Biden pressures Congress; demands more funds to combat fentanyl trafficking

President Joe Biden pressed lawmakers to they will approve more funds and tighten laws to help block fentanyl trafficking, following their agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping to crack down on the deadly drug.

Biden announced a deal on Tuesday with Xi, who pledged during their summit last week to carry out a law enforcement campaign against Chinese fentanyl componentsand his talks with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador to stop the flow of drugs across the southwest border.

“It is a global challenge that demands global action,” Biden said at the White House, adding that “Congress must also step up this fight.” providing the necessary funds.

A White House emergency funding request included one thousand 200 million dollars for the Department of Homeland Security to fight fentanyl trafficking. But the package has been delayed in Congress by disagreements over assistance to Ukraine and immigration policy.

Biden also urged lawmakers to take steps to change the Controlled Substances Act to ensure that illicit fentanyl substances are classified in the List I, a Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) label for those that have no medical use and have a high potential for abuse. He said the change would make it easier to limit the distribution of pills and other means of producing the drug.

What agreements did Joe Biden and Xi Jinping reach?

On Tuesday the president was joined by National Security Advisor, Jake SullivanSecretary of State, Antony Blinken, Secretary of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkasthe attorney general, Merrick Garlandand other drug policy officials.

US officials characterized the agreement between Biden and Xi last week as one of the main achievements of their meeting.

Xi vowed to crack down on manufacturers and exporters of fentanyl and its chemical precursors. In exchange, the United States is lifting sanctions on China’s Ministry of Public Security Institute of Forensic Sciences, a nationwide network of crime laboratories accused of anti-ethnic human rights violations. Uigur in the Chinese region of Xinjiang.

“Now, we’re not going to just rely on this, that this is happening. We have to verify it. And that will save lives,” Biden said.

The deal drew criticism from some Republicans who said Biden did not get enough assurances from China. It is unclear whether the administration would reimpose sanctions on the forensic institute if Beijing does not live up to its commitments.

Fentanyl, the drug that became an epidemic

Fentanyl has caused a public health crisis: More than 150 people in the United States die each day from overdoses related to synthetic opioids, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several presidents have fought the opioid epidemic.

Republican presidential candidates have attacked Biden’s response to the crisis and vowed to be tougher on China to block the flow of drugs, including by deploying the U.S. military against cartels in Mexico and the Disruption of economic ties between the United States and China.