WASHINGTON, DC – Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Lee Terry (R-NE) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) today called for the protection of cross-border data flows in trade agreements to ensure the continued growth of e-commerce. Terry’s subcommittee recently held a hearing highlighting the importance of cross-border data flows to the global economy and the harmful impacts of restrictive and protectionist data policies. Terry and Welch wrote to Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urging negotiators of ongoing trade agreements to steadfastly support the free flow of data across international borders.
The members wrote, “In particular, with TPP chief negotiators set to meet in Australia this weekend and with meetings for the other trade agreements ongoing, this is a critical time for the U.S. to stand firm. Trade agreements must acknowledge and support the growth of international trade through e-commerce, and cross-border data flows are the backbone of this growth. We urge you to secure enforceable commitments to free and open cross-border data flows around the world, for the sake of U.S. businesses and for a prosperous global economy.”
For a full copy of the letter, click HERE.
Terry and Welch also authored an op-ed published today on CNBC with the same message, asserting, “Every area of U.S. business is impacted and, in today’s global economy, restrictions anywhere in the world can cost jobs in Omaha, Burlington, or any other community. The approaching negotiations present an opportunity for our nation to defend e-commerce as we know it and ensure continued economic growth fueled by the free flow of commercial data around the world.”
October 24, 2014
US needs to defend e-commerce as we know it
By Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)
We live in an age where a savvy entrepreneur in Burlington or Omaha can create good jobs at a good profit by marketing a new idea or product through the Internet to a worldwide audience. Through an uninhibited flow of data, the Internet has truly empowered small and large businesses alike to fully participate in the global economy.
But what if this worldwide exchange of data was disrupted due to protectionist trade policies of foreign governments? What would happen to those small businesses in Vermont and Nebraska that created a profitable business and good jobs by marketing and selling through the Internet? Unfortunately, these are not academic questions.
Several countries, including Brazil, China, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Turkey, and Vietnam, have already enacted or are considering policies that would limit the flow of Internet traffic in and out of their borders. Some of these efforts are regulatory and require a company to jump through onerous hoops before sending data overseas. Other policies are more protectionist and would require companies to build facilities within a country's borders, changing the basic flow of the Internet.
Proponents believe such a requirement would create jobs in that country but this logic is faulty in more ways than one. The Internet is a two-way network and raising costs harms all parties by severely restricting its efficiencies and reach. A recent International Trade Commission report estimated that our GDP could increase from $16.7 billion to $41.4 billion if barriers to digital trade were removed. This is the type of job-creating economic growth we cannot afford to ignore.
The implications for American businesses, big and small, are enormous.
Data over the Internet fuels basic business functions such as tracking goods through the supply chain, internal company emails, and international personnel management. Businesses are able to harness economies of scale and consumers benefit from the efficiencies created by cross-border data flows. And these advantages are particularly beneficial to small businesses, reducing costs and granting access to larger markets. Forced localization and other data flow restrictions impose a real cost that would be passed on to the consumer.
Each year, over $8 trillion in international commerce is conducted over the Internet. Companies of all sizes, not just the Googles and PayPals of the marketplace, spend $2 trillion annually on information technologies. One report estimates that 75 percent of e-commerce benefits traditional industries.
We should be clear that we are focused only on removing barriers to the commercial use of data. Very legitimate concerns have been raised about privacy and the protection of personal data, including when governments can access that data. Those are legitimate issues that must be promptly addressed.
But in the context of trade agreements, commercial data cannot stop at borders without seriously stunting the potential of the Internet to create jobs and grow our economy.
This weekend in Sydney, at a meeting of negotiators on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, there will be an opportunity for the United States government to take a strong stand in support of the free flow of data across borders. Other upcoming forums to plant this flag include negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, Trade in Services Agreement, and United States-European Union Safe Harbor.
In all these meetings, American trade representatives must be full-throated in their support of the commercial benefits of cross-border data flows.
We are calling on them to be firm in requiring commitments to cross-border data flows and ensuring strong enforcement mechanisms. Every area of U.S. business is impacted and, in today's global economy, restrictions anywhere in the world can cost jobs in Omaha, Burlington, or any other community. The approaching negotiations present an opportunity for our nation to defend e-commerce as we know it and ensure continued economic growth fueled by the free flow of commercial data around the world.
