WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today announced its hearing schedule for the week of April 20. Members will discuss legislative language to create a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce. The committee will also continue its review of the ongoing problem of prescription drug and opioid abuse.
On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will begin its work on legislation to advance the committee’s Architecture of Abundance energy plan. Members will review the 21st Century Workforce Title, which direct the Secretary of Energy to establish a comprehensive program to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs. The Majority Memorandum, complete witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
Also on Thursday, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will continue its review of prescription drug and heroin abuse. The subcommittee has been working to address this growing crisis for the last year. Academics and other experts will testify about the current treatment options and best practices for those suffering from addiction and abuse. The Majority Memorandum, complete witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
Thursday, April 23, 201510 AM2123 Rayburn HOBSubcommittee on Energy and PowerHearing on “Title II: 21st Century Workforce”
10:15 AM2322 Rayburn HOBSubcommittee on Oversight and InvestigationsHearing on “Combatting the Opioid Abuse Epidemic: Professional and Academic Perspectives”
Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) on Monday will head to Chairman Fred Upton’s district in Southwest Michigan to discuss their nonpartisan 21st Century Cures initiative. The two joined up last year to begin a yearlong listening session about the health care innovation infrastructure, touring the country, and gathering ideas for how to accelerate the pace of cures and treatments in America. As they begin in earnest the legislative phase for #Cures2015, Upton and DeGette will tour Southwest Michigan talking with patients, medical students, innovators, and other health care leaders about the hope that 21st Century Cures will deliver.
VIDEO: Watch Upton and DeGette announce their trip HERE.
April 17, 2015
A Push for Cures We Can All Get Behind
By Reps. Fred Upton and Diana DeGette
It's been a year since we launched our bipartisan 21st Century Cures conversation, and this Monday, we are bringing it home again to Michigan. The 21st Century Cures initiative is uniquely personal, nonpartisan and transparent and is working to deliver hope to patients and families in each of our home districts and across the country.
We began with a common goal: faster and better cures and treatments for patients. For too long, we have watched patients suffer from diseases without hope for being healed. We recognize the incredible promise of science and technology to solve the riddle of disease, and we know innovators, scientists, health care providers and regulators share our vision for more and better cures. To move from aspiration to action, we brought everyone to one table — key players from all areas of the cures framework — and engaged in an open and honest conversation about how we can do more for patients.
We have heard from folks all across the country and have spent the past several months translating those ideas into legislative text. We are working on policies to improve communication throughout the entire health-care innovation infrastructure and remove barriers between each phase in the discovery, development and delivery cycle. We are also working on ways to modernize clinical trials, ultimately lowering the cost and time it takes to get treatments to patients and keeping jobs here at home. The 21st Century Cures initiative will also provide additional resources for research, including at the National Institutes of Health.
One of the keys to 21st Century Cures' success has been the support and ideas from folks back home. A tour of the University of Michigan Medical School, and a roundtable discussion in Kalamazoo at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine last October, sparked a number of ideas for this initiative, including a discussion about the value and importance of increased data sharing among researchers, innovators, clinicians and patients while maintaining important patient safety protections. …
Read the complete piece online HERE.
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Combatting the Opioid Abuse Epidemic: Professional and Academic Perspectives.”
The subcommittee next week will continue its review of the growing and complex threat of prescription drug and heroin abuse. Subcommittee members will hear testimony from academics and other experts about treatment options currently available and best practices for those suffering from addiction and abuse. The subcommittee began its review of this threat last year, and last month the subcommittee held a hearing to understand the challenges of this problem at the state and local level.
“We are in the grips of an addiction epidemic that claims the lives of 120 Americans each day. In just over a decade, the number of prescription drug overdose deaths has increased nearly threefold and the number of heroin overdose deaths has increased nearly fivefold. It is nothing less than a public health crisis. As part of our ongoing series of hearings on turning the tide of addiction, we look forward to hearing from these frontline professionals on current treatment options as we strive towards a new paradigm of care to transform lives,” said Chairman Murphy.
The witness list is available online here. A Majority Memorandum and witness testimony will be available at the same link as they are posted.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, April 23, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing will examine legislative language to create a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce. Witnesses to be announced.
This workforce language will be included in the committee’s Architecture of Abundance energy legislation. The committee previously released a framework for this comprehensive effort that will address four key policy areas: modernizing infrastructure, a 21st century energy workforce, energy diplomacy for a changing world, and efficiency and accountability.
Title II, 21st Century Workforce, directs the Secretary of Energy to establish a comprehensive program to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs.
Legislative text will be made available prior to Thursday’s hearing. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
WASHINGTON, DC – The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing on a draft of the Targeting Rogue and Opaque Letters Act (TROL Act). The subcommittee is continuing its work from last Congress to craft legislation that protects businesses and consumers from abusive patent demand letters, while preserving the ability of patent holders to legitimately protect their intellectual property.
