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February 02, 2022

Trone and Spanberger’s Legislation to Combat Illicit Fentanyl, Hold China & Latin American Countries Accountable for Trafficking Now Included in America COMPETES Act

Trone and Spanberger’s Legislation to Combat Illicit Fentanyl, Hold China & Latin American Countries Accountable for Trafficking Now Included in America COMPETES Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representatives David Trone (D-MD-06) and Abigail Spanberger (D-VA-07) today announced that their legislation to help curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States will be considered as an amendment for a bill the U.S. House will vote on later this week focused on strengthening America’s economic and national security.

According to a Pew study released last month, more Americans died from overdose in 2020 than any previous year on record — and early figures indicate that 2021’s death toll may be higher. The same study showed that approximately 75 percent of all fatal overdoses in 2020 involved opioids — including more than six-in-ten involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.

The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act is now expected to include a Spanberger-Trone amendment to address the root causes of illegal fentanyl production, distribution, and sale. Specifically, the Spanberger-Trone legislation would require the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Attorney General, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary to recognize this pressing challenge and issue a report to Congress that describes American efforts to gain a commitment from China and Latin American governments to combat the production and flow of illicit fentanyl. With this additional information, more steps could be taken by the United States to combat illicit fentanyl production and trafficking that originates in both China and Latin America.

“Last year, our country lost 100,000 Americans to drug overdoses, the vast majority of which were caused by synthetic opioids. For years, bad actors in China and Mexico have manufactured these dangerous drugs and brought them into our communities. Enough is enough,” said Trone, Co-Chair of the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking. “It’s time to work with our international partners to investigate crime organizations, stem the flow of drugs across our borders, and save lives. This vital measure within the America COMPETES Act will do just that.”

“Virginia has seen record overdose levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the scourge of fentanyl on our streets has exacerbated this crisis and led to countless families losing a loved one. This devastation and heartbreak can be prevented, but it requires the United States to redouble our efforts to hold foreign countries accountable for turning a blind eye to fentanyl trafficking,” said Spanberger, a former federal law enforcement officer. “Today, I am proud to see our legislation one step closer towards being included in the America COMPETES Act — because our nation’s long term success on the world stage depends on the health, security, and opportunities provided by our communities here at home. I want to thank Congressman Trone for his partnership on this legislation, his leadership on these issues, and his commitment to making Virginia, Maryland, and our entire country safer.”

The U.S. House Rules Committee approved the amendment’s consideration by the full House for inclusion in the America COMPETES Act last night.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

The report required by the Spanberger-Trone bill would also describe multilateral efforts between China and Latin American countries and a plan for future steps the United States Government will take to urge the Latin American governments and the Chinese government to address transnational criminal organizations and combat illicit fentanyl production and trafficking originating in their respective countries.

Additionally, the report would highlight U.S. Government efforts to urge China and Latin American countries to detect and deter the financing of the production and flow of illicit fentanyl products originating in China and Latin America, trace the proceeds of their sale, and combat related corruption.

Click here to read the full legislative text.

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