Committee on Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton

COMBATING OPIOIDS: “Help is on the Way.”

2016/07/26

Building upon the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordofSuccess, President Obama late last week signed sweeping legislation to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. The legislation includes over a dozen bills passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) chaired the House and Senate conference meeting that finalized the comprehensive opioid package. Following the bill’s signing, Upton commented, “For folks suffering in Michigan and across America who are desperate for relief, help is on the way.” The opioid epidemic has no boundaries - Michigan is enduring 10 times as many deaths today as there were 15 years ago, and the numbers continue to surge. [[{"fid":"1317","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"169","width":"145","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] July 25, 2016 Bipartisan Legislation Seeks to Fight Opioid Epidemic [[{"fid":"1318","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"228","width":"419","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Watch the report HERE [[{"fid":"1319","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"134","width":"234","class":"media-element file-full"}}]]   July 25, 2016 Upton Praises Signing of Opioid Legislation Legislation designed to reduce the number of deaths caused by opioid abuse has been signed into law by President Obama. The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act is designed to strengthen treatment options, treat infants born to addiction, and increase state prescription monitoring programs. The plan was championed by Congressman Fred Upton in the House, with Upton saying deaths as a result of opioids have become a national health crisis. The package was approved by both the Senate and House by a wide margin with bipartisan support. Congressman Upton says it’s a “thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides — one that zeros in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices, and works with law enforcement.” Read the story online HERE.   ### Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: Commonsense Policy to Export Liquid American Freedom Already Getting the Job Done

2016/07/26

As Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) says, the proof is in the pudding. And the benefits of lifting the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports are already unmistakable. The legislative effort that says #Yes2Energy was designed to lower prices at the pump, support job growth, and strengthen America’s national security and geopolitical influence. A recent report by the Conservative Reform Network points to record results. The first tankers loaded with liquid American freedom arrived in Europe in January, and already this year, American oil exports are on track to reach a 90-year high. Lifting the ban was a top priority for the Energy and Commerce Committee. Last year, the House passed H.R. 702, authored by Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), legislation to explicitly lift the export ban, and H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act, which contained provisions lifting the ban. The third time was the charm as the committee was finally successful in getting the effort across the finish line when language to lift the ban was included in the year-end budget deal that was signed into law late last year. [[{"fid":"1315","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"164","width":"265","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Policy Matters: U.S. Crude Oil Exports Set Records Last fall many conservatives made repeal of the 40-year-old crude oil export ban a policy priority. A number of conservative groups made the case for repeal, including the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity, and Freedom Works. Twenty conservative and free market organizations urged members of Congress to “support legislation that fully lifts the ban on crude oil exports.” Here at the Conservative Reform Network, we outlined how repealing the crude export ban could help encourage America’s energy revolution, create thousands of high-paying jobs, and lower gasoline prices for Americans. As part of the end-of-the-year omnibus spending bill, Speaker Ryan, Leader McConnell, and other leading Republicans successfully negotiated with the White House to include a full repeal of the ban. This was a significant achievement given that two months earlier President Obama had threatened to veto a bill repealing the ban on crude oil exports. … [[{"fid":"1316","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"367","width":"585","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Barrels of U.S. crude oil exports per day, in thousands Read the full article HERE.   Read More

