Energy and Commerce

Committee on Energy and Commerce

Greg Walden

ICYMI: Chairman Walden on #FDARA Becoming Law

2017/08/18

Today, President Trump signed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, into law. FDARA is the product of bipartisan and bicameral negotiations that will deliver new cures and therapies, maintain and grow our biopharmaceutical jobs in America, and help speed up the review and approval of new drugs and devices. Highlighting these vital elements, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) made his first post on the committee’s new Medium account to explain why FDARA is a win. [[{"fid":"3121","view_mode":"default","fields":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1","format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1","format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] FDARA is a Win By: Chairman Greg Walden Today, President Trump signed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 into law.  And because it’s likely not one of the health care bills you’ve heard about this year, here’s what you need to know about this bipartisan bill that is now law. FDARA is a win for patients and the millions of Americans working to create new cures and therapies.  The bill is composed of four individual user fee programs, that packaged together will deliver results for patients and ensure we remain the global leader in medical innovation. Throughout the 21st Century Cures process, we heard about cutting-edge medical innovations that were on their way, but just out of reach.  Ensuring these user fee programs are reauthorized will help connect the dots, bringing those innovations to light.  Along with Cures, FDARA will deliver hope to patients desperately waiting for that new treatment or medical device.   It will bring lower-cost generic drug alternatives to patients sooner, helping bring down the cost of these often life-saving medications.  It will also make the cumbersome FDA review process easier, by modernizing clinical trials and ensuring there’s dedicated staff working to develop, review, and deliver treatments for patients with rare diseases. Make no mistake: We do all this while maintaining FDA’s gold standard for patient safety. FDARA is a tremendous win for everyone across the country – the family members and friends who battle disease, the millions of Americans working on the next generation of innovative treatments and medical devices, and our health care system as a whole. At a time when the media is convinced that Congress isn’t working, we’re proving them wrong.  This is a bipartisan victory everyone should be proud of and it ensures this important work continues for years to come, giving patients even more reason to be hopeful. Click HERE to read the post online.   ### Read More

President Trump Signs Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize FDA’s User Fee Programs

2017/08/18

[[{"fid":"3120","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"292","width":"584","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – President Trump today signed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, into law. The House passed the bill last month and the Senate passed the bill earlier this month. H.R. 2430 reauthorizes Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) critical medical product user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools it needs to more efficiently deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments to patients. “We appreciate President Trump signing this critical reauthorization into law,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). “This law will encourage new medical innovations, bring lower cost drugs to market faster, improve the regulatory review process for devices and treatments and, most importantly provide certainty to patients and the health industry. Paired with the implementation of the 21st Century Cures Act, this law continues to deliver much needed hope to patients everywhere.” In April, bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizing FDA’s user fee agreements. The draft followed a series of hearings examining the four individual user fee programs – the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA), the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA). #SubHealth advanced H.R. 2430 by voice vote in May, and passed out of the full committee by a vote of 54-0 in June. ### Read More

ICYMI: Latta and Dingell Tour Self-Driving Vehicle Testing Facility

2017/08/16

#SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), co-sponsors of the SELF-DRIVE Act, recently toured the American Center for Mobility in Michigan, which is under construction to become a testing ground for self-driving vehicles. Ensuring the U.S. continues to be at the forefront in new car safety and technology has been a priority for the subcommittee during the 115th Congress. In July, the committee unanimously approved the SELF-DRIVE Act. This legislation will allow 100,000 self-driving vehicles to be safely deployed under a national safety standard. To learn more about the SELF-DRIVE Act, click here. [[{"fid":"3119","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Legislators Tour Testing Grounds for Self-Driving Cars By: David Patch YPSILANTI, Mich. — Where tens of thousands once toiled to make transmissions for traditional human-driven vehicles — and before that, built World War II bomber planes — a testing ground for automated cars and trucks now is under construction. The American Center for Mobility, a nonprofit corporation established early last year by the state of Michigan, expects a 2½ mile highway test loop across and near the grounds of the former General Motors Willow Run Transmission plant to be ready for use in December. A second test facility representing urban driving conditions is slated for operation starting by the end of next year, and the $110 million project’s plans include future rural, residential, and even off-road test-driving areas. ACM showed off the facility Tuesday to reporters after U.S. Reps. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) and Debbie Dingell (D., Dearborn) toured it and held a news conference to promote it and pending legislation they have co-sponsored to guide the development of national standards for automated vehicles. The bill, approved unanimously (54-0) by the House Energy and Commerce Committee and expected to go to the House of Representatives floor next month, would allow automakers to deploy up to 100,000 self-driving vehicles that wouldn’t need to conform to current auto-safety standards and forbid states to establish performance standards for such vehicles. Manufacturers would still need to certify automated vehicles’ proper function and safety to federal regulators under the bill. “These [automated] vehicles are going to happen, and they’re going to transform mobility in the world,” said Mrs. Dingell, who warned that if the United States doesn’t take the lead, China, India, or western European nations will, “and we are not going to let that happen.” “This is not government-driven” but is rather a collaboration of the private, public, and academic spheres to promote technological innovation and jobs growth in the Midwest, Mr. Latta said. Read the full article online here.   Read More

