Rep. John Duarte (R–Modesto) has introduced a bill to combat fentanyl and other drugs.
Locally, Rep. David Valadao (R–Hanford) has signed on as a coathor to the bill, which also has bipartisan support from across the nation.
The big picture: Duarte has introduced the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Reauthorization Act, which will provide over $300 million annually to help stop the spread of fentanyl and other drugs.
- Duarte’s bill reauthorizes the HIDTA program until 2030, providing $302 million annually for it.
- It also provides another $14.2 million to create a new grant program for law enforcement agencies to enhance fentanyl seizure and interdiction activities.
- The federal government will also provide federal attorneys to the HIDTA regions to prioritize fentanyl trafficking. That’s something, Duarte told The Sun, that could help lock fentanyl dealers away for 15-20 years by trying them in federal court, instead of a typical local prosecution where traffickers may get out of prison after a matter of months.
The backstory: The HIDTA program was originally created in 1998 to help local, state and federal law enforcement to coordinate with each other.
- Under the program, when the Drug Enforcement Administration receives information about drug traffickers it will share that information directly with local sheriffs to ensure they are getting the local resources.
What they’re saying: Duarte is confident that Congress will reauthorize the HIDTA program and support the new grant program.
- But while $300 million is a significant sum of money, Duarte noted that it gets watered down when it is spread over 30 different HIDTA districts, leading him to want Congress to ultimately allocate far more funding for the program.
- Specifically, Duarte called out spending from the Inflation Reduction Act that should be used instead to fight fentanyl.
- “We’re spending under the Inflation Reduction Act $1.2 trillion on green energy subsidies in tax credits – and $300 million to fight the number one scourge killing our young people in America – this is totally asymmetric,” Duarte said. “It’s totally out of balance.”
- Duarte continued, “This bill will go through a little over $300 million a year, and that’s good and I’m proud of it. But this bill should be $1 billion a year, and it should come directly out of the green energy programs in my opinion. We’re destroying the company’s human resources while we destroy our energy grid. It’s ridiculous.”