Susan Brooks

Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Select Committee on Benghazi Releases Proposed Report

2016/06/28

81 New Witnesses, 75,000 New Pages of Documents Reveal Significant New Information, Fundamentally Changes the Public’s Understanding of the 2012 Terrorist Attacks that Killed Four Americans”

Washington, D.C. – Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy (SC-04) released the following statement after the committee’s Majority released a mark of its investigative report:

“Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored.

“When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done.

“Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions. You can read this report in less time than our fellow citizens were taking fire and fighting for their lives on the rooftops and in the streets of Benghazi.”

The committee’s proposed report is just over 800 pages long and is comprised of five primary sections and 12 appendices. It details relevant events in 2011 and 2012.

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part I:

  • Despite President Obama and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s clear orders to deploy military assets, nothing was sent to Benghazi, and nothing was en route to Libya at the time the last two Americans were killed almost 8 hours after the attacks began. [pg. 141]
  • With Ambassador Stevens missing, the White House convened a roughly two-hour meeting at 7:30 PM, which resulted in action items focused on a YouTube video, and others containing the phrases “[i]f any deployment is made,” and “Libya must agree to any deployment,” and “[w]ill not deploy until order comes to go to either Tripoli or Benghazi.” [pg. 115]
  • The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff typically would have participated in the White House meeting, but did not attend because he went home to host a dinner party for foreign dignitaries. [pg. 107]
  • A Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times. [pg. 154]
  • None of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines. [pg. 150]
  • The Libyan forces that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport was not affiliated with any of the militias the CIA or State Department had developed a relationship with during the prior 18 months. Instead, it was comprised of former Qadhafi loyalists who the U.S. had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution. [pg. 144]

Rep. Mike Pompeo (KS-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“We expect our government to make every effort to save the lives of Americans who serve in harm’s way. That did not happen in Benghazi. Politics were put ahead of the lives of Americans, and while the administration had made excuses and blamed the challenges posed by time and distance, the truth is that they did not try.”

Rep. Martha Roby (AL-02) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Our committee’s insistence on additional information about the military’s response to the Benghazi attacks was met with strong opposition from the Defense Department, and now we know why. Instead of attempting to hide deficiencies in our posture and performance, it’s my hope our report will help ensure we fix what went wrong so that a tragedy like this never happens again.” 

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part II:

  • Five of the 10 action items from the 7:30 PM White House meeting referenced the video, but no direct link or solid evidence existed connecting the attacks in Benghazi and the video at the time the meeting took place. The State Department senior officials at the meeting had access to eyewitness accounts to the attack in real time. The Diplomatic Security Command Center was in direct contact with the Diplomatic Security Agents on the ground in Benghazi and sent out multiple updates about the situation, including a “Terrorism Event Notification.” The State Department Watch Center had also notified Jake Sullivan and Cheryl Mills that it had set up a direct telephone line to Tripoli. There was no mention of the video from the agents on the ground. Greg Hicks—one of the last people to talk to Chris Stevens before he died—said there was virtually no discussion about the video in Libya leading up to the attacks. [pg. 28]
  • The morning after the attacks, the National Security Council’s Deputy Spokesperson sent an email to nearly two dozen people from the White House, Defense Department, State Department, and intelligence community, stating: “Both the President and Secretary Clinton released statements this morning. … Please refer to those for any comments for the time being. To ensure we are all in sync on messaging for the rest of the day, Ben Rhodes will host a conference call for USG communicators on this chain at 9:15 ET today.” [pg. 39]
  • Minutes before the President delivered his speech in the Rose Garden, Jake Sullivan wrote in an email to Ben Rhodes and others: “There was not really much violence in Egypt. And we are not saying that the violence in Libya erupted ‘over inflammatory videos.’” [pg. 44]
  • According to Susan Rice, both Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe prepared her for her appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows following the attacks. Nobody from the FBI, Department of Defense, or CIA participated in her prep call. While Rhodes testified Plouffe would “normally” appear on the Sunday show prep calls, Rice testified she did not recall Plouffe being on prior calls and did not understand why he was on the call in this instance. [pg.98]
  • On the Sunday shows, Susan Rice stated the FBI had “already begun looking at all sorts of evidence” and “FBI has a lead in this investigation.” But on Monday, the Deputy Director, Office of Maghreb Affairs sent an email stating: “McDonough apparently told the SVTS [Secure Video Teleconference] group today that everyone was required to ‘shut their pieholes’ about the Benghazi attack in light of the FBI investigation, due to start tomorrow.” [pg. 135]
  • After Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances, Jake Sullivan assured the Secretary of the State that Rice “wasn’t asked about whether we had any intel. But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved.” [pg. 128]
  • Susan Rice’s comments on the Sunday talk shows were met with shock and disbelief by State Department employees in Washington. The Senior Libya Desk Officer, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, wrote: “I think Rice was off the reservation on this one.” The Deputy Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, State Department, responded: “Off the reservation on five networks!” The Senior Advisor for Strategic Communications, Bureau of Near East Affairs, State Department, wrote: “WH [White House] very worried about the politics. This was all their doing.” [pg. 132]
  • The CIA’s September 13, 2012, intelligence assessment was rife with errors. On the first page, there is a single mention of “the early stages of the protest” buried in one of the bullet points. The article cited to support the mention of a protest in this instance was actually from September 4. In other words, the analysts used an article from a full week before the attacks to support the premise that a protest had occurred just prior to the attack on September 11. [pg. 47]
  • A headline on the following page of the CIA’s September 13 intelligence assessment stated “Extremists Capitalized on Benghazi Protests,” but nothing in the actual text box supports that title. As it turns out, the title of the text box was supposed to be “Extremists Capitalized on Cairo Protests.” That small but vital difference—from Cairo to Benghazi—had major implications in how people in the administration were able to message the attacks. [pg. 52]

