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FACT SHEET: Oversight Republicans Care More About Attacking the Biden Administration Than Solving the Opioid Epidemic

Mar 1, 2023

This week, the MAGA Oversight subcommittee on Crime and Federal Government Surveillance will hold a hearing to address the fentanyl crisis. While the Biden administration actively works to intercept fentanyl before it reaches American communities, House Republicans are spreading lies about the deadly drug instead of working towards solutions. Most fentanyl is brought into the country by American citizens through legal border checkpoints, but House Republicans want to blame the flow of drugs on international migrants and asylum-seekers in order to back up their radical and racist anti-immigrant agenda. Over the past two years, MAGA Republicans have opposed funding for drug enforcement and substance use disorder treatment programs. Oversight Republicans would rather debate lies and conspiracies than seriously engage with President Biden to solve the deadly opioid epidemic.

While House Republicans Play Political Games, The Biden Administration Is Intercepting Tons of Fentanyl. While House Republicans are attacking President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the Biden administration is actively interdicting growing numbers of fentanyl traffickers trying to get into the country. In December, Biden signed the bipartisan FENTANYL Results Act into law, bolstering the federal government’s capacity to detect and combat international synthetic drug trafficking. The Biden administration has launched a far-reaching public awareness campaign to raise awareness of pills laced with fentanyl. Under the Biden administration, the DEA and FDA have coordinated national efforts to detect and seize fake pills laced with fentanyl, and the DEA has seized record quantities of fentanyl, keeping millions of deadly pills off the streets. 

Contrary To Evidence, MAGA Republicans Are Blaming Migrants For Fentanyl Trafficking. Fentanyl isn’t an insecure border issue; 90% of the time, the illicit substance is brought in through ports of entry in commercial vehicles and passenger cars going through legal border checkpoints, according to the DEA. Further, U.S. citizens are largely the ones trafficking fentanyl—not international migrants. The vast majority of fentanyl is both smuggled in and paid for by American citizens. According to immigration nonprofit America’s Voice, “There is no correlation between the number of migrants seeking safety at the border and fentanyl seizures.” But Republicans would rather claim that asylum-seekers are carrying fentanyl on foot than admit they are lying about the nature of this crisis.

MAGA Republicans Have Never Proposed Any Actual Solutions To The Opioid Crisis. Instead of addressing the crisis head-on, House Republicans have spent months using fear tactics instead of finding real, practical solutions:

  • In October 2022, House Republicans spent weeks writing press releases and going on Fox News to warn parents about fentanyl in Halloween candy, even though the conspiracy was widely debunked by drug experts.

  • Many MAGA Republicans have proposed reviving a Trump-era border policy known as the “Remain in Mexico” program or Migration Protection Protocols, which is frequently cited as a top solution—even though the policy did not prevent fentanyl from pouring into the country during the Trump era and would have little-to-no impact on U.S. citizens, who bring in the vast majority of fentanyl.

  • Another drastic MAGA solution involves shutting down the land border completely, cutting off the country’s third-largest trade partner in the process. Yet when pressed for actual solutions, like legalizing fentanyl test strips to help users identify whether the drugs they are planning on taking contain the deadly synthetic opioid, House Republicans have few solutions on the agenda. 

Republicans Have Long Stymied Actual Efforts To Combat The Opioid Crisis. In addition to irrelevant proposals, MAGA Republicans have spent the past two years actively opposing efforts to combat the opioid epidemic:

  • Oversight Republicans Voted Against Addiction Recovery Treatment Funding. When House Democrats introduced proposals including additional funding for addiction recovery treatment, prominent House Republicans—including Subcommittee Chair Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and Oversight Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-CO), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), and Clay Higgins (R-LA)—voted against the measures.

  • House Republicans Voted Against Billions In Border Security Funding Just To Spite President Biden. Last year, House Republicans voted against funding for ports of entry modernization and new screening technologies. They opposed a spending law that has provided Border Patrol with $7.153 billion (a 17 percent increase from the year before)—including funding for hundreds of new Border Patrol agents, point of entry agents, and border surveillance technology that would help combat the flow of illicit substances. Some powerful members, like Oversight Committee Chair James Comer and Rep. Chip Roy, have called for even more extreme measures like cutting off all border security funding.

  • Former President Trump Neglected To Establish A National Opioid Strategy For Over Two Years. During his presidency, President Trump failed to ramp up screening and inspection infrastructure at official border crossings. Under his administration, fentanyl deaths soared and fentanyl trafficking convictions increased by 950% without a coherent national response from the former President. In fact, the Government Accountability Office issued a report blasting the Trump administration for failing to come up with a coherent national opioid strategy as required by law in December 2019.