Commentary by Reps. Lee Terry and Peter Welch. Terry represents Nebraska's 2nd District and is chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade. Follow him on Twitter @LeeTerryNE. Welch represents Vermont's at-large Congressional District and sits on the Energy and Commerce and the Oversight and Government Reform committees. Follow him on Twitter @PeterWelch.
Read the article online HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) issued the following statement regarding the latest confirmed case of Ebola in the United States, a doctor in New York who recently returned from Guinea where he had treated patients for Doctors Without Borders. A group of Republican committee members yesterday sent a letter to President Obama, Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson seeking a detailed plan to address the ongoing Ebola crisis, prevent further spread of the virus, and ensure the United States public health system is capable of identifying and treating patients.
“As long as Ebola continues to ravage West Africa, the threat remains that it could spread to the United States and other countries around the world. This is precisely why so many members of Congress are pressing the administration for a clear strategy as well as any and all appropriate travel restrictions to address this crisis and protect the public health,” said Upton. “With a disease as deadly as Ebola, we cannot afford to be reactive, developing plans ‘on the fly.’ As we have said, there is no room for error with this virus and we stand ready to work with the administration to finally get ahead of this situation. No one wants an ‘I told you so moment.’ This latest case underscores the sacrifices made by many health care workers on the front lines – valiantly trying to stop its spread in Africa as well as those caring for patients on our shores.”
Energy and Commerce Committee leaders first sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking details on the administration’s preparedness and response efforts on September 12, 2014. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing last week in which they pressed for information and called for a clear and effective strategy.
WASHINGTON, DC – Twenty-eight Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a letter to President Obama, Ebola Response Coordinator Ron Klain, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson seeking further answers on the administration’s response and preparedness efforts to treat those with Ebola, prevent any further spread in the United States, and stop the spread of the virus at its source in West Africa. The members write, “with a series of questions and recommendations to ensure that the U.S. response to the risks posed by the Ebola outbreak in West Africa is as effective as possible in protecting the public health and safety of the American people. Congress stands ready to serve as a strong and solid partner in solving this crisis.”
Committee members requested more information about the administration’s plan to prevent the spread of Ebola in the United States, rationale behind its opposition to travel restrictions, efforts to improve the development of diagnostic testing and screening, and the capacity of the U.S. public health system to identify and treat patients with Ebola. Read the complete letter online here.
“Energy and Commerce Committee members have serious concerns about insufficient planning and preparedness from the administration in response to the ongoing Ebola threat. In an effort to provide some peace of mind to the American people, we continue to ask the administration to outline a clear strategy and work with us to ensure that every step necessary is being taken to protect the public health. With a disease as deadly as Ebola, there is no margin for error,” commented full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
Energy and Commerce Committee leaders first sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell seeking details on the administration’s preparedness and response efforts on September 12, 2014. The Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee held a hearing last week, which left members with additional questions about the status of a clear and effective strategy to address the threat of Ebola in both the United States and Africa.
The letter was signed by:
Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI)
Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA)
Full Committee Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX)
Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA)
Full Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Vice Chairman of the Health and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittees Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX)
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)
Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL)
Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR)
Rep. Lee Terry (R-NE)
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI)
Rep. Phil Gingrey, M.D. (R-GA)
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)
Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH)
Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA)
Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS)
Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ)
Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)
Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX)
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV)
Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)
Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS)
Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA)
Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL)
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH)
Rep. Billy Long (R-MO)
Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC)
Read the complete letter online here.
Griffith: Cures is an effort “where we can agree we can make the system better.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The 21st Century Cures initiative continued yesterday in Blacksburg, Virginia, as committee member Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), held a roundtable discussion to gather input from health care experts in Southwest Virginia.
“Two members of Congress brainstormed Wednesday with a dozen medical minds on finding cures — both for sick patients and the sometimes broken health care system that treats them,” the Roanoke Times reports. Griffith explained to the paper that the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative represents an area “where we can agree we can make the system better.”
A local NBC affiliate, WSLS News, reports, “There are a lot of topics where members of Congress cannot agree, but one is bringing both Democrats and Republicans together. Congressman Morgan Griffith is leading a group of medical experts from across the commonwealth in a discussion to find cures quicker…making lives better is where Congress can agree.”
