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Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Marino likely to vacate congressional seat, join Trump admin.

Written by Katie Meyer, Capitol Bureau Chief | Apr 12, 2017 3:22 AM

Marino was one of Trump's first supporters in Congress. He's held his seat since 2010. (Photo by AP)

(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania Congressman Tom Marino is apparently in talks to become President Donald Trump's new head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

The Republican previously served as the United States Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, and was one of Trump's first and most ardent supporters in Congress.

His exit would mean a special election to refill the seat he's held in northeastern Pennsylvania since 2010.

Marino's office won't yet say whether he's stepping down. But CBS reports that the conservative Republican is finishing paperwork to confirm the move.

The head of the ONDCP is typically known as the "drug czar," and requires Senate confirmation.

During his time in Congress, Marino has passed two major pieces of drug control-related legislation. One, the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act, was an effort to curb international drug distribution.

"It is about bringing to justice the source nations, manufacturers, and middlemen--wholesalers behind the flow of deadly narcotics across our borders," Marino said on the House floor in 2015. "Nothing else."

The bill garnered bipartisan support. But another measure that encouraged collaboration between drug sellers and the Drug Enforcement Agency proved more divisive.

Critics claim that law makes it harder for the government to prosecute distributors who have profited from prescribing opioids.

The district Marino would be vacating is fairly heavily Republican; all its counties went to Trump in the November election. It includes portions of Juniata, Mifflin, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder and Union counties.

Published in News, State House Sound Bites

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