U.S. House Passes Spanberger’s Legislation to Combat Chinese Fentanyl Trafficking, Her Legislation to Support Virginia Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Jobs

The America COMPETES Act also includes Legislation the Congresswoman has Championed to Support Domestic Semiconductor Production in Virginia & Across the Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. House of Representatives today voted to pass U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger’s legislation to help curtail the flow of illicit fentanyl into the United States. Additionally, the House-passed bill includes billions for domestic semiconductor manufacturing — a priority for Central Virginia’s economy.

The America Creating Opportunities for Manufacturing, Pre-Eminence in Technology and Economic Strength (COMPETES) Act includes Spanberger’s amendment to address the root causes of illegal fentanyl production, distribution, and sale. Specifically, her legislation would require the U.S. Secretary of State, the U.S. Attorney General, and the U.S. Treasury Secretary to recognize this pressing challenge and issue a report to Congress that describes American efforts to gain a commitment from China and Latin American governments to combat the production and flow of illicit fentanyl. With this additional information, more steps could be taken by the United States to combat illicit fentanyl production and trafficking that originates in both China and Latin America.

“In this moment, the United States needs to stand up to the Chinese government and invest in our workforce, our economy, and our overall competitiveness. That solution needs to include a renewed effort to support strengthened semiconductor production and prescription drug manufacturing here at home. Additionally, this strategy must take the long overdue step of holding China accountable for turning a blind eye to illicit fentanyl production, distribution, and sale — illicit activities that are killing Americans,” said Spanberger. “While it is important that the House-passed legislation includes several provisions that would benefit Central Virginia — particularly the CHIPS Act, it is unacceptable that it has taken until today to have a vote on this issue. The U.S. Senate passed a strongly bipartisan bill in June of last year, and House leadership should have brought that legislation to the House for an immediate vote and onward movement to the President’s desk.”

Spanberger continued, “Instead, House leadership chose to put this issue on the back burner and ultimately bring a separate, House-led bill to the floor, requiring a potentially lengthy conference process. That decision was unacceptable, but from this moment forward and at a time when the entire world is watching China, my expectation is that we must all prioritize getting this bill through the conference process and to the President’s desk. The world, the American workforce, and the Chinese government must see that the entirety of the U.S. Congress — the House and the Senate — are proudly united in making a statement and law — founded on our confidence in the success and competitiveness of the United States.”

The House-passed America COMPETES Act also includes Spanberger’s Continuous Manufacturing Research Act. — would allow the National Science Foundation (NSF) to award grants for research into advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing — including continuous manufacturing research. 

Currently, the NSF can use existing grant funding to support manufacturing research and education in six key areas — nanomanufacturing, robotics, advanced sensing and control techniques, manufacturing enterprise systems, materials processing, and IT for manufacturing. The Spanberger-led legislation would establish advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing as a seventh area of manufacturing research. She originally introduced the bill as standalone legislation in June 2021.

“Continued investment by the government into next generation technologies like continuous manufacturing allow Phlow and our industry colleagues to bring essential medicine manufacturing back to the U.S. while also ensuring the highest quality processes,” said Eric Edwards, MD, PhD, Co-Founder & CEO, Phlow Corp. “Together with the U.S. Government, Phlow is operationalizing a U.S.-based essential medicine supply chain solution through the development of advanced pharmaceutical manufacturing techniques, including continuous manufacturing, to re-imagine the development and production of key starting materials, active pharmaceutical ingredients, and finished pharmaceutical products critical to U.S. healthcare.”

“This legislation will provide a pathway for the U.S. to regain its competitive position in the global manufacturing sector by providing cutting edge technology that will promote 21st century job creation,” said Dr. B. Frank Gupton, Ph.D., CEO, VCU College of Engineering’s Medicines for All Institute & the Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr. Chair in Pharmaceutical Engineering.

The America COMPETES Act also appropriates $52 billion for the CHIPS for America Act — key investments that would support continued American technological leadership in semiconductor fabrication, address supply chain disruptions, reduce the potential for chip shortages, and ensure more semiconductors are made in America. 

”Henrico and the Commonwealth of Virginia have a long history of innovation in the semiconductor industry. The passage of the CHIPS Act is the tipping point that combined with our existing robust infrastructure, shovel ready sites, and talented workforce ensures the semiconductor industry can grow and increase U.S. capacity immediately,” said Anthony J. Romanello, Executive Director, Henrico Economic Development Authority

“Virginia Loggers Association strongly supports the CHIPS Act. America’s forest products industry and others are falling behind because of the unavailability of chips for our highly mechanized industry. Almost every aspect of America’s forest harvesting and mills that process our natural, renewable, and carbon-free forest resources use semiconductor chips in control modules. Congress needs to act now and immediately move forward to support and fund semiconductor manufacturing and research. Only our Congress can incentivize our American entrepreneurs so we may control our own destiny in American semiconductor manufacturing and ensure our important industries will not depend upon any other government,” said Ron Jenkins, Executive Director, Virginia Loggers Association

BACKGROUND

According to a Pew study released last month, more Americans died from overdose in 2020 than any previous year on record — and early figures indicate that 2021’s death toll may be higher. The same study showed that approximately 75 percent of all fatal overdoses in 2020 involved opioids — including more than six-in-ten involving synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.

The report required by Spanberger’s amendment would also describe multilateral efforts between China and Latin American countries and a plan for future steps the United States Government will take to urge the Latin American governments and the Chinese government to address transnational criminal organizations and combat illicit fentanyl production and trafficking originating in their respective countries.

Additionally, the report would highlight U.S. Government efforts to urge China and Latin American countries to detect and deter the financing of the production and flow of illicit fentanyl products originating in China and Latin America, trace the proceeds of their sale, and combat related corruption. Click here to read the full legislative text.

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