Members continue to bring the effort across the country. Today, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) is hosting a roundtable in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, to focus on the perspectives of patient advocates and families.
October 22, 2014
Rep. Griffith hosts Blacksburg forum to improve health care
BLACKSBURG — Two members of Congress brainstormed Wednesday with a dozen medical minds on finding cures — both for sick patients and the sometimes broken health care system that treats them.
The roundtable discussion was hosted by U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith, who as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is involved in the 21st Century Cures, an initiative that seeks to prevent medical breakthroughs from being slowed down by the regulatory process. …
The goal is to hear from doctors, health care administrators, researchers, biomedical experts and other specialists and then take their ideas back to Washington to craft new laws.
While health care debates in Washington are often driven by a political divide over the Affordable Care Act, the bipartisan 21st Century Cures represents an area “where we can agree we can make the system better,” Griffith said.
The two-hour discussion between the two Congressmen and 12 panelists went beyond the FDA approval process to cover a variety of topics: the need for health care providers to better share information about their patients; concerns about gaps in Medicare funding for telemedicine; problems with the patent process; and how to best balance the latest innovations with the more low-tech practice of encouraging patients to eat well, stop smoking and exercise more. …
Read the full article online here.
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) yesterday announced the committee would be taking a close look at the increasing number of recalls for defective airbags made by the auto supplier Takata. The committee has requested a briefing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, who this week issued warnings to drivers about the potential danger of the defect.
The Takata recalls are just the latest auto safety issue to be tackled by the committee. Chairman Upton has long been a leader on vehicle safety issues and was the author of the TREAD Act, which enhanced communication between auto manufacturers and regulators and increased NHTSA’s ability to collect and analyze information about safety defects. The committee this year has been conducting an extensive investigation into the General Motors ignition switch recall, and recently released a report detailing NHTSA’s failures in identifying the deadly problem. The investigation found NHTSA failed to act on evidence identifying the defect and lacked a technical understanding of advanced vehicle safety systems.
October 22, 2014
House committee asks for briefing on air bag recalls
The House Energy and Commerce Committee said Wednesday it wants to be briefed by the agency that regulates the automotive industry about the expanding number of air bag recalls involving auto supplier Takata.
The committee has requested a briefing from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on "the status of the Takata recalls and the agency's investigation."
This week, NHTSA has issued bulletins urging consumers with 7.8 million cars that have been recalled for air bags made by Takata to get their cars fixed as quickly as possible. …
NHTSA did not say why it only now is raising an alarm about the imminent danger of the bags, some of which have been on the roads since 2000, and which began being recalled by automakers in 2008.
NHTSA said the latest total could include some double-counted models and might change again.
"Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence," House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, said in a statement. "We also need to take a close look at this air bag issue and the time line and scope of the recalls to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families."
Automakers that have recalled vehicles with air bags made by Takata include BMW, Chrysler, Ford, GM, Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Subaru and Toyota.
GM said Wednesday it expanded a 2013 Takata air bag recall of Toyota-made Pontiac Vibes by about 9,900, to include 2005 models and some 2003s, and is sending overnight letters telling owners not to use the front passenger's seat until the bags are replaced.
Takata is among the world's largest suppliers of air bags and seat belts to the automotive industry.
Read the full article online HERE.
October 22, 2014
Honda Air-Bag Deaths Draw Congress Query as Recalls Widen
The congressional investigators who dug into fatal defects in General Motors Co. (GM:US) and Toyota Motor Corp. cars are now asking U.S. safety regulators to brief them about potentially deadly air bags.
Staff from the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Michigan Republican Fred Upton, said yesterday that they had requested an explanation from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about recalls of Takata Corp. air bags linked to four deaths in Honda Motor Co. cars.
That came a day after U.S. regulators expanded the number of vehicles they said were vulnerable by 3 million, to 7.8 million, and GM joined Toyota in warning people not to sit in front passenger seats. While NHTSA is urging people to be cautious, its website for checking your car’s status has been overwhelmed by heavy traffic. …
Congressional scrutiny adds to the pressure on Takata and on automakers such as Nissan Motor Co., GM and Toyota as recalls increase for air bags that can inflate with excessive force, sending metal fragments into vehicle occupants and causing death and serious injury. Honda alone has recalled 6 million vehicles globally since 2008 because of the flaw.
