Senate Democrats block Kennedy bill to crack down on fentanyl trafficking and protect American communities
May 09 2023
Watch Kennedy’s speech here.
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today attempted to pass his Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act to crack down on fentanyl trafficking and protect American communities. Kennedy’s bill would lower the threshold required for minimum sentencing in light of the drug’s potency relative to other substances.
Senate Democrats blocked Kennedy’s bill just days ahead of President Joe Biden’s ending Title 42. Today is National Fentanyl Awareness Day.
The end of Title 42 is expected to result in surges of illegal immigration at the southern border, which drug cartels exploit to bring more fentanyl into Louisiana communities.
Key excerpts from Kennedy’s speech are below:
“What you allow is what will continue. And today . . . the United States Congress allows fentanyl dealers to carry on their person, if they would like to, enough fentanyl to kill 20,000 Americans before they face a mandatory five-year minimum sentence if they’re caught. Until these traffickers deal themselves with real consequences, I think the carnage is going to continue.
“I have a bill. It’s called the Fairness in Fentanyl Sentencing Act of 2023, and it will change what I just talked about drastically. It will reduce the amount of fentanyl that a fentanyl dealer has to possess before facing the mandatory minimum of five years of prison. . . . When you’re dealing with fentanyl, the amounts really matter.
“Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. . . . It only takes two milligrams to kill you. . . . The amount of fentanyl that you can put on the point of a pencil will kill you.”
. . .
“This bag has 400 grams in it. . . . You have to have 400 grams. . . to face a mandatory 10-year sentence. Four-hundred grams will kill 200,000 people dead as a doornail. Shreveport, Louisiana . . . is home to 184,000 people. So, a dealer could [have] 400 grams—an amount that could kill every man, woman, and child in Shreveport— . . . in order to get a mandatory 10-year sentence.”
. . .
“My bill helps our criminal code reflect the reality that fentanyl is not like other drugs—it’s not.”
. . .
“The cartel thugs who operate south of our border have found that fentanyl is a cheap way to cut corners and to make more money. They use fentanyl to make other drugs. They put fentanyl into cocaine. They put it into heroin, which makes the final concoction cheaper and more powerful. Today, everything from marijuana to Adderall can be laced with lethal amounts of fentanyl on the black market.”
. . .
“My state of Louisiana—like every other state in this country—has seen the carnage of fentanyl. We all have. In 2021, 94 percent of drug overdose deaths in New Orleans were related to what? Fentanyl.”
. . .
“Our coroner’s office in East Baton Rouge Parish investigated 300 overdose deaths. Eighty-eight percent of them, last year, were linked to fentanyl. In the average month, in St. Tammany Parish . . . . we lose 10 or 11 people, just about every month . . . to fentanyl overdoses.”
. . .
“These are sons. These are daughters. These are friends. These are coworkers. And every one of them has a family.”
. . .
“Our Customs and Border Protection officers are working as hard as they can to try to stop drugs from flowing into the country, but their hands are tied by our bad policies. More people have crossed the border in the last year than at any time in the history of ever. That’s a fact. More than 5 million people have entered this country illegally under President Biden, during the Biden administration. I only have 4.6 million people in Louisiana. . . .
“The problem is expected to get even worse. As we know, Title 42 expires [this] week, and more people will be coming in.”
. . .
“This is about fentanyl dealers who deal death every day in order to make money.”
Kennedy’s full speech is here.