Ride4Gabe 2016 to Commence July 29 - 2,200 Miles from Maine to Mobile

2016/07/26

Remember Gabe Griffin? The 11-year-old Duchenne patient and all-star advocate was on Capitol Hill in March barnstorming for 21st Century Cures. The inspiration for the #Hope4Gabe effort continues to work hard raising awareness for a disease that needs more attention, Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Weld for Birmingham reports on Ride4Gabe 2016, three cyclists who will commence riding July 29 for 11 days, 2,200 miles, across nine states to eradicate Duchenne. Weld highlights,  “One of the goals of Ride4Gabe is to urge people to ask their congressmen to pass a law called The 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but hasn’t been approved by the Senate.” As Ride4Gabe 2016 reports this week, “the team consisting of 3 cyclists, 7 support crew, 3 film crew, 2 SUVs, and 1 motorhome will start the journey from Houlton, Maine to Mobile, Alabama.” [[{"fid":"1314","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"268","width":"603","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Credit: Hope for Gabe Foundation One of the three cyclists riding for Gabe is Michael Staley, a one-time chief of staff for former Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Staley commented, “We believe that Gabe could be a part of the first generation of Duchenne patients to have a treatment that is approved to fundamentally change his life… We believe it is very reasonable that within his lifetime a drug will be available for him that will make his life a whole lot better. It is very sad because we are racing against time.” Weld for Birmingham also provided an update on Gabe’s condition, reporting, “While Gabe waits for a drug that could help him, his muscles keep deteriorating. He can’t climb up stairs anymore, and he is starting to have trouble getting up off the floor. He gets around his school in a motorized scooter.” GABE GRIFFIN CARAVAN TO STOP IN DC WEDNESDAY TO RALLY SUPPORT WITH DUCHENNE ADVOCATES: The caravan, including Gabe and a documentary crew, is set to drive from Alabama today with a stop scheduled tomorrow at the U.S. Capitol to join other Duchenne advocates to build upon the momentum for 21st Century Cures. Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy is rallying behind the Ride4Gabe team by activating PPMD’s grassroots network to connect riders with local Duchenne advocates in each state to raise Duchenne awareness and spread the message that “it is time for #CuresNow.” Pat Furlong, Founding President and CEO of PPMD, commented, “We are activating our powerful PPMD community so the Ride4Gabe team can join hands with as many Duchenne families as possible to send a clear message that patients are counting on Congress to pass the 21st Century Cures Act.” The cyclists plan to commence their journey from Maine this Friday, and average 200 miles each day as they make their way to Mobile, Alabama. Follow Ride4Gabe on Facebook here. To learn more about 21st Century Cures, click here.  [[{"fid":"1312","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"96","width":"183","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Riding for Gabe [[{"fid":"1313","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"229","width":"351","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Three Cyclists Plan a Cross-Country Trip to Raise Money for a Cure for Local Boy and Others Suffering from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Michael Staley wakes up at 3:30 a.m., rides a bike for four hours, then puts on a suit and goes to his consultant job at a Regions Bank building in Birmingham as if it was just any other day. A little later the same day, Gabe Griffin tries his new motorized scooter in the school hallways. He is going to start middle school this year and he is excited. Both of them, each in his own way, are getting ready for the Ride4Gabe, where Staley will be doing a 2,200 mile cross-country tour with two other cyclists to raise funds and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. With his red hair, blue eyes and freckles, 11-year-old Gabe has become a symbol for this fight. He is the face and namesake of Hope for Gabe, a foundation that fights so that kids like Gabe who have Duchenne will have a cure in time. Duchenne is a fatal genetic disorder that results in muscle degeneration. At the moment it  doesn’t have an effective treatment. According to Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, it is the most common fatal genetic disorder diagnosed in childhood. It affects approximately one in every 3,500 male births, with about 20,000 new cases every