Tester-backed fentanyl crackdown bill signed into law - TAI News
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Sen Jon Tester (D-MT) listens during a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing, May 18, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib)

The U.S. Senate passed a national security spending bill on April 23 by a vote of 79-18, days after it was approved by the House of Representatives. Included in the new law is a bipartisan plan to crack down on supply chains of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids that was co-sponsored by Democratic Sen. Jon Tester.

Tester has long championed the Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence (FEND) Off Fentanyl Act, a bill designed to keep fentanyl and other illicit drugs out of the country. It contains provisions to require the federal government to impose economic sanctions against criminal organizations and drug cartels involved in trafficking, designate international fentanyl trafficking as a national emergency, and authorize a Treasury Department crackdown on fentanyl-related money launderers.

The Senate had previously passed the fentanyl provisions in its July 2023 defense authorization, but they were stripped out in negotiations with the House. Nine months later, Congress included in them H.R. 815, which also contained defense funding for Israel, Taiwan, and Ukraine and humanitarian relief for people in Gaza. 

In a social media post after the vote, Tester celebrated the law’s passage: “Included in it is my FEND Off Fentanyl Act, bipartisan legislation to target illicit fentanyl trafficking and hold accountable the bad actors behind it. It’ll get law enforcement additional tools to help get these poisonous drugs off Montana streets. This targeted, bipartisan package will keep Montanans safe at home by cracking down on the fentanyl epidemic, and it will strengthen our security abroad by countering our adversaries and standing firm with our allies. I urge the President to quickly sign it into law.”

“This critical legislation will make our nation and world more secure,” President Joe Biden said in a statement, before signing the package into law April 24.

In addition to Tester, the FEND Off Fentanyl Act was co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Steve Daines.

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