MN03 Erik Paulsen : Focused on Keeping Fentanyl Off Our Streets by 2022; Ignoring 3D Printed Guns

The MN Political Roundtable is always impressed with Third District Congressman Erik Paulsen’s ability to focus on non-controversial issues while ignoring the controversial … as well as promoting long-range solutions for the non-controversial instead of attacking urgently needed problems.

Other politicians just can’t do that … they believe that Congress can do more.

Take Senator Amy Klobuchar and her tweet about legislation that she has sponsored — S.3304 3D Printed Gun Safety Act and S.3300 Untraceable Firearms Act — definitely a subject that is controversial.

Senator Klobuchar has also addressed the need to stop dangerous synthetic drugs like fentanyl and carfentanil from being shipped through our borders to drug traffickers here in the United States and her legislation with her legislation S.372 Synthetics Trafficking & Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, “Dangerous synthetic drugs that find their way into our communities from overseas through the postal system continue to claim the lives of teenagers and adults in Minnesota and across the country,” Senator Klobuchar said. “In the face of these tragedies, we need to step up efforts to stop these synthetic drugs from coming across our borders from foreign countries in the first place. Our new bipartisan legislation will give law enforcement the tools they need to help curb the trafficking of synthetic drugs and keep them out of the hands of our children.”

Congressman Paulsen has avoided the subject of 3D printed guns and there is no companion bill in the House … but he is being very vocal about fentanyl … offering an OpEd and a tweet

Opioids and the GOP have been discussed before on the MN Political Roundtable … from 2016 Playing Politics : Chairman John Kline and Opioid Legislation and from June Erik Paulsen turns to opioids to save his seat

Makes for good campaign literature … “the House has passed over 70 bills addressing the epidemic in an effort to bringing resources directly to our communities for research, safety, treatment, and recovery.”

So, let’s read a little of Congressman Paulsen’s OpEd …

The Solution:

With my support, the House passed the Synthetics Trafficking and Overdose Prevention (STOP) Act, bipartisan legislation that will improve the security of the international mail system and help U.S. law enforcement interdict shipments of illegal fentanyl.

The bill extends the advance electronic data submission requirement to the U.S. Postal Service and other international mail carriers, closing this loophole and giving law enforcement another important tool in the effort to keep synthetic opioids away from our shores and off our streets.

The STOP Act was approved by the House in June, and House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a final version of the legislation. I’m optimistic it will be signed into law soon. There’s no one solution to the problem of synthetic opioids, but it is important. It’s just the latest step we’re taking to combat the opioid crisis.

Factually, Congressman Paulsen is correct … the House did approve H.R. 5788 Securing the International Mail Against Opioids Act on June 14 by a vote of 353-52 … but for an issue that impacts every congressional districts, 52 Representatives voting NO is rather surprising … until you listen to them and hear what was in the bill.
— Provides an effective date of January 1, 2020 to begin collecting the fees for the program (yep, once again the National Debt will rise until the “user fee” begins to recoup some of the expenses.)
— Sets a target for the USPS to transmit advance electronic data (AED) on at least 95% by December 31, 2022.
— Focuses exclusively on the role of the US Post Office in processing international shipments while ignoring the question of what Big Pharma did to cause this problem (75 percent of opioid abuse starts with prescription drugs usually for pain management.) And failed to address alternatives to opioids like medical marijuana and kratom.

For some of those reasons, 52 Representatives thought the bill could be better and voted NO … that was the better vote.

So, the bill goes to the Senate … and what did they do .. they improved it.
The Senate corrected House version adding fines and to require AED on every package by the end of 2020 — two years earlier and no 5% leeway.
The revised bill will still not address alternatives to opioids or what responsibilities Big Pharma should have … but the reality is that as long as “Representative” Paulsen is in Congress, Big Pharma will be protected … so this is the best that could be expected in 2018.

Now, the sad news … Congressman Paulsen is on a five-week “recess” … which means he will not be able to vote on the revised bill until September.
And he won’t be able to do anything on gun responsibility until then either … but we have come to expect that from “Representative” Paulsen.