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Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Nov. 17, 2020
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill (H.R. 3878) to amend the Controlled Substances Act to clarify the process for registrants to exercise due diligence upon discovering a suspicious order, and for other purposes, as amended.

The Clerk read the title of the bill.

The text of the bill is as follows: H.R. 3878

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the ``Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2020''. SEC. 2. CLARIFICATION OF PROCESS FOR REGISTRANTS TO EXERCISE DUE DILIGENCE UPON DISCOVERING A SUSPICIOUS ORDER.

(a) In General.--Paragraph (3) of section 312(a) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 832(a)) is amended to read as follows:

``(3) upon discovering a suspicious order or series of orders--

``(A) exercise due diligence;

``(B) establish and maintain (for not less than a period to be determined by the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration) a record of the due diligence that was performed;

``(C) decline to fill the order or series of orders if the due diligence fails to resolve all of the indicators that gave rise to the suspicion that filling the order or series of orders would cause a violation of this title by the registrant or the prospective purchaser; and

``(D) notify the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Special Agent in Charge of the Division Office of the Drug Enforcement Administration for the area in which the registrant is located or conducts business of--

``(i) each suspicious order or series of orders discovered by the registrant; and

``(ii) the indicators giving rise to the suspicion that filling the order or series of orders would cause a violation of this title by the registrant or the prospective purchaser.''.

(b) Regulations.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, for purposes of section 312(a)(3) of the Controlled Substances Act, as amended by subsection (a), the Attorney General of the United States shall promulgate a final regulation specifying the indicators that give rise to a suspicion that filling an order or series of orders would cause a violation of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) by a registrant or a prospective purchaser.

(c) Applicability.--Section 312(a)(3) of the Controlled Substances Act, as amended by subsection (a), shall apply beginning on the day that is 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act. Until such day, section 312(a)(3) of the Controlled Substances Act shall apply as such section 312(a)(3) was in effect on the day before the date of enactment of this Act. SEC. 3. DETERMINATION OF BUDGETARY EFFECTS.

The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall be determined by reference to the latest statement titled ``Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation'' for this Act, submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provided that such statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.

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Mr. PALLONE. 3878.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 3878, the Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2020. This bill will improve reporting an action on suspicious orders on controlled substances.

Between 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 Americans died from a drug overdose. Many of those Americans were caught in the first wave of what we typically describe as three waves of this epidemic.

This first wave began in the 1990s with deaths involving prescription opioids. In 2010, we saw dramatic increases from heroin-involved deaths. And most recently, we are seeing a third wave involving synthetic opioids, like illicitly manufactured fentanyl.

During that first wave, Americans across the country became addicted to opioids. Many of those opioids were prescribed to patients to treat pain. However, throughout the years, we have discovered that many of these opioids were diverted through a system meant to prevent diversion.

The Drug Enforcement Administration requires entities that manufacture or distribute controlled substances to register and report their activities through ARCOS. This system is meant to track the manufacture, distribution, and dispensing of these substances. In this system, registrants are also expected to disclose suspicious orders of controlled substances, such as orders of unusual size, orders deviating from a normal pattern, or orders of unusual frequency.

As an effort to improve reporting and action on suspicious orders, this bill would clarify the responsibilities of drug manufacturers and distributors when discovering a suspicious order, and require communications around that order to DEA. This will help all entities to better identify suspicious activity and root out bad actors.

Madam Speaker, this is a commonsense bill that will make clear the responsibilities for all entities in our supply chain and, hopefully, help to deter opioid diversion and trafficking. I commend the lead sponsors of this bipartisan bill, Representatives Dingell and McKinley, and their staff for their work on this legislation. I also thank the Democratic and Republican members of our committee, as well as bipartisan staff for working together to move this bill.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 3878, and I reserve the balance of my time. House of Representatives, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Washington, DC, November 16, 2020. Hon. Jerrold Nadler, Chair, Committee on Judiciary, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Nadler: Thank you for consulting with the Committee on Energy and Commerce and agreeing to be discharged from further consideration of H.R. 3878, the Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2020, so that the bill may proceed expeditiously to the House floor.

I agree that your forgoing further action on this measure does not in any way diminish or alter the jurisdiction of your committee or prejudice its jurisdictional prerogatives on this measure or similar legislation in the future. I would support your effort to seek appointment of an appropriate number of conferees from your committee to any House-Senate conference on this legislation.

I will seek to place our letters on H.R. 3878 into the Congressional Record during floor consideration of the bill. I appreciate your cooperation regarding this legislation and look forward to continuing to work together as this measure moves through the legislative process. Sincerely, Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman. ____ House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, Washington, DC, November 16, 2020. Hon. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Pallone: This is to advise you that the Committee on the Judiciary has now had an opportunity to review the provisions in H.R. 3878, the ``Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act of 2019,'' that fall within our Rule jurisdiction. I appreciate your consulting with us on those provisions. 3878, with the understanding that we do not thereby waive any future jurisdictional claim over those provisions or their subject matters.

In the event a House-Senate conference on this or similar legislation is convened, the Judiciary Committee reserves the right to request an appropriate number of conferees to address any concerns with these or similar provisions that may arise in conference.

Please place this letter into the Congressional Record during consideration of the measure on the House floor. Thank you for the cooperative spirit in which you have worked regarding this matter and others between our committees. Sincerely, Jerrold Nadler, Chairman.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentlewoman from Michigan (Mrs. Dingell), the Democratic sponsor of the bill.

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Mr. PALLONE. Madam Speaker, I have no additional speakers. I urge my colleagues to support this bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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