“Air bags were designed to improve safety and help save lives, which is why it’s so disconcerting to hear reports of this lifesaving tool posing a potential hazard to drivers,” Upton said yesterday in a statement. “Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence.”
Read the full article online HERE.
October 22, 2014
Takata Airbag Recall Faces Rising Scrutiny
Capitol Hill increased pressure on the Japanese auto supplier Takata and federal safety regulators on Wednesday as two senators demanded wider recalls to fix millions of defective airbags and a House committee said it wanted a fuller accounting of how the recalls were handled. …
Separately on Wednesday, Representative Fred Upton, chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said he would ask government regulators to explain their handling of the Takata airbag recalls “to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families.”
The committee would “take a close look at this airbag issue and the timeline and scope of the recalls,” Mr. Upton said in a statement.
The committee, which previously led an aggressive investigation of General Motors over faulty ignition switches, and of Toyota over reports of unintended acceleration several years ago, has requested an initial briefing from the safety agency, according to a committee spokeswoman, Charlotte Baker.
Senator Claire McCaskill, the Missouri Democrat who heads a Senate subcommittee on consumer protection, has requested a similar briefing. She has asked automakers, including Honda, for information about Takata as well. Ms. McCaskill has led several hearings this year on the ignition switch defect at G.M. and the role of the auto safety regulators in rooting out dangerous defects.
Worldwide, more than 14 million vehicles with the defective airbags — including 11.6 million in the United States — from 11 automakers have been recalled since 2008. Takata was alerted to the problem as early as 2004, when the airbag in a 2002 Honda Accord ruptured in Alabama, but neither Tanaka nor Honda issued a recall or sought the involvement of federal safety regulators, a New York Times investigation has shown.
Read the full article online HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today responded to the expanded recall of vehicles equipped with faulty Takata air bag inflators and warnings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration this week urging drivers to get their cars fixed over concerns that air bag rupture could lead to severe injuries.
“The auto industry has made vast advancements in safety over the last decades – something to be commended – but as new safety features and technologies are developed, we are faced with new challenges. Airbags were designed to improve safety and help save lives, which is why it’s so disconcerting to hear reports of this life-saving tool posing a potential hazard to drivers. Recalls continue to mount across the country, and drivers are losing confidence. The first priority must be to ensure that all cars on the road are safe, and I urge drivers to heed NHTSA’s warnings and act immediately to get their vehicles fixed. We also need to take a close look at this airbag issue and the timeline and scope of the recalls to ensure that the appropriate steps are being taken to protect drivers and their families. I’ve long said that when it comes to vehicle safety, there can be no margin for error,” said Upton.
Drivers can visit SaferCar.gov to determine if their vehicle is affected by the airbag recalls. Committee staff has requested a briefing with NHTSA on the status of the Takata air bag recalls and will also be meeting with auto manufacturers to discuss supplier issues.
Chairman Upton has been a leader on vehicle safety issues and was the author of the TREAD Act, which enhanced communication between auto manufacturers and regulators and increased NHTSA’s ability to collect and analyze information about safety defects. The committee this year has been conducting an extensive investigation into the General Motors ignition switch recall, and recently released a report detailing NHTSA’s failures in identifying the deadly problem. The investigation found NHTSA failed to act on evidence identifying the defect and lacked a technical understanding of advanced vehicle safety systems.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Over the past several months, Energy and Commerce Committee members have brought the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative across the country. These local roundtables have strengthened the initiative as members continue to gather ideas from patients, researchers, and health care experts from each of their home districts.
Committee member Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), joined by Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), is hosting a roundtable in Blacksburg, Virginia, today. As Griffith noted, “This effort has been largely successful due to the opinions and ideas we've gathered from across the country. It is important that Virginia’s leading health officials have a seat at the table to help accelerate the cures process and improve cures in America."
Tomorrow, committee member Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) will take the conversation to Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with a roundtable with patient advocates and families. Participants will include NCATS National Institute of Health Deputy Director Dr. Pamela McInnes and Mylan Institutional President Matt Erick. The event will be held at Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center at 4:00 p.m. “I’m excited to bring this very important initiative to Pennsylvania,” Murphy said. “This effort is first and foremost about the patients, their valuable perspective, experiences, and input are a critical component to ensure the success of the 21st Century Cures effort.”
