant marine, except as it relates to national security.
Issues and agencies under the jurisdiction of the Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation Subcommittee include:
For more information, visit http://transportation.house.gov.
Washington, DC- Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), issued the following statement today after President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took their oaths of office on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol today, marking the 57th Presidential Inaugural Swearing-in Ceremony.
“It was a privilege to witness one of our country’s most revered ceremonies today,” said Rice. “Since 1789, Americans have gathered to observe our country’s peaceful transition of power which is paramount to maintaining the freedoms we hold dear. I congratulate the Obama and Biden families and wish them well throughout their next term.”
“As the President took his Oath of Office with his children by his side today, I am reminded of why we are here in Washington,” Rice said. “We are here to fight for a better tomorrow for our children, grandchildren, and generations to come. I look forward to working with the President and Vice President on bipartisan solutions to solve Washington’s biggest problems, so future generations will have every opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”
Washington, DC- Rep. Tom Rice (SC-07), issued the following statement today in response to President Obama’s press conference.
“I find it interesting that President Obama says that the debt ceiling shouldn’t be used to negotiate reductions in deficit spending,” said Rice. “When then Senator Obama was asked to raise the debt ceiling he refused to do so, saying that an increase in the debt ceiling constituted ‘a sign of leadership failure.’”
"Once again, the President has shown a failure in his leadership by refusing to discuss spending cuts or outline any sensible solutions to remedy our financial situation," Rice said. "Instead, he demanded another blank check from American taxpayers. When will the President realize that we cannot afford to kick this fiscal can any further down the road. Washington’s reckless spending habits threaten the future of this country and I will not stand by and allow the Democratic majority in Washington to keep piling debt onto our children and grandchildren."
The swearing-in ceremony for new Congressman Tom Rice, R-S.C., and other members of the 113th U.S. House began about noon Thursday, Rice said late Thursday afternoon, with the formal oath-taking happening about 3 p.m.
In the two hours after that, Rice took his first four votes as the first representative of South Carolina’s new 7th Congressional District. The first, he said, was to vote for the reelection of John Boehner as Speaker of the House. The other three involved House rules.
The vote on Boehner was closer than Rice thought it would be. The overall experience? “I’m in awe of the responsibility,” he said. “I’m in awe of the honor, of the privilege of representing the 7th District.”.
The Sun News asked Rice several questions. His answers:
1. If you had been in the 112th Congress, how would you have voted on the fiscal cliff compromise?
I would have voted against it. This fiscal cliff is just the latest in a series of continuing “emergencies” that will continue until we address the underlying issues, the major one being overspending. The problem with what we’re doing by just being totally reactionary is that we have no plan. People don’t know what to plan on. Until we do that, I think business is going to be at a stalemate.
2. The current debt ceiling will need to be raised by March or federal budgets must be cut to keep the debt within the current limit. Do you support raising the debt ceiling, cutting federal budgets or something else?
I’m not going to vote to raise the debt ceiling until we have a credible plan in place to get our spending under control. Congress and the president didn’t take the time available to work on this plan in the last 1 1/2 years because there was an election coming up. I hope we can get out of that phase and get into a more proactive phase.
3. The fiscal cliff compromise delays mandated federal budget cuts - sequestration - until March. What do you think should be done?
I think we need to find ways to cut our spending. The Republican Congress has passed alternative cuts. We’ll have to look at that pretty hard and figure out what we can do.
4. An August poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found that 82 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing. That is an all-time high. Do you see that improving in the next two years and why or why not?
It’s not just Congress. It’s the president. As long as people focus on political things instead of what’s important to the country, I don’t see numbers improving.
This article was authored by Steve Jones and originally appeared in The Sun News on January 3, 2013.
Washington, DC- House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO), today named Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC), Chairman of the Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee for the 113th Congress.
“As a businessman and tax attorney, Congressman Rice is a great fit for the Committee, and I’m very happy to welcome him,” Graves said. “Small business owners are facing major challenges, and it’s a real benefit that Tom Rice has the knowledge and background to contribute from day one.”
The Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee evaluates the operation of the financial markets in the United States and their ability to provide needed capital to small businesses. In addition, the Subcommittee reviews federal programs, especially those overseen by the SBA, aimed at assisting entrepreneurs in obtaining needed capital. Since tax policy plays an integral role in access to capital, this Committee also examines the impact of federal tax policies on small businesses.