Rep. Jim Jordan (OH-04) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“Obama Administration officials, including the Secretary of State, learned almost in real time that the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Rather than tell the American people the truth, the administration told one story privately and a different story publicly.”

Rep. Peter Roskam (IL-06) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews.”

The following facts are among the many new revelations in Part III:

  • During deliberations within the State Department about whether and how to intervene in Libya in March 2011, Jake Sullivan listed the first goal as “avoid[ing] a failed state, particularly one in which al-Qaeda and other extremists might take safe haven.” [pg. 9]
  • The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]
  • When the State Department’s presence in Benghazi was extended in December 2012, senior officials from the Bureau of Diplomatic Security were excluded from the discussion. [pg. 74]
  • In February 2012, the lead Diplomatic Security Agent at Embassy Tripoli informed his counterpart in Benghazi that more DS agents would not be provided by decision makers, because “substantive reporting” was not Benghazi’s purpose. [pg. 77]
  • Emails indicate senior State Department officials, including Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, and Huma Abedin were preparing for a trip by the Secretary of State to Libya in October 2012. According to testimony, Chris Stevens wanted to have a “deliverable” for the Secretary for her trip to Libya, and that “deliverable” would be making the Mission in Benghazi a permanent Consulate. [pg. 96]
  • In August 2012—roughly a month before the Benghazi attacks—security on the ground worsened significantly. Ambassador Stevens initially planned to travel to Benghazi in early August, but cancelled the trip “primarily for Ramadan/security reasons.” [pg. 99]
  • Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told the committee “an intelligence failure” occurred with respect to Benghazi. Former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell also acknowledged multiple times an intelligence failure did in fact occur prior to the Benghazi attacks. [pg. 129]

Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“President Obama has said his worst mistake was ‘failing to plan for the day after … intervening in Libya.’ As a result of this ‘lead from behind’ foreign policy, the Libyan people were forced to make the dismal trade of the tyranny of Qadhafi for the terror of ISIS, Al-Qaeda and others. Although the State Department considered Libya a grave risk to American diplomats in 2011 and 2012, our people remained in a largely unprotected, unofficial facility that one diplomatic security agent the committee interviewed characterized as ‘a suicide mission.’”

Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (GA-03) released the following statement regarding these findings:

“One of the most concerning parts of the State Department’s policy in Libya was its reliance upon the militias of an unstable nation to protect our men and women in Benghazi. These were by no means forces that could adequately protect Americans on the ground, and the State Department knew it. But the appearance of no boots on the ground was more important to the administration.”

Part IV of the report reveals new information about the Select Committee’s requests and subpoenas seeking documents and witnesses regarding Benghazi and Libya, and details what the Obama administration provided to Congress, what it is still withholding, and how its serial delays hindered the committee’s efforts to uncover the truth.

