Rep. De La Cruz brings first bill to House for vote; passes successfully

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U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz speaks about H.R. 1076 on the House floor on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. (Courtesy photo)

U.S. Rep. Monica De La Cruz’s office announced a bill intended to curb the financing of “Illegal synthetic drugs” was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives Monday.

H.R. 1076 was introduced by De La Cruz, R-McAllen, with U.S. Reps. Andy Ogles, R-Tennessee, and Brittany Pettersen, D-Colorado, on Feb. 17.

According to a news release, the bill — which gives the order for the U.S. Comptroller General to study the illicit financing associated with synthetic drug trafficking — passed with bipartisan support.

“Drug overdoses impact too many families; more and more Americans now know someone impacted,” De La Cruz said in the news release. “Border communities like those in Texas’ 15th Congressional District are on the frontlines, seeing the drug trade’s impact on our cities and towns.”

De La Cruz made history in Nov. 2022 when she became the first woman and first Republican to represent District 15.

H.R. 1076 marks the first bill sponsored by De La Cruz to make it to the House floor for a vote.

“Knowing how these narcotrafficking organizations conduct their financing and business models will increase our chances of defeating them and saving American lives,” she continued. “We want our communities to be strong and our families to thrive. Getting to the bottom of how cartels run their operations will help end this deadly period in American history.

“I thank Reps. Ogles and Pettersen for their leadership on this issue, and I look forward to passage in the Senate and the president signing this bill into law.”

The bill’s passage came after it was referred to the Committee on Financial Services, of which De La Cruz was selected to serve in February, as well as the Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce. It will now go before the Senate for a vote at a yet to be determined date.

In the news release, Ogles praised De La Cruz’s leadership with the bill, which he hopes will help curb the flow of drugs into the country.

“We have a fentanyl crisis on our hands as a result of Biden’s border crisis. American families and communities are losing loved ones daily,” Ogles said in the news release. “I appreciate Congresswoman De La Cruz’s leadership on this issue and her hard work to advance this important piece of legislation. It is imperative that we not only crack down on the flow of illicit, deadly drugs into our country, but also assess the government’s efforts to combat these activities.”

Pettersen, a Democrat, referenced her own personal experience with a family member who struggled with an opioid addiction as the driving force behind her involvement with the bill.

“Deaths involving synthetic opioids, such as illicit fentanyl and methamphetamine, increased by 22 percent in 2021, and continue to rise in the U.S. and globally,” Pettersen said in the news release. “If we want to reverse the current trends, an important first step is stopping the organizations that are trafficking these drugs into our communities.

“I introduced this bipartisan legislation alongside Congresswoman De La Cruz so we can shed light on the finances of these organizations, and I was thrilled to see it pass the House tonight.”