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Rubio Praises Senate Passage of Bipartisan Anti-Opioid Measure to Sanction Chinese-Origin Fentanyl Traffickers
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL) today praised the Senate’s passage of the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, a bipartisan anti-opioid measure to impose sanctions against Chinese and other foreign traffickers of fentanyl. This bill was included as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2020 that passed the Senate today in a vote of 86-8. Rubio co-sponsored the NDAA’s anti-opioid measure with Senators Tom Cotton (R-AR), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Pat Toomey (R-PA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ed Markey (D-MA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA).
The Fentanyl Sanctions Act would hold China and other countries accountable for their commitments to crack down on producers and traffickers of fentanyl and other deadly synthetic opioids, pushing China’s government to honor their commitment to enforce new laws declaring all fentanyl derivatives illegal. Additionally, the legislation would provide the U.S. government with more tools and resources to sanction illicit traffickers from China, Mexico, and other countries—a critical effort, in light of the steep rise in devastating fentanyl overdose deaths.
“Today’s bipartisan vote shows that Congress is serious about combating the ongoing opioid crisis impacting families and communities across our nation,” Rubio said. “As we work to counter the flow of illicit fentanyl from China, I’m proud to have worked with many of my Senate colleagues on this legislation in order to hold accountable foreign illicit fentanyl manufacturers and traffickers who are destroying the lives of Americans.”
“We must hold China, currently the world’s largest producer of illicit fentanyl, accountable for its role in the trade of this deadly drug. Our Senate-passed, bipartisan sanctions bill will do just that,” Schumer said. “The opioid crisis has claimed tens of thousands of lives and devastated families and communities across the country. In New York state, from November 2017 to 2018, approximately 2,000 people died from an opioid overdose. About 1,500 of those deaths were from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Our legislation is critical in this fight to save American lives, and I hope to announce soon that this bill will be signed into law.”
“The Chinese government is the world’s largest drug dealer,” Cotton said. “China has allowed fentanyl and other synthetic opioids to pour into the United States for years, killing tens of thousands of Americans. Our law enforcement and intelligence agencies need additional resources to target the fentanyl producers, traffickers, cartels, and other criminals who are funneling this poison across our borders and into our communities. I’m pleased that this year’s NDAA includes our bipartisan amendment to give law enforcement critical tools to stop this scourge and hold China accountable.”
“On average, 14 Ohioans will die every day in Ohio due to an opioid overdose,” Brown said. “The addiction crisis has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio. This bill will add effective new sanctions tools to help combat the flood of illicit fentanyl coming into the U.S. primarily from China and Mexico, and help provide intelligence and funding to keep these dangerous drugs out of Ohio communities.”
“There is not a single state, and not a single community, in our country that is not impacted in some way by the deadly export from China of fentanyl and its over one thousand synthetic analogues,” Crapo said. “While China only recently agreed to the administration’s demand to prohibit all fentanyl clones through necessary regulation, this bill provides important new authorities to curb fentanyl exports by targeting those who manufacture these insidious drugs and those who facilitate or finance them. We must hold the Chinese government accountable for the fentanyl illicitly made in and exported from its country and this bill will do precisely that.”
“Fentanyl has been pouring into our country, devastating our communities every day for the past five years. In 2018 alone, a record 3,163 New Jerseyans died of opioid-related overdoses including prescription pain killers, heroin and fentanyl,” Menendez said. “But despite our continued efforts to increase security at our ports, the fact is we need the cooperation from other countries if we’re going to have any chance at stopping this epidemic. We cannot simply take China’s word for it when they say they’ll crack down on fentanyl manufacturers—especially when American lives are at stake. With this legislation, we are sending a clear message to the Chinese government—and any other country that decides to turn a blind eye to fentanyl production—that says your actions will have consequences. I am proud to partner with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to take this important step forward in our fight to end the scourge of opioid addiction.”
“I’m pleased the bipartisan Fentanyl Sanctions Act was included in the Senate’s National Defense Authorization Act,” Toomey said. “Providing our government with a tool to sanction illicit opioid manufacturers, cartels, and the banks that finance them can only help to combat the flow of deadly fentanyl into our country. The fight is not over, though. We also must hold foreign governments, like China, accountable if they fall short in fighting illicit fentanyl exports.”
“More than 80 percent of the total drug overdose deaths in New Hampshire in 2018 were due to fentanyl or fentanyl combined with other drugs. This crisis should have Congress’ undivided attention,” Shaheen said. “As our law enforcement and first responders tackle this crisis from the front lines, it’s critical that Congress back them up with the resources they need, and that the U.S. government take meaningful action to hold traffickers and their sponsors to account by imposing sanctions and increasing enforcement. Passing this legislation is a big step forward. This is a first-of-its kind bill that has full-throated bipartisan support, and I’ll keep working to push this effort through Congress and deliver it to the President’s desk.”
“The flow of illicit fentanyl from China to the United States has been a death sentence for thousands of Massachusetts residents,” Markey said. “This scourge must end. We should use every diplomatic tool to hold China accountable for their role in the opioid overdose crisis. I thank my colleagues for their partnership in getting this provision passed and will continue to encourage the Trump administration to use its authority to ensure China follows through on its commitments to stem the flow of fentanyl.”
“Our country has been ravaged by the opioid epidemic,” Capito said. For my state of West Virginia, it’s been particularly deadly, and I refuse to let drug traffickers profit from American deaths. This bill will put increased pressure on the Chinese government and hold them accountable on their promise to crack down on fentanyl distributors. I’m proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for this important step in drug interdiction.”
“The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities in Michigan and across the country,” Peters said. “China’s unwillingness to crack down on the producers and distributors flooding our communities with deadly synthetic opioids like fentanyl has contributed to thousands of overdose deaths in the United States. I’m pleased the Senate passed this important bipartisan provision to stop illicit fentanyl from entering our country and hold the producers of this lethal substance accountable for their role in this devastating public health crisis.”
“This the most serious and potentially dangerous drug I have seen. It must be closely and carefully constrained,” Feinstein said. “It’s unacceptable that many foreign chemical producers continue to facilitate the illicit fentanyl trade. We must make clear that our country will not tolerate the trafficking of opioids in any way.”
“The fentanyl crisis needs to be addressed at all ports of entry,” Blackburn said. “China is complicit in allowing illicit trafficking to occur and needs to pay the price for its role in fueling the opioid epidemic. This bipartisan effort demonstrates that we are a united front when it comes to stopping the opioid epidemic.”