year worldwide. The loss of muscle mass causes patients to be in a wheelchair in their early teenage years and to die in their 20s or 30s as a result of cardiac or respiratory failure. Gabe was three years old when he was diagnosed with Duchenne. “We kind of knew something wasn’t right,” his father Scott Griffin explained. “He has a twin sister and he wasn’t developing as fast as she was. Our next-door neighbor, who is an occupational therapist, was babysitting him one day and noticed how he got up from the floor. He was doing this thing called the Gower’s maneuver, which people with Duchenne do.” Gabe’s parents hadn’t heard of Duchenne until that moment. When they looked it up on the internet, what they found left them shattered. “We couldn’t believe it,” Griffin recalled. “These kids typically are on a wheelchair between the ages of 10 and 12, and potentially lose their life between 17 and 22 years old. It’s 100 percent fatal.” Their worst fears were confirmed by their doctor. Griffin clearly remembers the day they got the phone call, because it changed their lives forever. “I knew the moment she said hello. I knew he had it,” he said. … One of the goals of Ride4Gabe is to urge people to ask their congressmen to pass a law called The 21st Century Cures Act, which was passed by the House of Representatives but hasn’t been approved by the Senate. According to Staley, that law would help Gabe and people with other genetic conditions. They are especially interested in two provisions that would allow the following: first, that the FDA would rely on data from previously approved drugs for future approvals (for instance, evidence to approve a drug could be based on case histories instead of new clinical trials), and second, that the patients’ perspectives would be included in the drug approval process. Those who love Gabe are optimistic, including Staley. “We believe that Gabe could be a part of the first generation of Duchenne patients to have a treatment that is approved to fundamentally change his life,” Staley said. “We believe it is very reasonable that within his lifetime a drug will be available for him that will make his life a whole lot better. It is very sad because we are racing against time. While Gabe waits for a drug that could help him, his muscles keep deteriorating. He can’t climb up stairs anymore, and he is starting to have trouble getting up off the floor. He gets around his school in a motorized scooter. These things aside, he lives a normal life. However, the emotional side of the illness is more difficult, his father says. “There’s so many things he can’t do, and he just wants to be a normal little boy. He watches his brothers play all these sports and he wants to know why he can’t do it. “And I don’t have a good answer for him. I can say that he has Duchenne but I don’t think he gets the whole picture yet. I think he is smarter than I give him credit for, and he has probably Googled some things, but I don’t think he knows… “I dread the day… Every parent should dread the day that they have to tell their child that they’re going to die.” Staley has been a huge support for the family. “I can’t put it into words,” Griffin said. “He is more than a friend. He is family.” … This year’s Ride4Gabe will cover about the same distance as the Tour de France, 2,200 miles, from Maine to Mobile. Staley and his two fellow cyclists, Wes Bates and Payne Griffin, will be riding 200 miles per day for 11 straight days. They will travel with a documentary film crew and Gabe and his father themselves. The plan is to meet all the political figures they can while en route, as well as other families with Duchenne. The ride will arrive in Birmingham on Sunday, August 7, and cyclists are welcome to join as long as they can keep up the pace. … Like Staley, Gabe’s dad has decided that, instead of burying his head in the sand, he will go out, talk about it and try to make a difference, no matter how hard it gets.   “As a parent, you should never, ever, ever, have to bury your child,” Griffin said. “And I pray that day doesn’t come. As a dad, my job is to make everything better. When the kid falls down and hurts his knee, it is my job to put a Band-Aid on it. Just to… make it better. And I can’t make this better. I can fight, and I will, but I can’t personally put a Band-Aid on this. “But by the same token, I am a parent, and it is my job to jump in front of a moving train for my child. Duchenne is that moving train and I am going to jump in front of it every chance I get to try to save him.” Read the full story online HERE. Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: Sweeping Bipartisan Opioid Package Now Law

