House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-GA) told Breitbart News Tuesday that Democrats are putting Americans’ lives at risk by failing to pass a bill that would crack down on fentanyl.
The House Judiciary Committee held a hearing on fentanyl abuse Tuesday.
Republicans have criticized Democrats for neglecting to vote on a Senate-passed bill known as the Temporary Reauthorization and Study of the Emergency Scheduling of Fentanyl Analogues Act. The Senate passed the bill on January 16, while in contrast, the Democrat-controlled House voted the same week to send the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump to the Senate.
The Senate passed the legislation with unanimous consent. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nalder (D-NY), instead of focusing on passing the fentanyl bill, chose to serve as an impeachment manager for the Democrats.
The fentanyl bill would extend a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) ban on fentanyl and related products indefinitely.
Collins, in a statement Tuesday, emphasized that Congress only has nine days left to pass the bill extending the ban on fentanyl products. Collins said:
What does that mean? It means that all drugs seized by U.S. investigators over the past two years that have tested positive as illicit fentanyl analogues will no longer be illegal.
Yes, you heard that correctly. It means that these substances that are killing people in communities across the country will no longer be illegal.
House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Collins told Breitbart News that House Democrats are putting American lives at risk by not passing the fentanyl bill.
He said, “It’s now been almost two weeks since the Senate passed legislation to extend the ban on fentanyl, but Chairman Nadler and Speaker Pelosi have been so consumed with impeachment, they’ve failed to do their job.”
“While Democrats are playing politics, the ban on a deadly drug hangs in the balance. Each year, millions of families and communities across the nation lose loved ones at the hands of the opioid crisis. Failing to extend the ban of this dangerous drug will put countless lives at risk, which is why Congress must act now. I’m calling on Chairman Nadler and Speaker Pelosi to bring this bill to the floor for a vote immediately,” Collins added.
Fentanyl has served as a leading cause of the opioid-related deaths. Fentanyl was found in more than 50 percent of 5,000 opioid overdose deaths in ten states in 2016. Roughly two milligrams of fentanyl can kill a previously unexposed adult.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) chastised House Judiciary Democrats’ decision to serve as impeachment managers rather than combat the opioid crisis.
McCarthy said Tuesday:
Fentanyl by the numbers: 32,000 ← People who died from fentanyl in 2018. 9 ← Days left before the temporary ban on fentanyl expires. 5 ← out of 7 Dem impeachment managers on the House Judiciary Committee, focused on impeachment rather than real issues like the opioid crisis.
Fentanyl by the numbers:
32,000 ← People who died from fentanyl in 2018.
9 ← Days left before the temporary ban on fentanyl expires.
5 ← out of 7 Dem impeachment managers on the House Judiciary Committee, focused on impeachment rather than real issues like the opioid crisis.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) January 28, 2020
Rep. John Ratcliffe’s (R-TX) asked the panel of witnesses at the hearing, in which one witness said that a whole host of issues would arise if the lift on the ban on fentanyl were lifted.
Q: What would happen with the ongoing prosecutions of fentanyl analogue traffickers if the ban expires next week?
— House Judiciary GOP (@JudiciaryGOP) January 28, 2020
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) said that Democrats are more focused on impeaching Trump than tackling the fentanyl issue.
9 more days until the ban on fentanyl expires.
Democrats are more focused on impeaching President @RealDonaldTrump than they are getting fentanyl off our streets.
People's lives are hanging in the balance. Let's get back to work on behalf of the American people. pic.twitter.com/gdadWSTE41
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) January 28, 2020
Collins said in a statement Monday that the opioid epidemic is too crucial for it to be ignored because of “political tribalism.”
“This is an issue where we must rise above political tribalism. It is far too important to too many Americans to let politics get in the way of finding solutions to combat this plague. Our constituents deserve no less,” Collins said.
Sean Moran is a congressional reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.