Learn more about the Virginia roundtable here.
Learn more about the Pennsylvania roundtable here.
Leading science magazine singles out Republicans and Democrats for “fighting for the advancement of science, technology, and the future of manufacturing in America”
WASHINGTON DC - Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) was recognized as one of 15 Members of Congress fighting for the advancement of science, technology, and the future of manufacturing in America. Popular Mechanics recognized Upton for his leadership in the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative that has been working to advance lifesaving medical treatments, research, and innovation in the United States. The magazine featured both Republican and Democratic leaders from the House and Senate.
The Energy and Commerce Committee has a proven #RecordofSuccess, particularly in its efforts to strengthen the public health. 21st Century Cures looks to build upon that momentum.
The 15 Most Innovation-Friendly Members of Congress
Despite the deadlock in D.C., there are still legislators fighting for the advancement of science, technology, and the future of manufacturing in America
Fred UptonRepublican, Michigan
What He's Working For: Science Research, Technology
As chair of the Energy and Commerce committee, the longtime congressman is leading the 21st Century Cures initiative along with Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., which seeks to overhaul how we approve and regulate new medical breakthroughs.
Bona Fides: Upton has made advancing healthcare a priority by putting his support behind a bill that seeks to revamp the regulations process of medical software.
Read the full article online here.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee members have taken the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative around the country with roundtables in Colorado, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, and North Carolina. The ongoing conversations have been instrumental in building support for the important effort. This week, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), along with Rep. Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN), will take the conversation to Virginia. Health leaders, innovators, and academics will join Griffith at the Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine in Blacksburg, Virginia, this Wednesday, October 22, 2014.
“I’m excited to bring the bipartisan 21st Century Cures initiative to Virginia,” said Griffith. “This effort has been largely successful due to the opinions and ideas we've gathered from across the country. It is important that Virginia’s leading health officials have a seat at the table to help accelerate the cures process and improve cures in America."
Participants will discuss many of the ideas the committee has heard over the past several months to accelerate the pace of cures in America, including improvements to drug and device approvals and clinical trials, as well as issues including telemedicine, mobile health apps, personalized medicine, medical research, funding, and more. Participants will include:
Dr. Bob MeyerUniversity of Virginia Health System
Dr. Karen RheubanUniversity of Virginia Health System
Dr. Maciek SasinowskiHealth Diagnostic Laboratory
Jeff GallagherVirginia BIO
Dr. Dixie Tooke-RawlinsEdward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine
Dr. Rob GourdieVirginia Tech Carilion Research Institute
Dr. Stephen MorganCarilion
Dr. Josep Bassaganya-RieraBioTherapeutics Inc.
Dr. John DavisDavis Medical
Learn more about the Virginia roundtable here.
Whitfield: “This new study confirms what we already know: EPA’s power plan is unaffordable and unworkable…”
A new study by NERA Economic Consulting released this week calculates the costs and consequences of the Environmental Protection Agency’s carbon dioxide regulations for existing power plants, referred to by the agency as the “Clean Power Plan.” Among NERA’s findings:
NERA’s new analysis quantifying the potential impacts of EPA’s proposal on the affordability and reliability of electricity in the United States underscores concerns being raised by states and other stakeholders regarding the proposed rule. The Energy and Power Subcommittee has been conducting oversight of EPA’s plan, including a June 19, 2014, hearing with EPA, a July 29, 2014, hearing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and a September 9, 2014, hearing with state energy and environmental regulators. These hearings have highlighted that the administration’s Clean Power Plan proposal is unachievable for many states, and that nationwide, the rule would result in higher prices for consumers, reduced electric reliability, and would pose a serious threat to America’s economic competiveness.
“This new study confirms what we already know: EPA’s power plan is unaffordable and unworkable, and will devastate local communities and households struggling to keep the lights on. American consumers will be forced to pay a high price tag for a plan that will have no real effect on the climate,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “Instead of finding ways to make energy more expensive and less reliable, we should be working to improve energy affordability and access.”
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