Part V proposes 25 recommendations for the Pentagon, State Department, Intelligence Community and Congress aimed at strengthening security for American personnel serving abroad and doing everything possible to ensure something like Benghazi never happens again, and if it does, that we are better prepared to respond, the majority make a series of recommendations.

The Select Committee intends to convene a bipartisan markup to discuss and vote on the proposed report on July 8, 2016. All members of the committee will have the opportunity to offer changes in a manner consistent with the rules of the House.

The full report is available online at: http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

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Landmark Mental Health Reform Proposal Unanimously Passes Committee

2016/06/15

WASHINGTON— Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously passed H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, a proposal to reform care and treatment options for people struggling with mental illness and their families.  Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), a member of the Health Subcommittee that passed H.R. 2646 in November and supporter of H.R. 2646, issued the following statement after passage:

“We must change the way that we treat people with mental illness in this country and provide better, evidence-based care and treatment options for patients. Rep. Murphy’s legislation will make a real difference in the lives of the one in five Americans who struggle with mental illness, and empower family members to be partners in care for their loved ones suffering from serious mental illness. I applaud his efforts, and eagerly await consideration of this proposal by the House.”    

The committee adopted an Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute to H.R. 2646, which unanimously passed the full committee by a vote of 53-0. Among other reforms, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act helps people struggling with mental illness get appropriate care and treatment before a crisis occurs, and allows their families and loved ones to be partners in helping to combat the very serious and sometimes dangerous results of mental illness. Reforms in the legislation focus on evidence-based models of care and support efforts to make the full range of preventative screening, diagnostic and treatment services available to children and young adults under age 21. Additionally, first responders and police officers would receive additional crisis intervention resources to help better respond to incidents involving a mental health emergency.

An electronic copy of the bill, as well as a background memo, amendments, and votes will be available on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here as they are posted.

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Reps. Smith and Brooks Lead Push for Computer Science Support

2016/06/03

Washington, DC – On Thursday, Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Congresswoman Susan Brooks (IN-5) sent a letter to House appropriators urging them to prioritize support for K-12 computer science education.

The letter, signed by Smith, Brooks and 22 of their colleagues on both sides of the aisle, notes how only one in four K-12 schools in the U.S. teach rigorous computer science courses. States and school districts understand the need to improve and are leading the way, investing their limited resources in computer science education. By prioritizing support for computer science education at the federal level, Congress can contribute to improving our country’s competitiveness, addressing national security and cyber defense concerns, and creating more jobs for our local communities.

As Chairman of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, Rep. Smith championed the STEM Education Act. This bill, which has been signed into law, adds computer science to the definition of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and strengthens ongoing STEM education efforts supported by the National Science Foundation.

Congressman Lamar Smith: “I’ve heard from countless employers that there are not enough applicants with the technical skills they need to fill the positions they’re looking for. We need to equip our country’s students and teachers with the resources needed to succeed in the 21st century.”

Congresswoman Brooks: “As a former community college administrator, I understand the importance of providing our kids with the skills that will help them succeed in college and throughout their career,” Brooks said. “To maintain our nation’s competitive edge, America must raise a new generation of innovators ready to meet the demands of a global and tech-driven economy. Computing plays a crucial role in aligning our current educational attainment gap and opportunities in the workforce, and we must prioritize computer science education for students of all ages.”

In April, a bipartisan group CEOs, of governors, and education leaders wrote to Congress asking for every student in every school to have an opportunity to learn computer science. The House Appropriations Committee will be weighing computer science funding in this year’s Labor, Health and Human Services and Education appropriations bill.

Other signers of Rep. Smith and Brooks’ computer science letter include representatives:

Robert J. Dold

Randy Hultgren

Bruce Westerman

Michael T. McCaul

Elizabeth Esty

Alan Grayson

Barbara Comstock

Blake Farenthold

Eric Swalwell

Steve Knight

F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr.

Lynn Jenkins

Marc A. Veasey

Rick Crawford

John R. Moolenaar

Barbara Lee

Zoe Lofgren

Phil Roe

Will Hurd

Tom Emmer

Luke Messer

Katherine Clark

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Congressman Smith represents the 21st District of Texas. He serves as chairman of the House Science, Space, & Technology Committee, is also a member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and is a former chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) is a second term Republican who represents eight urban, suburban and rural counties in Central Indiana, including the north side of Indianapolis. She uses her background as a Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, a U.S. Attorney and a community college administrator to improve education, jobs, health and homeland security. Through her membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee, she is working on mental health, substance abuse, biodefense and Medicaid reform. As a member of the Ethics Committee, she works with her colleagues to restore confidence in Congress.

