February 16 – When it comes to looking at ways to get things done, Congressman John Joyce puts himself in the middle of the fray.
He is currently in Texas on the southern border of this country to see first-hand what’s going on.
Joyce said, “We’re looking for answers on what we can do to stop drugs like fentanyl that continue to enter our country.”
The Congressman was in McAllen, TX, yesterday, which is on the lower tip of the state, right along the Mexican border.
The deadly drug fentanyl comes into the US through the southern border.
Joyce said, “Fentanyl overdoses and drug overdoses combined are the number one cause of death in individuals 18 to 49. Not automobile accidents. Not cancer. That is the number one cause of death among that group.”
Interestingly on the trip down, there was a medical emergency on the plane and airline staff asked if there was a doctor onboard.
Joyce said, “I looked around and I realized that I was going to be that physician. There was a woman in respiratory distress. I went to the back. Fortunately on the plane, they had a stethoscope. They had a blood pressure cuff. They had oxygen. They actually had medicine. I had the right tools and it was a successful outcome, but as I sat with her for the rest of the trip, I realized we need to provide the right tools on our southern border. We need that the border patrol has what they need to stop the porous openings that allow fentanyl, methamphetamine, heroin coming into our beautiful district, killing our friends, our neighbors, our family members.”
Over the holidays, Ray and Deb Cullen from Shippensburg reached out to Joyce about their son, Zachary, and how he had been poisoned from fentanyl.
“I bring Zach and his memory with me,” Joyce said. “I bring all of the constituents who have died from drug overdoses. We need to have this hearing. We need to listen and we need to go back to Washington with a plan of action on how we can work together.”
Both Democrats and Republicans from the Energy and Commerce Committee are in Texas.
Joyce said, “This is an opportunity to hear first-hand from border patrol, from law enforcement here on the border, what necessary steps Congress needs to be doing. I take that challenge.”
The group will also go out with border patrol to witness what actually happens.
Joyce said, “This is going to be an important experience. It is a fact finding mission, but we need to take the information that we glean, we need to take it back to Washington and we need to act on it. We need to make fentanyl and fentanyl-related products a schedule one drug. We need to have sentencing that correlates with these deadly drugs. We need to be unified in that approach. That’s why I’m glad that my Democrat colleagues are doing this border trip with us.”
Michele Jansen of NewsTalk 103.7FM wondered, “Have there been any hearings like this in the last two years at all? Because as much as the current administration keeps saying the border is secure. Has there been anything like this in the last two years in terms of checking out the border and having a hearing like this?”
Joyce said, “Every trip that I’ve taken has been only Republicans. So under the leadership of Republicans, we are now inviting, cajoling, pressuring our colleagues across the aisle to join us. And they are. They’re listening because these same problems exist in their districts as well. I welcome the dialogue to occur.”
The sheriff of McAllen as well as border patrol will be speaking at the hearings.
Joyce said, “Right now as I’m looking out at the Rio Grande, I’m going to go talk to some folks. We’re going to talk to people. We just want to open up and hear what their concerns are.”
Jansen said, “I’m excited that you are going to gather more information down there to add to what we’ve gotten so far. Will the Biden administration, though, cooperate do you think? Especially with getting some of this from their own side of the aisle?”
“It has to be bipartisan,” Joyce said. “It has to be bicameral and it has to be the Senate, the House and the administration. Biden can no longer turn a blind eye to the deaths that are occurring in America. Now, I think there’s more amplification by having Democrats with us. I certainly understand the politics enough to recognize that having them on board as we move legislation forward, having them as co-sponsors, that’s going to be effective. Biden can no longer ignore this crisis. He has ignored the crisis on the southern border. We all recognize that, but the deaths that are occurring because of these poisons that continue to come into the United States, making every state a border state. The deaths that continue to occur must no longer be ignored from the administration.”