Senate passes Brindisi bill to impose sanctions on Chinese fentanyl manufacturers
Following a promise to the U.S., China announced that it would treat all fentanyl as illegal in an effort to more tightly regulate how many variants of the drug are making their way out of the country. But Rep. Anthony Brindisi (D-Utica), who has seen opioids ravage his Congressional district that covers the Mohawk Valley, is skeptical.
"I don't think we should be taking the government of China's word for it," Brindisi said. "I think we actually want to have real resources in place in the event that they don't follow through on promises on this because they have a record of really not following through on promises made in the past."
Brindisi and Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island) have introduced the first ever fentanyl sanctions bill in the House that would attempt to enforce China's promise if Beijing does not. The bipartisan legislation would permit the U.S. to impose sanctions on Chinese manufacturers who knowingly provide synthetic opioids to traffickers. It also provides funding so border patrol can better detect hidden shipments of fentanyl.
"They're coming through everyday household goods or consumer goods and another piece of this is making sure our agents have the tools they need to scan these packages before they are let into our country to see if there is any deadly substances in there which could end up in upstate," He said.
The Senate included language from the Fentanyl Sanctions Act in its National Defense Authorization Act, which it passed Thursday.
Rep. John Katko (R-Camillus), who has a record of trying to crack down on the opioid epidemic, has not yet signed onto the legislation. His office did not return a request for comment.