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Brooks Statement Regarding the State Department Office of Inspector General’s Evaluation of Email Records Management

2016/05/25

WASHINGTON— Select Committee on Benghazi member Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN05) released the following statement regarding the State Department Office of Inspector General’s Evaluation of Email Records Management:

“From the beginning, our investigation has prioritized understanding the failures leading up to, during and after the September 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. Part of that understanding must include the communications between the federal agencies involved, including the former Secretary of State and her senior staff. The problems with State Department records identified by the Office of the Inspector General’s report, specifically the failure of the Department to respond to Congressional inquiries in a timely and comprehensive manner, have interfered with our investigation. The difficult process of obtaining these records from the State Department, as well as other Administrative agencies, has significantly delayed our progress, and I hope that this report is a positive step towards more transparency and accountability in the future.”

A recent review of some of the document productions the Select Committee has received showed that its work has been delayed by the equivalent of at least 5,940 days – over 16 years – in the last nine months alone. For instance, a response to a request made by the Select Committee in November 2014 for documents from the State Department took more than a year. These documents were made available to the Select Committee on May 6th of this year.

The Select Committee has already obtained and reviewed more than 74,000 pages of documents never before seen by a congressional committee. More than 100 witnesses have been interviewed during the course of the investigation, including 79 never before interviewed about Benghazi by a congressional committee.

The Select Committee is in the process of drafting the final report which is expected before summer.

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Energy and Commerce subcommittee examines U.S. biological threat preparedness

2016/05/20

The Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health held a hearing entitled “Examining H.R. 3299, Strengthening Public Health Response Act” on Thursday to examine legislation meant to better prepare the U.S. to fight biological threats.

The Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act of 2015, H.R. 3299, introduced by U.S. Reps. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Anna Eshoo (D-CA), was written in response to an October report by the Blue Ribbon Study on Biodefense that warned that the U.S. was not prepared for emerging biological threats.

“The nation has not come to fully appreciate the severity of the biological threat and our leaders have not demonstrated the political will to fully address it,” the Blue Ribbon Study report said. “We must address these shortcomings by prioritizing the following ares: 1) coordination and accountability among federal departments and agencies; 2) collaboration between federal and non-federal stakeholders; and 3) innovation that addresses both lingering and novel problems.”

H.R. 3299 legislation would streamline decision-making procedures while incentivizing investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens.

“When biological threats are considered, the most important part of our preparedness is the successful development of vaccines and treatments before a biological threat or attack occurs,” Brooks said. “Having treatments and vaccines ready when a biological threat like Ebola strikes has immeasurable benefits, not the least of which is significantly limiting the scope of the outbreak. Given reports that ISIS is pursuing chemical and biological weapons, we must act now to prepare ourselves for the challenges that these kinds of weapons pose to our collective health and security.”

Thirty-three recommendations to improve the U.S. response to biological threats were made by the Blue Ribbon Study on Biodefense, which was led by former U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge, the first Secretary of Homeland Security. The panel’s report was based on meetings, interviews and research.

“Securing our nation against biological threats is a challenging endeavor,” Acting Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) Director Dr. Richard Hackett said. “The array of threats for which we must be prepared is vast. Such threats include bioterrorist agents such as anthrax, smallpox and botulism; evolving and emerging threats causing substantial regional disruption such as Ebola and Zika; and highly communicable diseases with pandemic potential such as influenza.”

One impediment to preparing for biological threats, according to U.S. Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), is the lack of demand in the private market for medical countermeasures to biological threats.

“The 2006 Pandemic and All Hazardous Preparedness Act was authorized through 2011,” Pitts testified. “It established research and development through BARDA at HHS to coordinate and accelerate the development of medical countermeasures. There is virtually no demand in the private market for these medical countermeasures, so BARDA bridges the funding gap between early-stage funding and the ultimate procurement of products for the national stockpile.

“By partnering with the private sector, BARDA can reduce the risk entailed in medical countermeasure research, thereby helping to mitigate the disincentives associated with countermeasure spending.”

