House Republicans introduce bill to require fentanyl drug traffickers serve life in prison – Fox News

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Former homicide detective Brian Foley on the rise of fentanyl in the US after a 13-year-old died at Connecticut school.
FIRST ON FOX: A group of House Republicans is calling on Congress to crack down on fentanyl traffickers as the U.S. sees a dramatic spike in deaths related to the opioid.
Introduced on Thursday, the Fentanyl Trafficker Elimination Act would apply life sentences to individuals who push fentanyl and its analogues.
U.S. Border Patrol agents working the Interstate 19 Immigration Checkpoint near Amado, Arizona, seized over 50 pounds of suspected fentanyl and arrested the driver of the vehicle on Oct. 13, 2021.  (U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
“Smugglers aren’t deterred by the existing penalties for trafficking fentanyl into the United States,” said Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., who introduced the legislation with Reps. Tom Tiffany, R-Wis., Michael Guest, R-Miss., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa.   
“You better be ready to spend the rest of your life in prison if you willingly bring illegal fentanyl across any of our borders,” Burchett added. “No longer can we shrug off this criminal activity that is responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of Americans.”
FENTANYL OVERDOSES BECOME NO. 1 CAUSE OF DEATH AMONG US ADULTS, AGES 18-45: ‘A NATIONAL EMERGENCY’
An analysis by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently found that fentanyl was the leading cause of death among U.S. adults ages 18-45. The problem is apparently expanding, as the number of fentanyl deaths also doubled in two years, increasing from 32,754 in April of 2019 to 64,178 in April of 2021. 
Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., in the Longworth Building in December 2019.  (Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call)
Compounding the threat is the apparent spike in fentanyl coming across the border. For example, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data showed that in May of 2021, the U.S. had seen a 300% increase in seizures at the southern border. And in December, Mexico’s defense minister claimed the country saw a 525% increase in synthetic opioid fentanyl seizures since the current administration began in December of 2018.
Burchett’s legislation appeared to serve as a counter to the Biden administration’s proposal removing certain penalties for trafficking of fentanyl-related substances (FRS).
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has seen a record number of seizures of fentanyl.  (DEA)
President Biden and former President Trump had temporarily placed FRS under schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. The administration’s proposal from September would make that change permanent while removing certain quantity-based mandatory minimums. Although it would maintain mandatory minimums in cases linked to serious bodily injury or death, critics have accused the president of eliminating necessary penalties.
WHITE HOUSE PROPOSES REMOVING PENALTIES FOR FENTANYL TRAFFICKING-RELATED OFFENSES
Thursday’s proposal would alter the Controlled Substances Act and Controlled Substances Import and Export Act. Penalties would apply to “400 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of [fentanyl] … or 100 grams or more of a mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of any analogue of [fentanyl].”
President Biden speaks about the COVID-19 variant named omicron in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Washington as Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens.  (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
The White House defended its own proposal in September, saying that “[t]he Justice Department reported only eight cases with FRS charges from the time temporary class scheduling was adopted in 2018 through December 2020, of which only a handful even included charges of quantity-driven mandatory minimums.” 
It also said that Congress should approve $41 billion in spending for national drug program agencies, as well as continue working on legislation designed to counter overdoses.
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Both Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, panned the legislation, while Rob Portman, R-Ohio, supported it.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw, Andrew Mark Miller and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.
Sam Dorman is a reporter with Fox News. You can send tips on Twitter @DormanInDC or Facebook at SamDormanFoxNews.
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This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2022 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. Quotes displayed in real-time or delayed by at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Factset. Powered and implemented by FactSet Digital Solutions. Legal Statement. Mutual Fund and ETF data provided by Refinitiv Lipper.

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