The Presidential seal decorates the ceiling in the Oval Office, Wednesday, June 7, 2023, of the White House. ( Photo by Adam Schultz)

With House Republicans on the verge of breaking with the Senate GOP and turning their back on the funding commitment they made to the American people, they need to remember that lives are at stake in the government funding debate.

Last week, President Biden took action to take on fentanyl trafficking and support communities responding to natural disasters. And already, the Senate has advanced bipartisan bills that keep the government funding promise both parties in both chambers made to the American people this year.

Now, House Republicans have a stark choice to make: will they honor their word, meet their responsibility to avoid a shutdown, and act on life and death priorities like fighting the fentanyl crisis? 

Or will they break their promise and choose to shut down the government – hurting our economy, undermining our disaster preparedness, and forcing our troops to work without getting their paychecks – all to appease Marjorie Taylor Greene and her far-right friends’ demands for a baseless impeachment stunt simply to politically attack the President?

President Biden is urging Congress to provide $800 million to fight fentanyl trafficking and counter the deadly substance being illegally imported from China.

The American people are clear where they stand. This summer, Morning Consult polling found that combating the spread of fentanyl was one of the highest priorities of the American people, whereas extreme, far-right priorities like impeachment had very little support. Many other polls reinforce this conclusion.

Senate Republicans have also been clear where they stand. Last week, Senator McConnell said, “The Speaker and the president reached an agreement which I supported in connection with raising the debt ceiling to set spending levels for next year. The House then turned around and passed spending levels that were below that level…that’s not going to be replicated in the Senate.”

And, at least in the past, a host of congressional Republicans have agreed with President Biden, their House Democratic colleagues, and both parties in the Senate that fentanyl is a top issue. 

  • Last month, Speaker McCarthy warned, “Today, 300 Americans will be poisoned to death from fentanyl that’s pouring across our open border. That’s like an airliner crashing every day, and if that happened, we would all be demanding action to keep Americans safe. It’s past time we do the same for the fentanyl epidemic.”
  • Last month, Chip Roy said, “We must stop the rampant trafficking of fentanyl (& people) to end these poisonings and the loss of these voices.”
  • This spring, Rep. Stefanik said we must “work to get the scourge of fentanyl out of our communities.”
  • Rep. Michael McCaul said “stopping [fentanyl] should be our number one priority.”
  • In July, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said, “The fentanyl epidemic is one of the greatest crises facing our nation.”
  • In march, Rep. Darrell Issa said the “deadly threat [fentanyl] poses has now reached every corner of our country and no community is being spared.”

Again, House Republicans have a pressing choice to make: do they keep their commitment to the country and provide the resources we need to address our urgent challenges, or do they set back the most critical needs of the American people by deciding that a baseless impeachment stunt demanded by Marjorie Taylor Greene and their most extreme members is somehow more important?

The DEA, Border Patrol, and Department of Homeland Security need the anti-fentanyl funding President Biden is seeking. Lives are at stake.

Andrew Bates is the White House Deputy Press Secretary and Senior Communications Adviser.

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