“Last year, the subcommittee held a series of negotiations resulting in the draft legislation before us today. Although the draft bill passed our subcommittee with bipartisan support, I believe narrow amendments could still achieve better protections for recipients of demand letters.” said Burgess.
Witnesses testified today about the growing problem of patent trolls and the great economic burden they impose on small businesses on consumers. All of the witnesses agreed on the need for federal action to limit this abusive and costly practice. They offered their perspective on the draft and provided suggestions on how to improve it to achieve a balanced and effective solution.
David Long, Partner at Kelley Drye, testified on behalf of Innovation Alliance. He said the subcommittee’s draft “reflects the type of balanced, targeted measure appropriate for addressing bad faith demand letters while respecting patent rights and legitimate communications used to efficiently reach reasonable business solutions to patent infringement concerns.” He urged the committee to adopt a measured response to address to this limited problem that does not harm the patent system.
Gregory Dolin, Associate Professor of Law Baltimore University School of Law, commented that the TROL act is “a commendable response to the proliferation of state-based provisions seeking to regulate demand letters,” explaining that state-based legislation is often problematic and treads on the exclusive federal domain in the area of patent law. He also warned against unintended consequences of overly restrictive and burdensome mandates that could threaten innovation and increase overall costs.
Diane Lettelleir, Senior Managing Counsel for J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc., testified on behalf of United for Patent Reform. “Abusive patent enforcement tactics have a detrimental impact on innovation, job creation and the integrity of our patent system,” said Lettelleir. She called for a comprehensive solution to “release Main Street businesses from the controlling grip on their industry that patent trolls currently enjoy.” She praised the committee’s efforts to tackle this problem and offered a number of suggestions to the draft.
Chairman Burgess committed to continuing to work with members and stakeholders to achieve targeted reforms, concluding, “We aim to move this bill forward and I believe it could become law, so long as it resolves the demand letter problem with due respect for our Constitution.”
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today held a hearing to discuss options for improving post-acute care (PAC) for Medicare patients. Subcommittee members reviewed bipartisan proposals and ideas to strengthen Medicare and promote higher quality care for seniors by modernizing post-acute care payment policies.
“Over the past several years, central to this committee’s agenda has been our interest in understanding and responding to the need to modernize Medicare’s financing and payment structures,” said Pitts. “There are many opportunities for the Medicare program to save taxpayers’ dollars and improve seniors’ quality of care through better management of post-acute care.”
Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) added, “Improving post-acute care services for seniors is an area that is ripe for bipartisan agreements. There are a range of ideas on how to increase quality, improve seniors’ care, and reduce costs in a targeted manner.”
One such idea is H.R. 1458, the Bundling and Coordinating Post-Acute Care Act (BACPAC), bipartisan legislation authored by committee member Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) along with Reps. Tom Price (R-GA), Jerry McNerney (D-CA), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA). “For the past three years, we have been working on this legislation to help reduce the stress for seniors dealing with Medicare after a hospital visit,” said McKinley. “This bipartisan reform addresses the complicated decisions Medicare patients face by providing private-sector coordinators to guide patients through the process. BACPAC will strengthen Medicare for decades to come, help seniors receive the most effective care, and save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.”
To watch a recording of the hearing and to read complete witness testimony, click here
“Medicare needs a range of policies to ensure the appropriate and efficient use of PAC services. In the near term, the Commission is recommending policies that ensure that program payments under PPS are commensurate with costs – a particularly important policy given the high payments for several PAC settings. … In the longer run, Medicare is beginning efforts to develop a common payment system that will eliminate the adverse incentives and inefficiencies resulting from multiple uncoordinated systems and focus the system on the patient’s needs.”
- Dr. Mark Miller, Executive Director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
“We believe patient-centered care coordination can be achieved via PAC bundling that provides consistent support and navigation assistance to discharged Medicare beneficiaries. It’s for this reason that the Partnership is pleased to add its support to the Bundling and Coordinating Post Acute Care Act.”
- Dr. Steven Landers, President and CEO of Visiting Nurse Association Health Group
“Post-acute providers will continue to work with Congress to ensure that Medicare cost savings are achieved and beneficiary access to appropriate care is preserved.”
- Dr. Samual Hammerman, Chief Medical Officer at the LTACH Hospital Division
“To build a payment system for PAC episodes that is risk adjusted based on patient characteristics, standardized patient assessment data are critical.”
- Dr. Melissa Morley, Health Care Financing Payment Program Manager at RTI International
“AHCA stands ready to work with Congress, members of this and other Committees, as well as other health care providers on a road to PAC payment reform which will improve quality and outcomes for patients and their families.”
