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House Passes Rose’s Bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act to Combat Illicit Fentanyl, Hold China Accountable

Bipartisan sanctions legislation would pressure China—the world’s largest producer of illicit fentanyl—to enforce new law declaring wider range of fentanyl derivatives as controlled substances; Both House and Senate have now passed legislation as part of annual defense bill, putting it in strong position as both chambers negotiate unified bill to send to President

Washington, July 12, 2019

Watch Rose’s speech in favor of the legislation HERE.

Congressmen Max Rose (D-N.Y.), Anthony Brindisi (D-N.Y.), and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) announced today that the House of Representatives passed their bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act as part of the annual defense bill.

The bipartisan bill, which was included as an amendment to the House and Senate National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), would apply pressure on the Chinese government to honor their commitment to make all fentanyl illegal and provide the United States with more tools and resources to go after illicit traffickers in China, Mexico, and other countries. The legislation will now head to conference committee where both chambers will iron out differences before sending the legislation to the President’s desk for signature.

“Fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin is the leading cause of overdoses which is why it’s critical we stop it at the source—and the fact is China is the leading producer of illicit fentanyl and they need to be held accountable,” Congressman Rose said. “I’m proud to see that when it comes to protecting our children and communities from deadly fentanyl, politics and partisanship are tossed by the wayside. Getting this passed through in both the House and Senate versions of the defense bill put us in a strong position to get this to the President’s desk and signed into law.”

“This legislation, supported by Democrats and Republicans, will crack down on China and give law enforcement the tools they need to stop this deadly drug entering our country,” Congressman Brindisi said. “The opioid epidemic has torn apart too many Upstate New York families, and we must take action. I’ll continue fighting to get this bill to the President’s desk and signed into law.  We must fight back against illegal drugs and provide treatment to those addicted to them.”

“The importance of curbing the flow of fentanyl into American communities and holding China accountable for its production is paramount,” Congressman Fitzpatrick said. “I am pleased the House passed our bipartisan amendment to the NDAA to protect families across the United States.”

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Require imposition of sanctions on drug manufacturers in China who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers, transnational criminal organizations like those in Mexico who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S. and financial institutions that assist such entities. Waivers would be provided for countries that take sufficient action to implement and enforce regulations on synthetic opioid production.
  • Authorize new funding to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, including the Departments of Treasury, Department of Defense and Department of State, to combat the foreign trafficking of synthetic opioids.
  • Urge the President to commence diplomatic efforts with U.S. partners to establish multilateral sanctions against foreign synthetic opioid traffickers.
  • Establish a Commission on Synthetic Opioid Trafficking to monitor U.S. efforts and report on how to more effectively combat the flow of synthetic opioids from China, Mexico and elsewhere.

Following a commitment to the U.S. at the G-20 in December 2018, Chinese regulators announced on April 1, 2019, that a wider range of fentanyl derivatives would be declared controlled substances in China on May 1, 2019.

China has struggled to enforce its current drug laws and continues to deny that its illicit fentanyl producers are a major source of the illicit opioids contributing to the U.S. opioid crisis. To ensure accountability, Rose, Fitzpatrick, and Brindisi’s sanctions legislation would pressure the Chinese government to move forward with an aggressive plan to enforce its announced new laws and provide the U.S. executive branch with flexible new sanction tools to go after actors, from manufacturers to traffickers, in China and other countries.

Full transcript of Rose’s speech from the House floor last night on the legislation:

Thank you Madam Speaker.

I rise today in support of my bipartisan amendment, in both the House and the Senate, to the National Defense Authorization Act, a necessary leap forward in combating the opioid by cracking down on illegal fentanyl from China, Mexico, and other countries.

I’d like to acknowledge and thank the other cosponsors of this amendment, my colleagues French Hill, Anthony Brindisi, Brian Fitzpatrick, David Trone, and Connor Lamb.

This amendment will place sanctions on drug manufacturers who knowingly provide fentanyl to traffickers on transnational criminal organizations, who mix fentanyl with other drugs and traffic them into the U.S., as well as on financial institutions that assist these traffickers.

Critically, my amendment also authorizes new funding to U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to go after fentanyl traffickers, while establishing a commission on fentanyl and opioid trafficking to ensure that we make progress here.

Kids are dying in my district, Staten Island, South Brooklyn, and New York City, but they’re dying around the country because of deadly fentanyl.

We know where it’s coming from, and it’s about time that Congress does something about it.

The days when a person or a company can find safe harbor in another company, and then flood our streets with drugs, and then face no consequences, those days have to be over.

I strongly urge all of my colleagues to vote in favor of this amendment—we have got to get this done.

Thank you, and I yield back.