December 10, 2020

Senator Hassan Participates in Oversight Hearing Focused on Implementation of Hassan-Backed Legislation to Curb International Shipment of Fentanyl, Other Synthetic Drugs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan participated in an oversight hearing today on the implementation of bipartisan legislation that she cosponsored, which was signed into law in 2018, to curb the shipment of deadly fentanyl and other synthetic drugs that are being sent through the mail to drug traffickers in the United States. The oversight hearing on implementation of the STOP Act, which was held by the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, is part of Senator Hassan’s ongoing effort to hold China accountable for the trafficking of fentanyl substances into the United States.

 

Senator Hassan’s questioning can be watched here and begins at 1:10:12 and ends at 1:18:46.

 

The bipartisan STOP Act requires shipments from foreign countries through the United States Postal Service (USPS) to provide advance electronic data, such as sender and recipient names and a description of package contents, to identify suspicious shipments. Last year, Senator Hassan participated in a 2019 Congressional delegation to China, where she pressed Chinese officials to ensure that packages coming to the United States from China had the advance electronic data that is now required by law.

 

Senator Hassan questioned Eric Green, Director of Specialized and Technical Agencies at the Bureau of International Organizational Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, about the United States’ efforts to ensure that China is in compliance with the law.

 

“We talk [with China] about the whole range of issues regarding narcotics and narcotics trafficking, including policies and procedures within both countries, as well as the STOP Act and the requirements for [advance electronic data],” Mr. Green said. “In 2019, at the urging of the United States, the Chinese authorities scheduled fentanyl analogues within China itself. According to our information this has led to a crackdown on the labs and some of the websites that were a severe problem in the past.”

 

Senator Hassan also pressed a top official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection about why the agency was nearly a year overdue in issuing regulations to implement requirements in the STOP Act that would help curb the illicit shipment of fentanyl in the United States.

 

“If an agency is having difficulty meeting a deadline with a critical piece of legislation that impacts the safety of our country – and I come from a state that has been particularly hard hit from fentanyl – if there are difficulties, we need to hear from the agency and we need to be coordinating with the agency to try to provide you the resources that you need. Because this is truly unacceptable,” Senator Hassan said.

 

Senator Hassan has been leading bipartisan efforts to combat drug trafficking. In 2018, Senator Hassan attended the White House signing ceremony for the bipartisan INTERDICT Act, which she cosponsored, to help ensure that U.S. Customs and Border Protection have the tools to help detect and intercept fentanyl being smuggled into the United States – much of which originated in China. Recently, the Senate and House passed bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senator Hassan to help prevent opioid trafficking by ensuring that personnel at the Department of Homeland Security have the tools that they need to more easily detect synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Additionally, the Senator cosponsored the bipartisan Providing Officers with Electronic Resources (POWER) Act that would establish a grant program to give state and local law enforcement access to similar cutting-edge screening technology. 

 

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