Banking Committee Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Address the Fentanyl Crisis
Washington, D.C. – The leaders of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs today introduced the bipartisan Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill aimed at combatting the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from the chemical suppliers in China to the cartels that traffic the drugs in from Mexico. By strengthening current law and directing the Treasury Department to target, sanction, and block the financial assets of transnational criminal organizations, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act aims to stop the flow of deadly fentanyl into our country by choking off the income source of those who traffic in synthetic opioids.
The bill was introduced by Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and cosponsored by the leaders of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, Chairman Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Ranking Member Roger Wicker (R-M.S.).
“Fentanyl takes the lives of far too many young Americans, stripping a whole generation of the opportunity to contribute to their communities and achieve their dreams. This legislation takes decisive action to cut off the deadly flow of fentanyl at the source. By using the full weight of America’s economic power and directing the Treasury Department to make addressing this crisis a priority, this bill will restore hope for communities suffering from this deadly drug,” said Senator Scott, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“The addiction crisis has taken too many lives and caused too much devastation in Ohio and around the country — and so often illicit fentanyl is the culprit. In roundtables and conversations with Ohio communities on the frontlines of this fight, I hear over and over that we need new, more powerful tools to prevent the flow of fentanyl into our neighborhoods. This bipartisan bill will add effective new sanctions to target the illicit fentanyl supply chain, from China through Mexico, to help stop increasingly dangerous forms of this drug before they ever reach our communities,” said Senator Brown, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs.
“The fentanyl crisis didn’t happen overnight, and it’s going to take a strategic, multi-pronged approach to disrupt fentanyl traffickers, including stronger counternarcotics enforcement, demand reduction initiatives, and expanded access to lifesaving treatment. This bill would provide new tools to disrupt and sanction fentanyl traffickers and go after their supply chains and money laundering operations. It would enhance coordinated interdiction efforts and help reduce the flow of this poison into our communities,” said Senator Reed, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Armed Services and a senior member of the Banking Committee.
“Tens of thousands of Americans are dying each year from fentanyl that has been trafficked into this country by Mexican cartels and manufactured using materials from Communist China. This measure would directly target the criminals and organizations that are empowering the fentanyl trade and endangering our national security,” said Senator Wicker, Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services.
The United States is facing the worst drug crisis in history. In 2021, nearly 107,000 Americans died from an overdose, and 65% of overdose deaths were caused by fentanyl. Last year, the Drug Enforcement Administration seized over 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl - enough to supply a lethal dose to every American. Given the sharp increase in fentanyl-caused deaths, it is clear that a staggering amount of fentanyl is making its way into our country from the chemical suppliers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and drug cartels in Mexico.
The FEND Off Fentanyl Act is a sanctions and anti-money laundering bill to help combat the country’s fentanyl crisis by targeting opioid traffickers devastating America’s communities. The bill will enhance current law so U.S. government agencies can more effectively disrupt illicit opioid supply chains and penalize those facilitating the trafficking of fentanyl. The bill also ensures that sanctions are imposed not only on the illicit drug trade, but also on the money laundering that makes it profitable.
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