GOP Senators Press for Stronger Penalties for Fentanyl Distribution

By Jeffrey Rodack

Republican senators, led by Florida's Marco Rubio, have reintroduced a bill allowing prosecutors to charge anyone responsible for the distribution of fentanyl resulting in death with federal felony murder.

"Illicit fentanyl remains the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18-45," said a statement from the office of Sen. Marco Rubio. The Florida Republican is one of 15 GOP senators pushing for the bill.

Co-sponsoring are: Sens. Bill Hagerty, R-Tenn., Rick Scott, R-Fla., James Lankford, R-Okla., Roger Wicker R-Miss., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Mike Braun R-Ind., Ted Budd, R-N.C., Ted Cruz, R-Texas, Steve Daines, R-Mont., Roger Marshall, R-Kansas, Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Katie Britt, R-Ala., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss.

"We need to stop the flow of fentanyl and punish those responsible for poisoning our communities," Rubio said. "If the illicit sale of this drug results in death, then the seller should be charged with felony murder. That is a simple, common sense, step we can take right now to help turn the tide and protect our communities."

And Cruz added "Cartels are bringing unprecedented amounts of fentanyl across our southern border due to the Biden administration's failed policies. This is entirely unacceptable. These cartel bosses, who have taken advantage of the weakness of the Biden Administration, must be held accountable for the millions of lives they have destroyed with this horrific drug."

Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, has introduced companion legislation in the House.

President Joe Biden, in his State of the Union address, had called for "strong penalties to crack down on fentanyl trafficking," The Associated Press said.

Biden noted "Fentanyl is killing more than 70,000 Americans a year."