The Senate is one thing, but repealing or changing the law also requires action in the House of Representatives. According to SSDP's Angell, the prospects look very good there indeed.
"We fully expect the HEA reauthorization bill in the House will include full repeal," he said, citing the support of key committee members who support it led by House Education and Labor Committee chairman Rep. George Miller (D-CA), and including Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA), Danny Davis (D-IL), Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), and Rob Andrews (D-NJ).
"We think the Senate HELP committee has expressed its intent to not see this penalty enforced anymore, so with full repeal language in the House, we'll be in a good position to really, finally achieve repeal."
But that's getting a little bit ahead of the game. While chances are good for HEA drug provision repeal this year, it isn't a done deal yet, and there is always Souder lurking in the wings. "There is still a lot of work to be done," said Angell. "We have to make sure there are no hostile amendments on the floor, and Souder is still on the committee. He's sure to offer an amendment, and we need to be arming our allies in Congress with the information they need to defeat that amendment.
I propose that if we are indeed successful in finally repealing the penalty, everyone in the national office change their last name to Souderbane. We can have a cool King Arthur-esque name changing ceremony. "Tom Angell, kneel. I dub thee SIR Thomas Souderbane, Knight of the Drug Policy Reform Movement. Please rise." Because that would be my idea of a rockin' celebration and, for that matter, a funny joke. (sigh)