Hackett pointed to the response to the Zika virus as an example of how production can be ramped up in the event of an emergency.

“When it is an emergency, like with Zika, we can act extremely quickly and responsively,” Hatchett said. “Operationally, the PHEMCE (Public Health Emergency Medical Countermeasures Enterprise) establishes product-specific requirements for CBRN medical countermeasures based on Material Threat Assessments developed by DHS. NIH and DoD support discovery and early-stage development of product candidates, often in collaboration with academic and industry partners, and prepare them for the transition to BARDA.

“In turn, BARDA supports and assists product candidates through advanced research and development, including preparation for FDA review, until they are ready for acquisition under Project BioShield. After procurement, medical countermeasures are maintained at CDC’s Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) location or within virtual stockpiles maintained by commercial vendors…If advanced development data lead to FDA approval of a marketing application, the financial responsibility for purchasing medical countermeasures for stockpile and delivery transfers from BARDA under Project BioShield to SNS. Items that have not yet received FDA licensure can also be procured for the stockpile if they are eligible for use during an emergency under an Emergency Use Authorization.”

H.R. 3299 would also expand the Priority Review Voucher program to allow for material threats identified by the Department of Homeland Security.

“Our national readiness and biodefense capabilities are underprepared,” Brooks said. “The threat to our national security posed by dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens, like Ebola or anthrax, is constant and cannot be under estimated. The legislation we considered today is the result of more than a year of bipartisan work at this committee, and I look forward to further consideration of this proposal to better protect the health and safety of the American people.”

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Brooks Bill to Improve Readiness for Biological Threats Examined by House Health Subcommittee

2016/05/19

WASHINGTON— Today, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee examined H.R. 3299, a bill introduced by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to streamline decision-making procedures and to incentivize investment in vaccines and treatments for dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens. Effective vaccines and treatments for these kinds of biological threats will enhance our Strategic National Stockpile (SNS). The SNS is operated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has large quantities of medicine and medical supplies to protect the American public if there is a public health emergency.

“Our national readiness and biodefense capabilities are underprepared. The threat to our national security posed by dangerous and deadly diseases and pathogens, like Ebola or anthrax, is constant and cannot be under estimated. The legislation we considered today is the result of more than a year of bipartisan work at this committee, and I look forward to further consideration of this proposal to better protect the health and safety of the American people.”

H.R. 3299, the Strengthening Public Health Emergency Response Act, reinstates the original contracting authority provided to Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) which would ensure faster development of critical medical countermeasures and eliminated bureaucratic red tape. Additionally, this legislation expands the Priority Review Voucher program for material threats identified by the Department of Homeland Security. Expanding the program incentivizes the development, testing and distribution of accines and treatments for neglected, but dangerous, diseases. A photo and video footage of Brooks’ testimony at the hearing is available here.

“When biological threats are considered, the most important part of our preparedness is the successful development of vaccines and treatments before a biological threat or attack occurs. Having treatments and vaccines ready when a biological threat like Ebola strikes has immeasurable benefits, not the least of which is significantly limiting the scope of the outbreak. Given reports that ISIS is pursuing chemical and biological weapons, we must act now to prepare ourselves for the challenges that these kinds of weapons pose to our collective health and security.”

The Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense released a report last October that found that our national biodefense strategy and efforts need significant improvement. Brooks has been leading efforts in Congress to act on the 33 recommendations presented in the Panel’s final report. Additionally, Brooks co-sponsored H.R. 4400 with Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), legislation that added Zika virus to the FDA Tropical Disease Priority Review Voucher Program. Companion legislation to H.R. 4400, S. 2512, was signed into law last month. 

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Brooks, Bucshon, Walorski Tapped to Negotiate Final Opioid Legislation

2016/05/17

(WASHINGTON, DC) – On Tuesday, three members of Indiana’s Congressional delegation were appointed to a special conference committee comprised of members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate that will negotiate the final details of comprehensive legislation to curb opioid and heroin abuse.

Reps. Susan W. Brooks (IN-05), Larry Bucshon, M.D. (IN-08), and Jackie Walorski (IN-02) will serve as members of the conference committee. The committee will work toward an agreement resolving legislative differences between the House and Senate packages to address heroin and opioid abuse. The final agreement must be approved by both the chambers before it reaches the President’s desk.