- Leonard Russ, Chairman of American Health Care Association
WASHINGTON, DC – The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals today heard oral arguments in two cases challenging EPA’s proposed rule to regulate carbon dioxide from existing power plants. The legal challengers, which include 15 states, argue EPA is acting outside its statutory authority by attempting to regulate sources that are already regulated under another section of the Clean Air Act. A number of legal experts have testified in front of the committee over the rule’s legal infirmities, including Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe who argued today on behalf of the petitioners. He told the committee last month that EPA’s power grab was akin to “burning the constitution.”
House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY) said, “Today's argument highlights the unprecedented attempt by EPA to vastly expand its regulatory authority over state electricity systems without congressional authorization. Despite a host of legal questions, EPA expects states to move forward with costly compliance plans that could put jobs and access to affordable and reliable energy in jeopardy. To protect states and their ratepayers, we are advancing legislation that delays EPA’s compliance requirements until the courts can have their say first.”
The Ratepayer Protection Act is a practical solution to protect consumers from EPA’s regulatory overreach and to ensure states have ultimate control over their electricity systems. Given the considerable legal challenges to EPA’s proposal, the legislation would allow for completion of judicial review of any final rule before requiring states to comply. The Ratepayer Protection Act also ensures that a state would not be forced to implement a state or federal compliance plan if the governor finds it would have significant adverse effects on ratepayers or reliability. To learn more about this commonsense legislation, click HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved H.R. 1770, the Data Security and Breach Notification Act, by a vote of 29 to 20. The bill provides a much-needed solution to address the growing problem of cyber crimes, establishing a nationwide safety regime for data protection and breach notification. Learn more about the bill HERE.
“Consumers want assurances that their data and their virtual you will be protected in cyber space,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), the author of the bill. “2014 was dubbed the year of the breach. The American people are asking Congress to take some action and provide some clarity. This bill is a bipartisan effort crafted with substantial input from Republicans, Democrats, and affected industries. Our country cannot spare the trillions of dollars in costs or the loss of 5 million jobs that will come with another 10 years passing without federal guidelines and legislation.”
Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said, “Over 40 bills have been introduced in Congress since the first major data breach in 2005 and we haven’t yet reached the finish line. This committee has worked hard to find a balanced, well-targeted solution, and I believe our legislation is closer than we have come in a long time to addressing a problem that has only worsened over the past decade.”
Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) added, “We have negotiated in good faith with both parties and stakeholders to achieve a narrowly-targeted but effective bill that can become law. A data security solution is finally within reach, and I look forward to finally passing effective legislation on the House floor.”
Blackburn, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), an author of the original draft who is continuing to lead in negotiations, Upton, and Burgess all committed to continuing to work together to address outstanding issues in an effort to garner greater support for the bill as it heads to the House floor.
Blackburn said, “Passing this data security bill out of committee today is an important milestone. While I hoped we could have reached a bipartisan agreement today, it is only a small bump in the road. Mr. Welch and I will continue to work closely together in the days ahead to ultimately achieve a strong bipartisan vote on the House floor.”
WASHINGTON, DC –The House Energy and Commerce Committee today advanced two critical pieces of bipartisan legislation protecting jobs and the environment.
H.R. 1734, the Improving Coal Combustion Residuals Regulation Act, authored by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV), was approved by the committee by a bipartisan vote of 32 to 19. Building off the committee’s work from previous Congresses, the bill establishes a state-based regulatory program to ensure the safe management and disposal of coal ash. The bill seeks to improve EPA’s final rule issued in December and would eliminate the implementation issues by giving states the necessary enforcement authority to implement the standards set by EPA. Learn more about the bill HERE.
“This legislation, crafted with the help of state environmental and solid waste officials, committee staff, and with input from the EPA, provides closure on this issue and certainty for the 316,000 Americans dependent on the coal ash recycling industry,” said McKinley.
H.R. 906, A Bill to Modify the Efficiency Standards for Grid-Enabled Water Heaters, was approved by the committee by voice vote. The bill, introduced by Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY), enables thermal storage water heaters to continue being manufactured and sold by exempting them from regulation under new DOE efficiency standards.
“Large electric water heaters provide important energy and cost savings to communities across the country, and this bipartisan bill will allow them to continue to be manufactured and sold,” said Whitfield. “This is an important piece of energy efficiency legislation, and I hope we can pass it swiftly on the House floor.”
“Our work continues to protect consumers, jobs, and our environment. I thank my colleagues for their work in advancing these commonsense solutions and I look forward to strong bipartisan votes on the House floor,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI).
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today issued the following statement after the Senate approved H.R. 2, the Medicare access and CHIP Reauthorization Act. The House overwhelmingly approved of this bill in March by a vote of 392-37.
“Stick a fork in it, it’s finally done.”
On February 7, 2013, Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committee leaders first unveiled a framework to permanently repeal the SGR and move to a new system that promotes quality care for seniors. Click here for a complete timeline of the committee’s leadership in this effort.
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