The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), has scheduled a legislative hearing for Thursday, February 5, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act.”
Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) introduced H.R. 212, the Drinking Water Protection Act, to help protect drinking water from harmful algae blooms known as cyanotoxins. The legislation was authored in response to a water emergency in Toledo, Ohio last summer caused by the increased presence of harmful algal blooms in Lake Erie. The bipartisan bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency to develop and submit a strategic plan to Congress for assessing and managing the risk associated with cyanotoxins in drinking water. At next week’s hearing, members will hear perspectives on the bill from the EPA and relevant stakeholders.
The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Senate today approved legislation authorizing the application for the Keystone XL pipeline, following House passage of legislation earlier this month. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) praised the Senate’s passage of the legislation and urged the president to reconsider his veto threat.
"The Senate has spoken up in favor of Keystone’s jobs and energy and we now just need the last domino to fall - the White House. The American people strongly support this project that will create tens of thousands of jobs, advance our energy security, won’t cost taxpayers a dime, and is better for safety and the environment. President Obama should take a cue from the House and the Senate and reconsider his opposition, listen to American workers and consumers who want this infrastructure project, and embrace the Keystone XL pipeline so we can finally put this debate to rest and get folks back to work. After six long years, it’s time to build.”
For more information on the Keystone XL pipeline and its long history, click HERE.
“Over the next several months, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which I chair, will begin a series of listening sessions and roundtables to gather advice and advance ideas about how to streamline the approval process, spur more scientific collaboration and ensure the United States remains the world leader in this field. …”
Then in April, Upton partnered with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO) to begin the conversation in earnest. Since then, the committee has engaged in a thoughtful and powerful discussion with patients and experts from all across the country about how to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery cycle of new cures and treatments.
Throughout the Cures initiative, the foundation of support has remained strong.
On May 9, 2014, James Pinkerton reported on the first Cures roundtable in Breitbart, “… several hundred people gathered for an expression of hopeful humanity, a flowering of bipartisan cooperation on behalf of an important issue--namely, medical cures.”
On June 20, 2014, ahead of the second D.C. roundtable, CQ Roll Call called the effort “a novel initiative that brings issue advocates directly into the deliberations process.”
On July 9, 2014, Paul Howard wrote in Morning Consult, “the 21st Century Cures Initiative is a welcome reminder that America’s policymakers can still come together to meet and solve great challenges.”
As roundtables were held across the country, local news outlets and groups from New Jersey, Indiana, Florida, Ohio, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Colorado, Michigan, Virginia, and Texas shared their optimism and praise for the effort.
On November 20, 2014, Fox News reported on the 2014 Partnering for Cures event in New York City, “Medical breakthroughs… have caught the attention of policy makers who recognize the need to revamp the notoriously slow process of bringing medical innovations to the market.” Chairman Upton told Dr. Manny Alvarez, “[With] disease, it doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat or Independent… We want to solve these issues.”
And on January 15, 2015, the Cures initiative topped Huffington Post’s list of medical research trends to watch in 2015.
After eight hearings, five white papers, and roundtables across the country, the committee this week released a discussion document outlining many of the ideas and proposals that have been voiced throughout this process. The support for #Cures2015 remains strong; many patient groups have already weighed in to share their initial thoughts.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today applauded the efforts of Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) upon the release of the “Innovation for Healthier Americans” Report.
“Getting more and better cures and treatments to patients more quickly is a goal shared by all. I applaud Senators Alexander and Burr for releasing this report today and encouraging further discussion to determine how best to keep America at the forefront of health care innovation,” said Upton. “The more people talking about how to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments, the better. I look forward to working with Senators Alexander, Burr, and Murray as we continue our quest for 21st Century Cures. Together, we will get this done.”
Chairman Upton, along with Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), have led the 21st Century Cures initiative for the past year. Earlier this week, the committee released a discussion document in that initiative and embarked on #Cures2015, with the goal of sending legislation to the president’s desk by the end of the year.
WASHINGTON, DC – Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) issued the following statement in response to today’s release of the final volumes of the Safety Evaluation Report for Yucca Mountain:
“With the SER now complete, we’re one step closer to keeping the federal government’s promise to build a permanent repository for nuclear waste. We now know from this independent government review that Yucca Mountain is safe and can meet the technical standards. I again commend the NRC staff scientists and engineers for their years of thorough work on this safety evaluation. Completing the SER is a milestone achievement, but there is still a long road ahead. I am eager to work with my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle this Congress to ensure the NRC, DOE, and the State of Nevada have all the resources and incentives they need to keep moving forward on this national asset.”
