S. 706 would establish a penalty for foreign drug traffickers who have reasonable cause to believe that illegal drugs will be trafficked into the United States, allowing the Justice Department to go after Colombian drug kingpins who use Mexican gangs as intermediaries to ship cocaine into the U.S.

“Since drug cartels are continually evolving, this legislation ensures that our criminal laws keep pace.” Grassley said. “This legislation closes a loophole abused by drug traffickers who intend for drugs to end up in the United States but supply them through an intermediary.”

In addition, the bill applies penalties to foreign chemical producers that illegally ship chemicals into the U.S. knowing they will be used to make illegal drugs, such as pseudoephedrine, which is used for methamphetamine. 

Feinstein and Grassley’s bill would also make a technical correction to the Counterfeit Drug Penalty Enhancement Act, which increased penalties for the trafficking of counterfeit drugs. The much-needed fix adds a “knowing” requirement so that U.S. pharmacists can be held criminally liable only if they knowingly sell counterfeit drugs. Under the bill that was signed into law by President Obama last year, a pharmacist could be charged with a federal felony for unknowingly selling counterfeit drugs. Feinstein said the “knowing” clause was unintentionally left out of the original bill last year.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampPoll: GOP challenger narrowly leads Heitkamp in North Dakota Trump plan to claw back billion in spending in peril Manchin becomes final Democrat to back bill preventing separation of immigrant families MORE (D-N.D.), Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharAmerica has reason to remember its consumer protection tradition when it comes to privacy Hillicon Valley: Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner deal in blow to DOJ | Dems renew push to secure state voting systems | Seattle reverses course on tax after Amazon backlash | Trump, senators headed for cyber clash | More Tesla layoffs Judge approves AT&T-Time Warner merger opposed by Trump MORE (D-Minn.), Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: Spending bill targets Pruitt | Ryan not paying 'close attention' to Pruitt controversies | Yellowstone park chief learned of dismissal through press release Senate committee targets Pruitt scandals in spending bill Overnight Energy: DNC to reject fossil fuel donations | Regulators see no security risk in coal plant closures | Senate committee rejects Trump EPA, Interior budgets MORE (D-N.M.) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenHillicon Valley: Verizon, AT&T call off data partnerships after pressure | Tech speaks out against Trump family separation policy | T-Mobile, Sprint make case for B merger AT&T, Verizon say they'll stop sharing location data with third-party brokers The Memo: Child separation crisis risks ‘Katrina moment’ for Trump MORE (D-Ore.) are co-sponsoring the bill.