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POLITICS: PennAve

Meeting with Newtown families, Joe Biden to announce mental health push

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Gun Control,Barack Obama,Health and Human Services,Joe Biden,Newtown,Health Care,PennAve

Vice President Joe Biden on Tuesday will announce $100 million in government spending on mental health services, trumpeting the investment during a meeting with family members of victims from the massacre in Newtown, Conn.

The Department of Health and Human Services will spend $50 million to “establish or expand behavioral health services for people living with mental illness or addiction” and the Department of Agriculture will finance another $50 million “for the construction, expansion or improvement of mental health facilities in rural areas over the next three years,” according to a White House official.

The HHS funding is being made available through the Affordable Care Act. An agency direct loan program will facilitate the USDA spending.

The administration has vowed to renew its push for additional gun restrictions after an embarrassing legislative defeat earlier this year. Lawmakers in April rebuffed President Obama’s call for an assault weapons ban, expanded background checks and a prohibition on high-capacity ammo magazines.

Last December, 20 students and six adults were shot and killed at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary, relaunching a fierce gun-control debate in Washington.

However, both Republicans and Democrats agree that bolstering mental health services could potentially reduce more cases of mass violence.

Biden will make the announcement at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday from the White House.

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Brian Hughes

White House Correspondent
The Washington Examiner