2323 days are now on the clock since the application to build the Keystone XL pipeline was first submitted, and it’s now been over three years since the president shocked American workers by formally rejecting the project’s initial permit. Since then, the president has dodged a decision, blaming his procrastination on process and hiding behind an extraneous court case. But that case is now closed and time is running out. The House overwhelmingly passed legislation approving Keystone’s permit earlier this month and the Senate is expected to clear bipartisan legislation later today. Once again, the president will be forced to decide: jobs or politics?
President Obama has already threatened to veto the legislation, but maybe he was too quick to forget the blowback he received the first time he discarded Keystone’s permit.
The president will soon get the chance to even the score for American workers. Will he make the same mistake twice and decide to turn his back on them again? Or he will reconsider and decide to join Congress in standing up for jobs and American energy? Time’s up, Mr. President. It’s #TimeToBuild.
The House Energy and Commerce Committee on Tuesday released a discussion document marking the next phase of the 21st Century Cures initiative, #Cures2015. The document, along with a new white paper also out yesterday, outlines proposals and ideas shared throughout the yearlong conversation led by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), and seeks to continue this important conversation. As the committee underscored, the inclusion of a policy in this document should not be seen as an endorsement, some ideas may be added, others may be dropped, but yesterday marked an important first step toward #Cures2015. The committee remains encouraged by the support and ideas that continue to be shared for the 21st Century Cures initiative.
“…provides the outline for a solid framework to improve not only the clinical trial process but the entire drug development enterprise for the benefit of patients.”
“AdvaMed commends Chairman Upton and Congresswoman DeGette for their leadership on the 21st Century Cures initiative. We share their goal of accelerating the discovery, development and delivery of cures for patients, and we applaud their leadership on this important issue.”
“Thank you @RepFredUpton & @RepDianaDeGette 4 your leadership!”
“…discussion draft to spur biomed research innovation”
“ASN commends @HouseCommerce on release of #Cures2015 discussion draft…”
“We are pleased to see several of our priority suggestions in the discussion draft, including the need for a large-scale national research commitment to study precursors and signs of disease and disease risk factors for chronic conditions.”
A “thoughtful approach to spurring medical innovation and accelerating scientific discovery. …a vital starting point to ensuring that California and the nation remains the leader in worldwide biomedical innovation.”
“…strong emphasis on #patients input”
“…a promising step toward progress on this collection of critical issues.”
“We are eager to weigh in for the #lungcancer community.”
“…a strong step in the right direction to advance our health care ecosystem.”
“The Committee and its staff deserve praise for its effort in bringing these ideas together…Nothing is more important to the rare disease community than providing an environment conducive to the development of new therapies and access to them.”
“PAN is thrilled to see the inclusion of the Advancing Research for Neurological Diseases Act in the draft 21st Century Cures legislation released this week.”
“…a truly remarkable diversity of innovative ideas to speed the delivery of lifesaving treatments to patients…”
WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican leaders today sent a letter to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, seeking information about the administration’s contingency planning for the upcoming Supreme Court decision in the case of King v. Burwell. “Given HHS’s responsibilities, we believe it is prudent that the Department plan for the full range of potential outcomes and consequences of the Court’s decision.”
The leaders ask Burwell, “What actions, analysis, and/or contingency planning has HHS undertaken in advance of the Supreme Court’s King v. Burwell decision?”
The letter was signed by full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Chairman Emeritus Joe Barton (R-TX), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA).
Read the complete letter online HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. House of Representatives today approved H.R 351, the LNG Permitting Certainty and Transparency Act, a bill to help expedite the approval of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects. The legislation was approved by a strong bipartisan vote of 277 to 133. H.R. 351, authored by Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), would end the unnecessary delays blocking the export of U.S. LNG by requiring the Department of Energy to issue a decision on export applications following the conclusion of environmental review of the LNG facilities.
Increasing U.S. LNG exports would help create jobs in America and help our allies abroad. At the request of the Department of Energy, NERA economic consulting conducted a study and found that U.S. LNG exports would result in net gains to our domestic economy and could reduce the average number of unemployed workers by as much as 45,000 by 2018. The Energy Equipment and Infrastructure Alliance projects that expanding the market for U.S. LNG would create an additional 150,000 jobs in the supply chain. U.S. LNG exports would also provide our allies in Europe and across the globe with an alternative safe and secure source of energy, reducing the coercive power of exporters like Russia.