“Drug overdoses in Indiana have increased five-fold in the past decade, and Hoosier law enforcement officers, medical providers, veterans, emergency responders, and families need our help to address the increasingly alarming rates of heroin and opioid abuse in our communities,” said the members. “We look forward to working with our Senate counterparts to develop a comprehensive, bipartisan solution that will support the work our state and local partners are doing each day to combat this crisis.  It is truly going to take all of us to stem the tide of heroin and opioid abuse that is claiming so many lives in Indiana, and around the country.”

The House members of the committee were appointed by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who called the contribution of Brooks, Bucshon, and Walorski invaluable.

“Right now, more Americans die every year from drug overdoses than they do in car accidents,” said Speaker Ryan.  “Last week, the House passed a comprehensive legislative package to address the heroin and opioid crisis that is sweeping across this country. As we take all of these ideas to a conference committee with the Senate, Reps. Brooks, Bucshon, and Walorski will be invaluable to our efforts to get a final bill to the president’s desk that ensures Americans have the resources they need to win their fight against addiction.”

The legislative package passed by the House included initiatives led by all three members.

Brooks introduced H.R. 4641 with Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA). This legislation establishes a task force comprised of people with chronic pain, people in recovery, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved in oversight of pain management and the prescribing of pain medication. The task force will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices, released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for prescribers of pain medication. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act. Brooks’ bill passed 412-4 in the House of Representatives.  

Bucshon introduced H.R. 4981the Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Expansion and Modernization Act, alongside Paul Tonko (D-NY), which amends the Controlled Substances Act to expand access to medication-assisted opioid addiction treatment, ensures patients have access to a wider range of comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options, and minimizes the potential for drug diversion. The legislation is the product of months of stakeholder engagement, expert input and bipartisan negotiation. It passed the Energy and Commerce Committee and House floor unanimously.

Walorski, a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, authored two provisions that were included in the comprehensive opioids bill. One provision would require all Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities to participate in their respective state’s prescription drug monitoring program (PDMP). The other would expand the VA’s use of FDA-approved medical devices and other therapies as alternatives to opioids for treating chronic pain. Both provisions were approved unanimously by the committee as amendments to H.R 4063, the Jason Simcakoski Promoting Responsible Opioid Management and Incorporating Scientific Expertise (PROMISE) Act, which passed the House unanimously and was included in the amended version of S. 524.

Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks is a second term Republican who represents eight urban, suburban and rural counties in Central Indiana, including the north side of Indianapolis. She uses her background as a Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis, a U.S. Attorney and a community college administrator to improve education, jobs, health and homeland security. Through her membership on the Energy and Commerce Committee, she is working on mental health, substance abuse, biodefense and Medicaid reform. As a member of the Ethics Committee, she works with her colleagues to restore confidence in Congress.

Congressman Larry Bucshon, M.D. is a physician and Republican member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee serving his third term representing Indiana's 8th Congressional district. The 8th District of Indiana includes all or parts of Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Gibson, Greene, Knox, Martin, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, and Warrick counties.  

Congresswoman Jackie Walorski is a lifelong Hoosier, born and raised in South Bend, who has dedicated her career to helping Hoosier families. She represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, House Armed Services Committee and House Committee on Agriculture.

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Brooks: Hoosiers are on the front lines of the heroin and opioid epidemic

2016/05/12

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, the House overwhelmingly passed H.R. 4641, legislation introduced by Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), by a vote of 412 - 4. The bill establishes a task force comprised of people with chronic pain and in recovery, medical providers, hospitals, state medical boards, pain advocacy groups and federal agencies involved in oversight of pain management and the prescribing of pain medication. The task force will be responsible for reviewing, modifying and updating best practices, released earlier this year by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for prescribers of pain medication.

“Four out of five heroin addictions begin with a legal prescription pain medication,” Brooks said. “We must continue to learn more about the science of addiction, and work to change the culture of over-prescription of opioids that currently exists in this country. My legislation will help ensure that prescribers and patients alike have a say in the review and modification of the recently released CDC guidelines, which recommend best practices for prescribing prescription pain medication. We must stem the tide of heroin and opioid abuse, continue to advocate for treatment and care, and prevent more tragic deaths from overdose.”

