SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) — While Congress is on recess, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy stopped by the KSLA Studio on Tuesday morning to discuss a number of issues that his state and the nation face.
First, Cassidy discussed the opioid epidemic as it specifically impacts Louisiana. He recently helped secure a nearly $7 million grant that is being dispersed to organizations throughout the state to combat the devastating problem.
“There are parishes in northern Louisiana that are leading the state in terms of the number of opioid prescriptions and opioid deaths,” Cassidy said. “We have a problem and it’s going to take that federal, state and local partnership to address it.”
The Republican lawmaker also opened up about his bipartisan proposal to increase the $2,000 child tax credit available to new parents. The legislation would increase the credit to $5,000. The funds would be used to help cover the cost of a newborn child, as well as help compensate for money lost while tending to the infant.
“When the child is born, they’ll get $5,000 ... . The first year of the child’s life is the most expensive year; this helps offset that expense,” Cassidy said. “We have Democrats, the president on board and I’m hoping we can get it through.”
Cassidy also recently took a trip to the country’s southern border to get a firsthand look at the ongoing immigration crisis, which continues to be a source of national controversy.
Some immigrants entering the country illegally are taking advantage of the system, Cassidy said.
“When I was there, I saw people from China, Cuba, Venezuela. ... They told me there are folks from Haiti. ... They are coming to our border,” he said.
“There’s not enough judges down there, so we have to be able to process the families more quickly. We’ve got to secure that border."
KSLA News 12 pressed Cassidy on ways to mitigate gun violence throughout the United States, especially after this month’s mass shootings in Dayton, Ohio, OH, and El Paso, Texas.
He said he’s striving to find ways to provide better care to people who suffer from mental health issues.
“I’ve worked very hard to find resources for the state and local governments and for physicians to create an environment where somebody with a mental illness can have it recognized and treated,” Cassidy said.
“The more we implement programs like that, the more potential we have to decrease these mass shootings.”
Cassidy will travel to visit Monroe later this week.