2016/07/23

WASHINGTON, DC – Building upon the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordofSuccess, President Obama today signed sweeping legislation to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. The legislation includes over a dozen bills passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) chaired the House and Senate conference meeting that finalized the comprehensive opioid package. Earlier this month the House voted 407 to 5 and the Senate voted 92 to 2 in support of the consensus bill. “In the face of a surging crisis, we came together and got the job done,” said Chairman Upton. “We have a thoughtful solution that attacks the opioid epidemic from all sides – one that zeros in on treatment for addiction and overdoses, reforms prescribing practices, and works with law enforcement. For folks suffering in Michigan and across America who are desperate for relief, help is on the way.”  For more information on the conference report, click here. ###  Read More

GOTTLIEB: “Regulators made the barriers higher, not lower”

2016/07/22

Momentum continues to build in the effort to deliver #CuresNow. The 21st Century Cures Act delivers a one-two punch of increased resources and sensible regulatory reforms to accelerate the discovery, development and delivery of safe and effective cures and treatments. Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a health care policy expert and former FDA official, writes on the importance of pursuing regulatory reforms at the FDA in Massachusetts’ South Coast Today. He writes, “The issue of whether drugs for rare and deadly diseases should face a more efficient path to patients is a constant tension. New legislation now before Congress would implement a series of measures to make the development and regulatory review of drugs for ultra rare conditions like these enzyme diseases more efficient.”
 He talks about how despite promising progress and advancement over a decades by researchers in treating a rare disease affecting children, “regulators made the barriers higher, not lower.” He continued, “As we improve our scientific understanding of rare diseases, and our ability to target their molecular origin, we’ll have more opportunities to treat and even cure the rarest disorders — but only if policymakers allow us to realize these openings.” To learn more about H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, click here. [[{"fid":"1311","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"53","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] July 22, 2016 Act prods bureaucratic FDA into taking actions
 By Scott Gottlieb
 There’s a group of rare diseases in which babies are born missing one of 11 different enzymes our bodies use to break down fatty sugars in our blood. Absent these enzymes, fat molecules accumulate in critical organs like the heart and liver, often claiming the lives of those afflicted while they are still children. When the first drug to target one of these diseases came along in 1991 — a medicine called Ceredase, which was used to treat Gaucher’s disease — regulators approved the new enzyme replacement on the basis of a small and short trial. The drug was tested on just 13 children and showed it could effectively, and importantly, shrink livers. Regulators at the Food and Drug Administration figured that if the drug was reducing the size of diseased livers, it was also clearing away accumulated fat molecules. With the rarity of these diseases, performing larger trials is hard, if not impossible. Fast-forward a decade and scientists had created similar enzyme replacements for several of the other diseases in this same family of disorders. Yet each time a new and distinct drug was created for one of these slightly different deficiencies, regulators made the barriers higher, not lower, even though we were learning a whole lot more about how enzyme drugs worked to treat these conditions. So when a drug came along in 2006 for another enzyme disease called Hunter’s syndrome, regulators required the largest trial ever for one of these conditions.   It enrolled about 100 children and required the kids to be randomly assigned to get the experimental drug, or an inert placebo, for 52 weekly infusions. The FDA no longer trusted its ability to measure such a drug’s benefit by evaluating its impact on a “surrogate” marker for benefit, like the ability to shrink swollen organs. This time, the FDA required scientists to test the children’s ability to walk and breath. Needless to say, the drug proved highly effective. As for the kids who were obligated to the placebo arm, many were permanently disabled at the trial’s end. The issue of whether drugs for rare and deadly diseases should face a more efficient path to patients is a constant tension.
 New legislation now before Congress would implement a series of measures to make the development and regulatory review of drugs for ultra rare conditions like these enzyme diseases more efficient.
 Among the measures offered by the 21st Century Cures Act is a path for incorporating wider use of “surrogate” measures. These are interim endpoints that can be used to more quickly gauge a medicine’s benefit, such as measuring its ability to shrink a patient’s liver rather than having to wait for kids to accrue enough disability to see if a drug can help them walk or breath better. The legislation also nudges FDA to make wider use of “adaptive” trials that let regulators get earlier answers about a drug’s benefits while testing it on smaller groups of patients. Some think the FDA is risk-averse primarily out of concerns of drug safety. But when it comes to medicines that target rare diseases, it’s rarely a question of safety that hangs up the FDA’s decision to approve a new drug. Instead, it’s almost always a question of drug efficacy. Getting more statistical certainty means enrolling more patients, for longer periods of time, in order to goose the mathematical precision of the results. But in dealing with rare diseases, longer and larger clinical trials come at a big human cost. As we improve our scientific understanding of rare diseases, and our ability to target their molecular origin, we’ll have more opportunities to treat and even cure the rarest disorders — but only if policymakers allow us to realize these openings. Read the column online HERE. ### Read More