Including H.R. 4641, the House is scheduled to consider 18 bills this week to help address the heroin and opioid abuse crisis. The House Energy and Commerce Committee held a number of hearings this year with testimony from many experts on the frontlines of this epidemic, including Hoosiers Rachelle Gardner, the Chief Operating Officer for the Hope Academy in Indianapolis, Dr. Jerome Adams, the Indiana State Health Commissioner, and Dr. Paul Halverson, the Professor and Founding Dean of Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. The bills considered by the House this week are bipartisan solutions that address the public health crisis from every angle. From helping babies born addicted to opioids to supporting law enforcement efforts and improving access to life-saving overdose reversal drugs, these bills will help people with addictions, prescribers, law enforcements officers and families address heroin and opioid abuse.

This legislation will help support local efforts already underway in Indiana and around the country. Governor Pence has established the Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Task Force, and local leaders across the state of Indiana are working to protect Hoosiers from this epidemic, including the Grant County Heroin Task Force in the Fifth District.

“Our work doesn’t end today. Hoosiers from all walks of life are on the front lines of the heroin and opioid epidemic, and we will be facing the after-effects of this crisis for many years to come,” Brooks continued. “Victims of this epidemic are not limited to people struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Increasingly our child welfare systems are overwhelmed with new cases as a result of parents who are consumed by heroin addiction. Our hospitals are seeing more babies born addicted to opioids. Veterans are coming home with severe pain and are experiencing high rates of opioid addiction and abuse. I will continue to be an advocate for all the victims of this crisis, past, present and future, and a partner to those on the front lines of this epidemic.”

More information about H.R. 4641, legislation introduced by Reps. Brooks and Kennedy to provide for the establishment of an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and prescribing pain medication, is available here. Senator Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced companion legislation that was passed earlier this year as a part of the bipartisan Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.

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Bucshon, Brooks Bills to Combat Opioid Addiction Pass House

2016/05/12

Two Indiana representatives' bills to fight opioid drug addiction have passed the House and are headed for the Senate.

The House expects to finish work this week on 18 bills tackling different aspects of the opioid epidemic. It's already approved on a voice vote Congressman Larry Bucshon's (R-8th) bill to make it easier to get treatment for addiction to opioid medications, while making it harder to get those drugs without a valid medical need.

Current law limits addiction treatment specialists to 100 patients, to ensure doctors don't spread themselves too thin. Bucshon, a cardiologist, says an increasing number of doctors make addiction treatment their entire practice, and can handle more than that. The bill calls on the Department of Health and Human Services to raise the cap to 200.

The bill would also create a pilot program to let nurses and physicians' assistants prescribe anti-addiction drugs.

The bills are targeting not just the abuse of opioid painkillers, but illegal opioids like heroin. Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-5th) says 80-percent of heroin addicts first get hooked on painkillers, and turn to heroin when they can no longer get a prescription.

The House voted 412-4 for Brooks' bill creating a federal task force to revise recommended guidelines for prescribing those drugs. The Centers for Disease Control already issued a set of guidelines, but Brooks says there needs to be input from the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Pentagon, the Food and Drug Administration, and other federal agencies with a stake on how drugs are prescribed.

Bucshon expects the bills to receive full consideration in the Senate, with a final bill rolling all the proposals into a single package.

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FIGHTING OPIOID ABUSE: House Passes Bipartisan E&C Bill to Review and Update Best Practices on Pain Management

2016/05/11

Rep. Susan Brooks’ H.R. 4641 Will Update Policies on How Pain Medication is Prescribed

WASHINGTON, DC – Continuing the Energy and Commerce Committee’s efforts to combat the growing opioid epidemic, the House of Representatives today passed H.R. 4641, bipartisan legislation offered by committee members Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN) and Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-MA). H.R. 4641 would establish an inter-agency task force to review, modify, and update best practices for pain management and how pain medication is prescribed.

Click HERE to watch Rep. Susan Brooks’ floor speech during debate on H.R. 4641.

“We will hear many more stories today about this harrowing epidemic that has touched every community in every state of our country,” said Rep. Brooks on the House floor. “An epidemic that has exploded in recent years to the point where every 12 minutes someone dies of a drug overdose. By the end of this debate, there will be five fewer people on this earth thanks to an overdose.”

“Abuse of prescription painkillers and heroin has impacted every community. It is an epidemic that has no boundaries and does not discriminate. It’s a frightening reality, but we have to face this epidemic head on, and today is an important step forward,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “I commend Rep. Susan Brooks for her leadership on this important issue, and ensuring that our opioid prescribing practices are reviewed and updated.”

