REMINDER: President Biden Is Combating Fentanyl Trafficking After Trump Ignored the Opioid Crisis

In response to President Biden combating the flow of fentanyl into the United States, DNC National Press Secretary Sarafina Chitika released the following statement: 

“After Donald Trump ignored the fentanyl crisis for four years, President Biden is working with our international partners, investing in law enforcement, and coordinating with state and local partners to combat fentanyl trafficking and save American lives. While President Trump and MAGA Republicans push cruel and inhumane immigration policies that would do nothing to address the fentanyl crisis, the Biden-Harris administration has delivered real progress, seizing more fentanyl than any other administration in history.” 

NEW: President Biden held a meeting at the White House this morning to accelerate efforts to counter the flow of fentanyl into the country.

Bloomberg: “President Joe Biden pressed lawmakers to approve more funding and tighten laws to help block fentanyl trafficking, following his agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to crack down on the deadly drug. Biden on Tuesday heralded an agreement with Xi, who pledged during their summit last week to carry out a law-enforcement campaign against Chinese fentanyl components, and his talks with Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on stopping the flow of drugs across the southwest border.”

President Biden last week announced a new agreement with China to crack down on illicit fentanyl production.

Axios: “Biden and Xi agree to curb fentanyl production”

“President Biden said Chinese leader Xi Jinping on Wednesday agreed to take steps to crack down on companies in China that produce chemical precursors for fentanyl. … The Biden-Xi deal to crack down on a major source of fentanyl to the U.S. could be a domestic win for the Biden administration — both politically and in terms of its effect on the country’s fentanyl supply. Biden said in a press conference after Wednesday’s meeting that the agreement is going to save lives.”

President Biden’s proposed 2024 budget made major investments in border security, and he signed into law a major funding boost for border patrol last year.

USA Today: “In his proposed 2024 budget, the president would allocate nearly $25 billion to U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It’s a nearly $800 million increase over the 2023 enacted level.”

Government Executive: “Border Patrol is in line for a whopping 17% funding boost, which includes the funding for 300 new Border Patrol agents that the Biden administration had repeatedly stressed as necessary to handle the record-high numbers of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.”

The Biden-Harris administration launched a whole-of-government coordinated response to combat overdose deaths from fentanyl combined with xylazine.

Spectrum News: “The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy earlier this week unveiled a plan to combat the growing threat of overdose deaths from fentanyl combined with xylazine, a powerful animal sedative. … The White House in April officially designated the combination an ‘emerging threat’ to the United States. The whole-of-government response announced earlier this week builds on that declaration in an effort to combat the scourge.”

Fact checkers have repeatedly debunked Republicans’ lies blaming President Biden’s border policies for fentanyl trafficking and overdose deaths.

PolitiFact: “Are Biden’s border policies to blame for fentanyl deaths? Experts say no” “More important, if stopping large amounts of fentanyl from being distributed to Americans is indicative of a ‘crisis’ at the southwest border, as those tweets imply, it’s a problem that Biden largely inherited from his predecessor.”

Fentanyl trafficking at the border began to spike under the Trump administration. “The amount seized accelerated dramatically toward the end of fiscal 2020, while Trump was still president, when there was a 190% increase from 233 pounds seized in May to 676 pounds in June. May 2020 was the last time there were fewer than 600 pounds of fentanyl seized at the southwest border in a single month, and the largest monthly haul to date was 1,171 pounds in October 2020, the start of the 2021 fiscal year.” “But the fiscal year comparisons obscure the fact that the steep rise in seized fentanyl started in mid-2020 under Trump, as the chart above illustrates. In fact, 36% of the fentanyl seized in FY 2021 was during the first four months of that fiscal year, when Trump was president for a full 111 of those 123 days.”

Synthetic opioid overdose deaths soared during Trump’s four years in office.

Forbes: “Overdose deaths from synthetic opioids soared during the time Donald Trump was president, raising questions about efforts to blame the Biden administration’s border policies for drug overdose deaths.”

Forbes: “Between 2016 and 2020, annual drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids (excluding methadone) increased by 192% (from 19,500 to 56,894). … The average annual growth rate of drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids was 31% while Donald Trump was president. Between 2019 and 2020, the last year of Trump’s presidency, the increase in drug overdose deaths from synthetic opioids was 55%.”

Trump’s proposed budgets would have slashed funding for substance abuse treatment and the office that coordinates White House drug policies.

Washington Post: “Every year since taking office, President Trump has proposed gutting the office charged with coordinating the response to the nation’s opioid crisis. His 2020 budget is no different: it seeks to slash the Office of National Drug Control Policy by 95 percent — even as a record high of 70,000 people died from overdoses in 2017.”

Politico: “[Trump’s FY18 budget proposal] would target the federal mental health and substance abuse treatment agency with nearly $400 million in cuts while keeping funding for many initiatives aimed at fighting the opioid epidemic flat. The budget for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration cuts the Community Mental Health Services block grant by $116 million and reduces other state mental health grants by $136 million. Substance abuse treatment grants for states would fall by $73 million and public awareness programs would decline by $74 million.”

Cuts proposed by congressional MAGA Republicans could lead to thousands fewer border patrol agents and thousands more pounds of fentanyl and other drugs being allowed across our border.

The Hill: “Bates claimed that the bill, if enacted, would result in the termination of 2,000 Border Patrol agents, slash the budget of the Drug Enforcement Agency and allow 150,000 pounds of cocaine, 900 pounds of fentanyl, 2,000 pounds of heroin and 17,000 pounds of methamphetamine into the U.S.”

Government Executive: “In response to inquiries from congressional Democrats, agency officials have suggested the cuts included in the Limit, Save and Grow Act would force layoffs, furloughs, hiring freezes or other means to trim workforce costs. Customs and Border Protection said, for example, it would be forced to shed 2,400 front-line agents and officers, while the Justice Department said the FBI would lose 11,000 agents.”

MAGA Republicans in the House this summer brought America to the brink of shutdown while doing nothing to pass the nearly $800 million in additional funding the White House requested to fight fentanyl trafficking and drug addiction and overdoses.

NBC News: “The White House on Thursday asked Congress for nearly $800 million in additional funding to fight drug addiction and overdoses, which killed more than 100,000 people in the U.S. last year, according to provisional data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”

NBC News: “White House presses for money to prevent opioid deaths as congressional dysfunction stymies aid”