“For too long the Department of Energy has stood in the way of progress when it comes to approving our natural gas export permits. Today, the House voted to eliminate the government red tape that has stood in the way of American job creation in both the energy and manufacturing sectors, and we’ve sent a strong message to our allies in Europe – they won’t have to be so beholden to Vladimir Putin to meet their energy needs anymore,” said Johnson.
“The domestic and geopolitical benefits make increasing U.S. LNG exports a win-win, but the Department of Energy continues to hold up the process. This bill would help jumpstart approvals so we can start creating jobs and sending our surplus gas to those countries that need it the most,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “The U.S. is now a global energy superpower, and with that power we have a chance to do some real good. Saying yes to energy is good for workers here at home, and good for global allies.”
“The Energy and Commerce Committee has held multiple hearings about U.S. natural gas production. We now have the opportunity to bring more of this critical energy resource to other parts of the world while stimulating our energy security, economic growth, and foreign policy,” said Energy and Power Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-KY). “This important bill brings certainty to DOE’s approval process to ensure we can take advantage of the many benefits of U.S. LNG exports.”
To view letters of support for H.R. 351, click HERE.
WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today held a hearing to review six bipartisan bills to help veterans, address the prescription drug abuse crisis, secure access to trauma systems, and improve the Controlled Substances Act.
“In the 113th Congress, the Energy and Commerce Committee established an impressive Record of Success with 51 bipartisan bills signed into law, many of which are now helping improve public health,” said Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Families and local communities expect us to work together to solve problems, and we look forward to using our prior success as a springboard to further boost the public health this new Congress.”
Witnesses expressed support for each the bills and expressed gratitude for the committee’s continued work on important public health issues.
H.R. 235, Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2013, authored by Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Lois Capps (D-CA)Deputy Chief of the Central Jackson County Fire Department, Ben Chlapeck testified, “The subcommittee continues to have the potential to help veterans transition quickly to the civilian profession upon their completion of military duty, essentially reducing unemployment among veterans and instilling positive morale and hope for their futures. …I firmly believe your continued attention to this issue is the right direction and an excellent investment to help our military veterans, our civilian emergency response agencies, patients and this great country.”
H.R. 4299, Improving Regulatory Transparency for New Medical Therapies Act, authored in the previous Congress by Subcommittee Chairman Pitts and Ranking Member Frank Pallone (D-NJ)Dr. Nathan Fountain, testifying on behalf of the Epilepsy Foundation of America, said, “We urge all Members to consider full support of the reintroduction of this bill. … Predictable and timely access to new therapies would be a phenomenal accomplishment for epilepsy patients and all Americans suffering from conditions like epilepsy.”
The Trauma Systems and Regionalization of Emergency Care Reauthorization Act, authored by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX)Dr. Blaine Enderson of the University of Tennessee Medical Center, said, “Your acknowledgement of the need to ensure that these systems are available to all Americans is greatly appreciated, and we thank you again for your leadership and commitment to these crucial programs.”
The Access to Life-Saving Trauma Care for All Americans Act, introduced by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX)Enderson added, “Trauma is a major public health issue. In the United States, approximately 35 million people are treated every year for traumatic injuries – constituting one hospitalization every 15 minutes. Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death under age 44. At an annual cost of $67.3 billion, trauma is the third most expensive medical condition (behind only heart disease ($90.0 billion) and cancer ($71.4 billion).”
Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act of 2015, authored by full committee Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Peter Welch (D-VT), and Judy Chu (D-CA)Linden Barber, Partner and Director of DEA Compliance Operations at Quarles & Brady, said, “The clarity in this bill will create a regulatory environment in which DEA and those registrants who are committed to compliance can make meaningful strides to reduce prescription drug abuse while improving access to medication for patients in need.”
The National All Schedules Prescription Electronic Reporting (NASPER) Reauthorization Act, authored by Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-KY)John Eadie, Director of the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program Center of Excellence at Brandeis University, said, “The reauthorization of NASPER, with proposed changes will assist states by adding important funds that compliment other initiatives. …States need NASPER to encourage the technological development of PDMPs’ interoperability with electronic health records and health information exchanges.”
Read the full text of these bills, full witness testimony, and watch the complete hearing video online here.
2125 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515