The House is also considering 10 suspension bills today that originated in the Energy and Commerce Committee. A full list of those bills is available here.

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Brooks Bill to Improve Readiness for Biological Threats Examined by House Health Subcommittee

2016-05-19 15:26:36


Rep. Brooks Opening Remarks on Bills to Address the Heroin and Opioid Crisis

2016-05-13 18:52:44


Rep. Brooks Speaks About the Heroin and Opioid Crisis with House GOP Leadership

2016-05-11 18:38:15


Rep. Brooks speaks about efforts to address the heroin and opioid abuse crisis

2016-04-20 19:38:21


Rep. Brooks speaks in honor of Women's History Month

2016-03-30 19:15:19


Rep. Brooks speaks in honor of Howard County Sheriff's Deputy Carl Koontz

2016-03-22 21:18:58


Rep. Brooks Tribute to Coach Jim Belden

2016-03-03 15:24:40


Rep. Brooks Speaks about the Syrian Crisis

2016-03-03 14:44:09


Rep. Brooks Speaks about the Mental Health Crisis and Legislative Solutions

2016-02-25 23:47:30


Outbreaks, Attacks, and Accidents: Combating Biological Threats

2016-02-12 16:52:40


Rep. Brooks Honors the Heroism and Service of Principal Susan Jordan

2016-02-11 18:02:07


Rep. Susan Brooks Speaks During Computer Science Education Week

2016-01-26 22:19:33


Rep. Susan Brooks joins fellow Members of Congress to Roll-Out the Women 2 Women Agenda

2016-01-26 22:17:01


Brooks: EPA Clean Power Plan Means Lost Jobs

2015-12-01 20:28:04


Rep. Brooks: Redouble our Efforts to Destroy ISIS

2015-11-17 18:13:26


Rep. Brooks Speaks in Support of S. 599, the Improving Access to Emergency Psychiatric Care Act

2015-11-16 23:11:08


Rep. Brooks Speaks in Honor of Speaker Boehner

2015-11-04 15:40:38


Rep. Brooks Speaks in Support of HR 623 DHS Social Media Improvement Act

2015-11-04 15:36:09


Rep. Brooks Floor Speech: Iran Nuclear Deal

2015-09-11 16:37:30


Law Enforcement Special Order Floor Speech

2015-09-09 22:16:34


Contact Information

1505 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2276
Fax 202-225-0016
susanbrooks.house.gov

Congresswoman Susan Brooks represents the 5th District of Indiana, which spans eight diverse counties throughout the central part of the Hoosier State. As a new member of Congress, she currently serves on the Education and Workforce, Homeland Security and Ethics Committees. She is also the Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response and Communications.

Her strong background in both the public and private sectors includes experience as a proven difference maker in areas such as public safety, homeland security, counter-terrorism and economic development.

Before joining the House of Representatives, Susan served as Senior Vice President and General Counsel for Ivy Tech Community College. Collaborating with a wide network or stakeholders, she implemented workforce development strategies aiming to enhance job training and placement for thousands of Hoosier residents.

In 2001, President George W. Bush appointed Susan as U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Indiana. Serving as the chief federal law enforcement officer for a majority of the Hoosier state, she received bi-partisan acclaim for efforts to battle mortgage fraud, gun violence, drug trafficking, gangs, child exploitation and identity theft.

Susan also earned recognition as Deputy Mayor of Indianapolis during the Steve Goldsmith administration, where she provided oversight on public safety operations and drove community dialogue on vital civic issues. Over her tenure, she managed police, fire and emergency response efforts while serving on boards related to criminal justice, community corrections, violence reduction and race relations.

Susan practiced law at the Indianapolis firm of Ice Miller and also served as a criminal defense attorney for Indianapolis based McClure, McClure and Kammen.

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Miami University of Ohio, Susan pursued a Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. In May of 2013, Susan was awarded an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Marian University in Indianapolis. She resides in Carmel, Indiana with her husband David and they have two young adult children.


Serving With

Jackie Walorski

INDIANA's 2nd DISTRICT

Marlin Stutzman

INDIANA's 3rd DISTRICT

Todd Rokita

INDIANA's 4th DISTRICT

Luke Messer

INDIANA's 6th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Todd Young

INDIANA's 9th DISTRICT

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