MOVING THE NEEDLE: Upton Welcomes NHTSA Release of Documentation Related to Vehicle Safety Systems

2016/07/22

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today applauded the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) decision to release documentation for the Vehicle-to-Vehicle Public Key Infrastructure (V2V PKI) initiative proposed by the agency. The documentation was published in the Federal Register on Thursday following the committee’s urging that the information be made public. “We applaud NHTSA’s decision to release this documentation – the information will go a long way in improving roadway infrastructure and highway safety,” said Upton. “It’s important that we give the experts and the public the opportunity to study the documentation and provide feedback to improve the V2V PKI and boost overall confidence in the system. This is a win for consumers, and we are glad we helped move the needle toward greater transparency.” To read the documentation released by NHTSA, click here. ###  Read More

“There’s Hope” - #CuresNow Critical for Brain Research

2016/07/21

The effort to deliver #CuresNow invests in 21st century science and technology to quicken the discovery and development of important research, and accelerate the development of safe and effective drugs for rare diseases. Boosting research is critical, especially when it comes to the brain and neuroscience. Hollis Cline, president of the Society for Neuroscience, and Hahn Professor of Neuroscience at The Scripps Research Institute, writes about the importance of supporting research in The San Diego Union Tribune. Cline writes, “With sustained support, future discoveries in neuroscience will transform our understanding of the brain — and help us race to solve long-term problems like autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness.” Cline continues, “That leadership not only improves and saves millions of lives worldwide, but also generates significant domestic economic activity and spurs scientific innovation. … Public funding of long-term research is the proven path that will translate into treatments and cures for myriad neurological and psychological disorders that afflict millions of American families. There’s hope. New discoveries in physics, chemistry, biology and engineering are powering the latest revolution in brain research.” To learn more about H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, click here. [[{"fid":"1307","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"107","width":"505","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] July 20, 2016 COMMENTARY: Brain research funding: U.S. must keep momentum going By Hollis Cline          It may not surprise you that the mysterious three-pound mass of tissue found in our heads is the least understood of all the human organs. At the same time, what the global brain research community is discovering about the brain is nothing short of astonishing, and we are poised to make discoveries that will help us one day better understand and treat hundreds of debilitating diseases. Building on strong support in Washington over the last two years, America has the power to keep this momentum going. In a time of great disagreement, Congress took strong bipartisan action at the end of 2015 to infuse the National Institutes of Health (NIH) with an additional $2 billion to support research, the largest increase in more than a decade. This funding boost halted a downward trend in research funding and is a crucial step toward making up for the enduring effects of years of chronic underfunding. Earlier this summer, a bipartisan group of policymakers again demonstrated sustained support for the importance of scientific discovery when the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a bill that would increase the FY17 NIH budget by $2 billion to $34 billion. Last week, the House Appropriations Committee passed its bill, though less robust, to expand funding for NIH in the next fiscal year. The public greatly needs investment in biomedical research to continue, and we urge both chambers to come together to ensure that investment in NIH advances. Investments made through agencies such as the NIH and National Science Foundation (NSF) drive knowledge and fuel innovation in the neuroscience community. Neuroscience, the study of the brain and nervous system, needs consistent and predictable public funding of basic research to unlock the brain’s complex secrets and advance medical progress that ultimately will lead to a better human condition. By its nature, basic science is curiosity-driven, has unpredictable outcomes and ultimately lays the foundation for every new medicine that appears on the shelves of our local pharmacies. NIH and NSF investments in basic neuroscience research have had — and continue to have — widespread impact on our nation, society and on all of us as individuals. The U.S. has long been a leader in biomedical research. That leadership not only improves and saves millions of lives worldwide, but also generates significant domestic economic activity and spurs scientific innovation. Neurological illnesses and mental disorders affect an estimated 1 billion people throughout the world and cost the U.S. more than $760 billion a year. More than 44 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, and that number is expected to increase dramatically in coming decades. Public funding of long-term research is the proven path that will translate into treatments and cures for myriad neurological and psychological disorders that afflict millions of American families. There’s hope. New discoveries in physics, chemistry, biology and engineering are powering the latest revolution in brain research. … With sustained support, future discoveries in neuroscience will transform our understanding of the brain — and help us race to solve long-term problems like autism, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness. Read the entire column online HERE. Read More

