House Passes Bills to Stop Fentanyl at the Border, Secure Inland Waterways, Transportation

WASHINGTON – The U.S. House of Representatives yesterday passed Border Security Subcommittee Ranking Member Clay Higgins’ (R-La.) H.R. 4761, the DHS Opioid Detection Resilience Act of 2019, Transportation Subcommittee Ranking Member Debbie Lesko’s (R-Ariz.) H.R. 4402, the Inland Waters Security Review Act, and Rep. John Joyce’s (R-Pa.) H.R. 3318, the Emerging Transportation Security Threats Act of 2019. All three bills now will head to the Senate for consideration.

H.R. 4761 requires Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to ensure CBP chemical screening devices can identify synthetic narcotics in the field at low purity levels, which makes up a substantial portion of synthetic narcotics seized at the border. It also directs the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to create a database of known drug analogs or spectra as they are identified to continuously update field devices as the threat evolves.

H.R. 4402 directs DHS to conduct an inland waters threat analysis that considers security threats, challenges, mitigation efforts, and vulnerabilities.

H.R. 3318 creates a task force to analyze emerging threats to transportation security and requires the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop threat mitigation plans for identified threats in coordination with transportation security stakeholders.

“Drug traffickers are continually trying to out maneuver law enforcement, adapting their smuggling tactics to skirt existing drug detection technology,” Ranking Member Rogers said. “The DHS Opioid Detection Resilience Act of 2019’s ultimate goal is to guarantee CBP always stays one step ahead of their efforts. I applaud Rep. Higgins efforts in getting this legislation through the House.”

Rogers continued, “As new threats to aviation, maritime and surface transportation threats develop, it’s important that we are proactive rather than reactive to those threats. The Inland Waters Security Review Act and the Emerging Transportation Security Threats Act of 2019 both seek to ensure that TSA and the Coast Guard remain ahead of the curve and engaged with stakeholders as new challenges emerge. I thank Reps. Lesko and Joyce for their leadership on these bills.”

“The DHS Opioid Detection Resilience Act helps CBP law enforcement officers carry out their mission and stop the illegal flow of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids,” Rep. Higgins said. “Our legislation ensures that DHS has the necessary technologies to detect synthetic opioids and combat evolving smuggling methods. This is a bipartisan effort, and I’m uplifted to see it pass with broad support.”

“Maritime security is a critical component of our Nation’s homeland security,” Rep. Lesko said. “Inland waterways, such as the Colorado River in Arizona, are important factors that must be considered as we conduct thorough security and threat assessments related to maritime security. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to quickly pass this legislation to protect our Nation’s inland waters and better secure our Nation.”

“In the face of evolving security challenges, it is imperative for federal agencies to collaborate together to prevent and combat threats to our nation,” Rep. Joyce said. “By establishing a task force with the Transportation Security Administration and other security leaders, the Emerging Transportation Security Threats Act of 2019 will facilitate new strategies to mitigate emerging threats to the U.S. transportation system. This commonsense solution will protect the American people and make our government more efficient, and I am grateful to Ranking Member Rogers and my colleagues for their support.”

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