Watch Senator Capito’s questions by clicking here or the image above.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today participated in a hearing on the president’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request and how it affects the United States’ current relationship with China. Witnesses appearing at the hearing were Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

During the hearing, Senator Capito pressed Secretary Blinken on the deadly drug crisis as Chinese actors manufacture illicit precursors to deadly fentanyl, ship the chemicals and manufacturing equipment to Mexico, and assemble the final fentanyl product before it is smuggled over the unsecured southern border and distributed.



SEN. CAPITO: “I come from the state that has the largest amount of overdose deaths per capita than any other state in the union, and a lot of this is directly attributable to fentanyl. What I heard in your answer was highly insufficient because I don't have the impression that we're pressing hard enough. I don't know, we were in Mexico several— about a month ago, talking to the president there to try to help with that. You said things going on at the border. We all know that this drug is flowing across our southern border. Can you give me a better answer here and give us some hope that we can really clamp down on this illicit killer of a drug?”

SEC. BLINKEN: “Thank you very much, Senator. And first of all, let me be very clear that I could not agree with you more on the imperative of this challenge, as you know very well. This is the number one killer of Americans aged 18 to 49 and as we also know, last year, we seized enough fentanyl to kill every single American. That's what we seized.”


SEN. CAPITO: “Are you communicating with [the Chinese] now? Every day?

SEC. BLINKEN: “Every single engagement. I think I can say that without fear of contradiction. I think every single engagement I have had with a Chinese counterpart-”

SEN. CAPITO: “When was your last engagement?”

SEC. BLINKEN: “Last engagement was in Munich. This was a couple of months ago… I'm not the only one. Every official that we have who's engaged with China, including officials in my department, [fentanyl] is at the top of the agenda… In the absence, though, of cooperation, we have already sanctioned a number of Chinese enterprises and entities for engaging in the transfer of precursors for fentanyl.”


SEN. CAPITO: “We know if we can stop the ingredients from getting to where they're produced, much less the pill presses that I didn't realize China is now sending into Mexico. If you look at methamphetamine when it first came onto the drug scene, probably 20 years ago, what did our state governments do? Our state, you know, stop the flow of Sudafed. You had to get it behind the counter because that was one of the ingredients… And guess what? It worked. If you can get rid of the ingredients, you can really make a huge difference here. So your whatever we can do, I think it's just horrifying what we see happening. Well, I understand we have a demand issue. I understand we need to work on prevention, that stuff we can do and will do. But I would just press you, and I know you're pressing hard, but we just got to press harder here because this is this is a national disaster.”

SEC. BLINKEN: “I share your concern, thank you.”

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