“I am honored to receive the appointment as Chairman of the Economic Growth, Tax and Capital Access Subcommittee,” said Rice. “As a tax attorney for 28 years and small business owner, I understand the challenges entrepreneurs encounter when launching a new business venture. Together, my colleagues and I will work to limit government overreach, enact serious tax reform, and lower the cost of doing business in America, so our small business owners—America’s economic engine—can compete in our economy and the global marketplace.”
325 Cannon HOB
Washington, DC 20515
A resident of Horry County since the age of 4, Tom Rice has a deeply rooted connection to the Grand Strand and Pee Dee areas. Tom entered Congress with a commitment to spur economic development, a drive to implement real tax and spending reform, and a passionate belief that limited government will better serve the needs and growth of the Seventh Congressional District of South Carolina by protecting its unique entrepreneurial spirit.
Tom serves on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee where he will have the opportunity to continue the work he started as County Council Chairman, striving to bring more state and federal support for infrastructure to the district. Tom also serves on the Small Business Committee and the Committee on the Budget. In these capacities, he will use his experience as an accountant and knowledge as a businessman to implement policy to spend fewer taxpayer dollars.
After graduating from high school in Myrtle Beach, Tom attended the University of South Carolina where he earned a Masters in accounting and a law degree. Tom then went to work for the worldwide accounting and consulting firm Deloitte & Touche in Charlotte and earned his CPA certificate. In 1985, Tom returned to his home town of Myrtle Beach to practice Tax Law with the Van Osdell Law Firm, and in 1997 he established his own practice- the Rice & MacDonald Law Firm.
Before being elected to United States Congress in November 2012, Tom was the Chairman of Horry County Council where his main focus was on job creation. By reviving the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation, Tom increased jobs in the area through his ability to build consensus with county council and community leaders. Tom worked to implement an effective government by strengthening the council’s relationship with the various municipalities and legislators in order to develop a more unified strategy. Under Tom’s leadership, Horry County Council put in place a lean Six Sigma plan for quality, customer service and efficiency that is still thriving today. Tom strived to shape Horry County Council into a more efficient governing body focused on constituent service. He plans to further that charge in the United States Congress, working towards a more efficient federal government.
Tom has been fortunate to serve his community through many charitable and civic organizations including the Myrtle Beach Haven Homeless Shelter (President), Boy Scouts, Grand Strand Sertoma Club (Secretary, President), Ocean View Foundation (President), Trinity Episcopal Church (Vestry), YMCA, and York Place. He has had the opportunity to sit on several community advisory boards as well, from the Horry County Probate Court Advisory Committee and the Myrtle Beach Board of Zoning Variances (Chairman), to the Blue Ribbon Committee to Study Emergency Services for the City of Myrtle Beach, and the SC Department of Natural Resources Conservation Education & Communication Advisory Board. Tom also participated in Leadership Grand Strand VIII- a community education initiative designed to develop future business leaders for the coastal area.
Tom has been the recipient of numerous certificates and awards for his professional achievements. In 1994 he was awarded, and continues to hold, an AV (Preeminent) legal rating by Martindale Hubble. From 1994 until 2009, he was certified by the Supreme Court of South Carolina as a specialist in Tax Law, Estate Planning, and Probate Law, and has been included in Best Lawyers in America since 2006.
Tom and his wife of 30 years, Wrenzie, reside in Myrtle Beach, and are the proud parents of three grown sons- H.T., Jacob, and Lucas. In his free time he enjoys fishing, hunting, golfing, and spending time with his friends and family.
80 programs spending $1 trillion per year is not the way to end the cycle of poverty in America. https://t.co/JsAxVEfuAi
Today SCDOT submitted a permit for I-73- a crucial step in getting our district needed Interstate access to create jobs & be competitive
Need help with passports, social security or dealing with federal agencies? Visit my staff 5/31 from 2-4pm at Dillon City Hall for help!
This week I can’t help but to think about a very special constituent of mine, Barry Coates. Mr. Coates courageously served this country and
80 means-tested welfare programs spending $1 trillion a year will never win the war on poverty. The way to lift Americans out of poverty is
Happening Now: Committee on Ways and Means hearing on reducing poverty & expanding opportunity across America. Watch here:
F.C. "Crit" Gore, a pillar of the Grand Strand, passed last week. He was my friend for over 40 years, and I will sorely miss him. Mr. Gore was
I spent this Armed Services Day throwing out the first pitch at the Myrtle Beach Pelicans game and honoring military veterans of the 7th District.