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Brown calls on Senate to advance CBP nominee

Senator says pick is key to implementing fentanyl bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, is calling on the Senate to confirm the nomination of the head of Customs and Border Protection.

Brown voted Wednesday to advance the nomination of Kevin McAleenan to lead the law enforcement agency, after he said McAleenan agreed during his confirmation hearing to work to prioritize fentanyl detection technologies.

McAleenan cleared the Senate Finance Committee Wednesday, and Brown is calling for a quick confirmation. Brown’s office said that, as the head of CBP, McAleenan will play a key role in implementing the senator’s bill, the INTERDICT Act, to give CBP tools to detect fentanyl at the border. President Donald Trump signed Brown’s bill into law last week.

“We need a Customs Commissioner who understands the agency’s role in combatting the opioid epidemic,” Brown said in a news release. “I hope the full Senate moves quickly to confirm McAleenan, so we can work together to keep fentanyl and other deadly drugs from reaching Ohio communities.”

McAleenan has served as acting CPB commissioner since January 2017 and was formally nominated to take the position permanently by Trump in May 2017.

Brown’s office pointed to the senator’s questioning of McAleenan during his confirmation hearing.

Brown asked McAleenan if access to screening devices would help CBP keep fentanyl out of the U.S.  and said the nominee vowed to work with Brown.

“Technology to both identify fentanyl in shipments and to test it effectively is absolutely essential to successful interdiction, and interdicting fentanyl and prioritizing technologies that help us do it better will absolutely be a priority,” McAleenan said at the hearing.