“FinTech is the Future” – Kinzinger & Cárdenas Encourage Innovation at Intersection of Financial and Technology Industries

2016/07/20

WASHINGTON, DC – As part of the ongoing effort to boost jobs and innovation, House Energy and Commerce Committee members Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) recently introduced H. Res. 835, a bipartisan resolution urging the U.S. to “adopt a national policy for technology to promote consumers’ access to financial tools and online commerce to promote economic growth and consumer empowerment.” Financial Technology, or FinTech, is an economic industry that is changing the way consumers interact with their finances and engage in commerce. “We have experienced a sea change over the last decade, with the explosion of mobile devices opening a whole new world of digital possibilities for consumers. The intersection of the financial and technology industries – a.k.a. FinTech - is an area that has quickly evolved as consumers have demonstrated an eagerness to more efficiently manage their finances and take control of their financial well-being. With the tap of a finger on their smartphone, consumer engagement has skyrocketed,” said Reps. Kinzinger and Cárdenas. They continued, “As the U.S. is a global leader in both technology and financial services, we must be proactive in harnessing the FinTech revolution and leverage this technology as an opportunity to empower consumers, promote financial literacy, foster economic growth, and forge new markets. This bipartisan resolution is an important step forward, as we acknowledge a collective need to encourage development within the FinTech industry. It’s time Congress supported the world of FinTech by leveraging current technology to improve consumers’ access and engagement in commerce. FinTech is the future.” Over the past year, the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee has held a number of hearings as part of its Disrupter Series, which has provided an opportunity to examine how federal policies help and hinder economic growth of emerging technologies. This resolution is built upon previous Disrupter Series discussions on topics like the sharing economy, mobile payments, and digital currency and blockchain technology. Read H. Res. 835 HERE.  Read More

UPTON: We Need #CuresNow for Kids Like Trinity

2016/07/20

[[{"fid":"1309","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"style":"width: 350px; height: 290px;","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Chairman Upton joins Jason, Hope, and Trinity Teeters last weekend for a “Transportation for Trinity” event aimed at raising awareness for the teenager’s fight against rare disease.  Meet Trinity Teeters, an exceptional teenager from Chairman Fred Upton’s district in Berrien Springs, Michigan, who was born with an ultra rare disease. Her syndrome is called Tibial aplasia, lower extremity mirror image polydactyly, brachyphalangy, craniofacial dysmorphism and genital hypoplasia: further delineation and mutational analysis. Before she was born, doctors recommended to Trinity’s parents Hope and Jason that the pregnancy should be terminated, stating that their unborn daughter “would not be compatible with life.” Trinity’s joints do not work in her hands and wrists, and also has endured sight and hearing problems. She has also had both legs amputated due to her condition. But despite her physical challenges, Trinity has excelled. She’s a budding artist, was an honor roll student her freshman year at Berrien Springs High School, is a member of the choir, and looks forward to studying biology and immunogenetics in college. And according to Trinity’s dad, she’s not one for complaining. He tells WNDU NBC 16, "You can either be bummed out about it or you can choose to accept it and deal with it, and that's exactly what Trinity had done. Very proud, very proud parents." Chairman Upton commented, “Trinity’s extraordinary spirit in the face adversity is incredibly inspiring. She’s a fighter, and we are fighting for her. We need #CuresNow to help kids like Trinity.” [[{"fid":"1305","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"175","width":"202","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1306","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"338","width":"620","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Watch Trinity’s inspiring story HERE Read More

