More than 200 House Democrats on Friday voted against Republicans' Motion to Recommit on the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, that was offered by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) to advance H.R. 6184, also known as the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act.
The goal of the bill is to permanently place fentanyl-related substances into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, making it illegal to sell the molecularly-altered fentanyl substance manufactured by criminals. Fentanyl-related substances are currently temporarily under Schedule I. The bill is in response to the record number of drug overdoses in the United States stemming from fentanyl pills and other drugs laced with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is now the leading cause of death in Americans aged 18 to 45 years old.
House Democrats' opposition to the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act reportedly stems from its provision for mandatory-minimum sentences for fentanyl traffickers.
"Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that 105,752 Americans died from drug overdoses from October 2020 to October 2021. Let me repeat that – 105,752 Americans died from drug overdoses in one year’s time," Latta said on the House floor. "Down at our southern border, Customs and Border Protection are confiscating record amounts of fentanyl coming across from Mexico. For example, CBP seized over 11,201 pounds of fentanyl from October 2020 to September 2021, which is a 41 percent increase from the year before. That is enough fentanyl to kill 2.5 billion people or the entire U.S. population over 7 times."
?? 219 House Democrats BLOCKED Republican efforts to advance the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act— Chad Gilmartin (@ChadGilmartinCA) April 1, 2022
This bill would have permanently scheduled fentanyl-related substances as a Schedule I substance — meaning harsher penalties for deadly fentanyl traffickers ?? pic.twitter.com/rzi8wY66SM
While many drugs are illegally smuggled through ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border, fentanyl pills are also easy to traffic between the ports of entry since smugglers are able to pack hundreds of pills in a backpack as opposed to giant sacks of marijuana or bricks of cocaine.
President of the National Border Patrol Council Brandon Judd told GOP lawmakers in February that Border Patrol agents bogged down with processing family units and children who willingly give themselves up during the ongoing crisis at the southern border means agents have been unable to catch the drug smugglers who are bringing in fentanyl between the ports of entry.
"We have allowed the criminal cartels to create billions of dollars in revenue at the expense of U.S. citizens who [died] at a record rate in 2021," said Judd.