The devastation caused by Fentanyl has prompted a Republican to reach out to Democrats for support.

Michael McCaul has experienced the loss of five friends due to fentanyl. This has motivated him to take on a challenging task in the politically divided Washington: convincing his fellow Republicans to agree to a deal with the Democrats.

The individual from Texas is utilizing his position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee to endorse President Joe Biden’s efforts in diplomacy with Mexico. This is in response to the growing issue of fatal overdoses caused by the illicit fentanyl originating from Mexico. Furthermore, the individual is also advocating for legislation that would provide Biden with additional resources to combat the cartels.

McCaul is going against his fellow GOP members by emphasizing Biden’s struggling efforts to combat the dangerous synthetic opioid. He is also advocating for immediate floor votes while the House is preoccupied with electing a speaker and funding the government. McCaul believes that taking action against the fentanyl supply chain is crucial and could potentially prevent loss of life.

“My son recently returned from a funeral two weeks ago where he mourned the loss of his best friend,” he shared with POLITICO during the summer. He emphasized the urgency of the issue and stressed the need for increased efforts by the U.S. “Sadly, my oldest daughter has already attended four funerals for her high school peers.”

The McCaul family’s close encounter with the fentanyl crisis is becoming tragically common: Nearly 110,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year. That figure spiked from around 70,000 before the Covid pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and has shown no signs of abating.

In late September, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported that it has confiscated over 55 million fentanyl pills since January, surpassing its 2022 goal with several months still remaining in the year.

However, convincing other members of the Republican party to support a bipartisan bill, which could be viewed as a victory for President Biden, is proving to be a difficult task. In the House of Representatives, many GOP members have used recent negative events to criticize Biden and link them to what they perceive as his lenient stance on border security. In July, former Speaker Kevin McCarthy formed a task force focused on combating cartels in order to highlight the Republican party’s determination to confront them.

The task force’s leader, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas), whose suburban Houston district sits just to the east of McCaul’s, has laid the blame at Biden’s feet for his handling of the border. A former Navy SEAL, Crenshaw has proposed a resolution to authorize the use of military force against Mexico’s cartels.

In late September, McCaul’s team shared on X (formerly Twitter) that he had a meeting in Washington with Mexico’s recently appointed foreign affairs secretary, Alicia Bárcena. The purpose of the meeting was to address the issue of preventing the flow of fentanyl into Texas.

This stands in stark opposition to Crenshaw’s method, where he suggested a resolution denouncing López Obrador in April. This was in response to the Mexican leader’s threat to persuade voters to remove Republicans from their positions for mentioning the use of force against Mexico.

McCaul stated that during his initial term in Congress, which was almost twenty years ago, he also put forth a bill with the same objective.

He has come to understand that diplomacy is more effective than making threats. “Giving permission to use military force against a group in Mexico is like declaring war on Mexico, and… they are our main trading partner,” McCaul stated.

McCaul believes that an increase in violence in Mexico would give more validity to asylum requests, resulting in a surge of migrants trying to enter the U.S.

“When I discuss this, it often results in a moment of realization: ‘Oh, I didn’t consider that,'” stated McCaul in regards to the point he is presenting to his Republican colleagues who are advocating for the use of force.

In order to prevent fentanyl from entering the United States, McCaul proposes halting the import of raw chemicals, primarily originating from China, into Mexico through ports such as Manzanillo on the Pacific coast. McCaul believes that the CBP could collaborate with the trustworthy Mexican Marines and Navy and utilize advanced technology to identify and confiscate these chemicals.

has also authored a bipartisan bill imposing sanctions on drug cartels and other criminal organizations for trafficking illicit fentanyl and its raw materials, a companion to Senate legislation that
In June, the Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs gave its approval.

McCaul expressed concern that Texans traveling to Mexico to obtain prescriptions may be at risk of fentanyl exposure, as the dangerous substance was discovered in medications purchased from legitimate pharmacies.

However, McCaul’s opportunity to unite his colleagues and the Biden administration is diminishing with the looming presidential election next year. This gives Republicans a motive to reject any legislative compromise that Biden could use as an accomplishment in his ability to create bipartisan resolutions.

I have witnessed this pattern of timing with election cycles many times during my nearly 20 years in Congress, as have many others. According to McCaul, the first year is typically focused on legislative matters, while the second year is often filled with political conflicts.