Olson Shines a Light on Auto Safety and Getting Defective Vehicles off the Road

2016/07/20

To prevent another tragic death from a faulty Takata airbag, Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX) took to the Houston Chronicle to alert constituents to the importance of automobile safety as it relates to the largest automobile recall in U.S. history – the Takata airbag recall. The Energy and Commerce Committee has jurisdiction over the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Rep. Olson writes, “as the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history, NHTSA, manufacturers and many of us in Congress, have committed to seek a 100 percent recall-completion rate. … In an attempt to improve recall-completion rates, Congress included a provision in the recently passed highway bill to initiate a pilot program where automobile manufacturers will work with states to notify consumers if their car has a recall at the time of vehicle registration.” Rep. Olson also encouraged vehicle owners to check to see if their vehicle is under recall by visiting www.safercar.gov and entering their vehicle identification number. Olson concludes, “It is important to check and act if your vehicle has an open recall. The life you save could be your own. … Working together, we must increase awareness of the importance of completing recalls to save lives.” [[{"fid":"1303","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"87","width":"465","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Auto recalls need more urgent attention By: Rep. Pete Olson Automobile safety is a critical issue, given the high volume of cars on American roads. Most recently, flawed airbags manufactured by Takata have tragically led to 10 deaths and more than 100 injuries in the United States alone. These flawed airbags have resulted in the largest automobile recall in U.S. history. This historic recall has affected roughly 60 million cars in the U.S. This safety defect hit home recently when Huma Hanif, a 17-year-old girl from Richmond, lost her life in an otherwise survivable crash because of a defective airbag. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the federal agency that oversees and regulates automobile recalls. Recalls are then performed by individual automobile manufacturers. One of the key functions of NHTSA and Congress is oversight of the automobile recall process. As we know, despite strong efforts by auto manufacturers, the Takata airbag recall process sits at only a 35 percent completion rate. As the largest and most complex safety recall in U.S. history, NHTSA, manufacturers and many of us in Congress, have committed to seek a 100 percent recall-completion rate. The sheer volume of airbags under recall makes it impossible to replace every airbag immediately. That's why NHTSA has prioritized recalls through a Coordinated Remedy Program by geographic zones based on the risk of injury or death to vehicle occupants. The recall zones are based on temperature and humidity, which seems to play a role in these fatal defects. Thanks to our Gulf Coast humidity, Houston is in Zone A, the top-priority zone for airbag recalls. Yet according to NHTSA, the percentage of Houston-area vehicle owners responding to the airbag recall is low. We must do better. In the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we have oversight jurisdiction of NHTSA and the auto industry. We recently held an oversight hearing with NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind and auto industry and safety advocates to review auto-safety measures in place, including recalls. The recall process is complex; automobile manufacturers must track down every owner to alert them if their vehicle is under a recall. The older a vehicle is, the harder it can be to track down an owner, particularly if the car has been bought and sold multiple times. Vehicle manufacturers can voluntarily issue recalls, or NHTSA can order one. Most car recalls are termed "voluntary" manufacturer recalls, but many are triggered through NHTSA based on an investigation of consumer complaints. Federal law requires manufacturers to notify all registered owners and purchasers of the affected vehicles via registered mail. In an attempt to improve recall-completion rates, Congress included a provision in the recently passed highway bill to initiate a pilot program where automobile manufacturers will work with states to notify consumers if their car has a recall at the time of vehicle registration. This is a good first step, but more can be done. Many vehicle owners are not aware that they can check to see if their vehicle is under recall by simply visiting www.safercar.gov. Simply enter the vehicle identification number (VIN), and it identifies any open recalls that vehicle may have. Any vehicle with an open recall should be taken to the manufacturer or dealer to replace the defect as soon as possible. There is no cost to the vehicle owner to get a defect under recall fixed. It's important to check and act if your vehicle has an open recall. The life you save could be your own. Working together, we must increase awareness of the importance of completing recalls to save lives. I will continue every effort to raise awareness and work to keep people like Huma safe in their cars. Read the full column online HERE. Read More

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