E&C Leaders Commend Emergency Declaration for Opioid Epidemic

2017/08/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) today issued the following statement after President Trump formally classified the opioid epidemic as a national emergency. "We're glad to see the President throw the full weight of the administration behind efforts we've promoted for several years to help Americans and the communities in which they live confront the deadly and debilitating opioid epidemic. The Energy and Commerce Committee is continuing its work to fund research, reform antiquated federal laws, and provide the help families need."  "The opioid crisis has reached truly epidemic proportions and it will take a national effort to turn the tides. For too long our communities have suffered as we have watched our friends, family, and neighbors impacted, and we commend President Trump for taking this bold action. As the administration ramps up its efforts, the Energy and Commerce Committee will continue to examine new and innovative ways to combat the scourge of opioid abuse across the country." Last Congress, Energy and Commerce investigations led to legislative solutions that ultimately were included in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) and the 21st Century Cures Act. The committee's work continues this Congress, examining the impact of fentanyl on the opioid crisis, as well as opening investigations into allegations of pill dumping, and patient broker schemes.  Read More

REFRESHER: What You Need to Know About FDA’s User Fees in Four Short Videos

2017/08/07

WASHINGTON, DC – Ever heard of an UFA? They’re FDA’s critically important user fee programs. H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 will reauthorize all four user fee programs for five years. They may be filled with wonky acronyms, but they will help foster innovative new treatments and medical devices, help lower the cost of drugs, and deliver hope to patients everywhere. The House passed FDARA unanimously by voice vote in July, and the Senate passed it by a vote of 94-1 last week. Now, it’s headed to President Trump’s desk to be signed into law. Check out these quick videos for a refresher (or to get up to speed on these vital programs) before FDARA becomes law. [[{"fid":"3115","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"303","width":"539","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] All too often, our laws and regulations don’t allow medical advancements to be implemented soon enough. FDARA will help these important innovations reach patients sooner and increase competition in the marketplace. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"3116","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"301","width":"535","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] More than two million Americans work in the medical device sector and more than 4 million Americans work in the biopharmaceutical industry. These are important jobs that we need to keep – and grow – here at home. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"3117","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"298","width":"533","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] FDARA improves the process of reviewing and approving innovative new drugs, which increases competition and helps lower costs across the marketplace. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"3118","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"294","width":"530","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] Anything is possible with today’s medical advancements. Thanks to science, we’ve made the idea of an artificial pancreas a reality, FDARA boosts these important efforts enabling patients to live better and healthier lives. Click HERE to watch the video. ###   Read More

#SubEnergy Chairman Upton on Senate Action to Confirm Two FERC Nominees

2017/08/03

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today issued the following statement after the Senate confirmed two of President Trump’s nominees to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). “I applaud the Senate for taking action today and finally restoring a quorum at FERC. Now FERC can get back to its work of licensing interstate natural gas pipelines, liquified natural gas terminals, and hydropower projects,” said Chairman Upton. “I look forward to working with the commissioners as the committee continues its work on behalf of consumers to promote competitive electricity markets and modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure for the 21st century.” Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Subcommittee Chairman Upton sent a letter to the president in March urging him to swiftly fill the FERC vacancies. ### Read More

Senate Follows House, Passes Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize FDA’s User Fee Programs

2017/08/03

[[{"fid":"3114","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"234","width":"447","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate today passed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, by a vote of 94-1, following the House’s passage of the bill last month. H.R. 2430 reauthorizes the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) critical medical product user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools it needs to more efficiently deliver safe and effective drugs and devices to patients. “Working together, House and Senate Republicans and Democrats brought forth a bill to reauthorize these important programs, putting patients first and their hope for new treatments within reach,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). “This bill is a win for patients and the millions of Americans working to develop our next generation of cures and therapies. We applaud the Senate’s swift action in passing this vital bill, and urge President Trump to sign it into law.” In April, bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizing FDA’s user fee agreements. The draft followed a series of hearings examining the four individual user fee programs – the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA), the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA). #SubHealth advanced H.R. 2430 by voice vote in May, and passed out of the full committee by a vote of 54-0 in June. FDARA passed the House by voice vote on July 12, 2017. ### Read More

Chairman Walden Highlights Committee’s Bipartisan Progress on Safe Drinking Water

2017/08/01

Just last week, the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously approved H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act – legislation that seeks to bring greater investment to the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure. Following committee approval, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) highlighted many of the benefits of H.R. 3387 in the East Oregonian. “Our bill, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, continues those important investments and authorizes $8 billion over five years for the drinking water fund while also expanding the number of ways in which the fund can be used to improve delivery systems,” wrote Walden. “Perhaps most important is how the bill looks to the future, using smart technology to monitor drinking water quality in real time.” On March 16, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country. On May 19, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing on a discussion draft of the legislation. On July 13, 2017, #SubEnvironment advanced H.R. 3387 to the full committee by voice vote. On July 27, 2017, the full committee unanimously approved H.R. 3387. [[{"fid":"3113","view_mode":"default","fields":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Walden: Making bipartisan progress on safe drinking water By: Rep. Greg Walden All of us in Oregon and across the country deserve access to safe, clean drinking water. That’s why the Energy and Commerce Committee — where I serve as chairman — just passed bipartisan legislation to modernize the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. Today, drinking water flows to our homes and businesses through more than one million miles of pipes operated by both publicly and privately owned water systems. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with an expected lifespan of 75 to 100 years. In fact, some communities in Oregon still rely on wood stave water pipes that are reaching the end of their life. While in most places drinking water quality remains high, we also have seen horrible problems from Flint, Michigan to drinking fountains in Oregon schools. Our legislation focuses on addressing drinking water systems’ physical needs, aiding states and utilities with compliance and operation of the drinking water program, and encouraging the wisest use of money that is spent. For the last 20 years, Congress has helped drinking water delivery systems meet the challenge of providing consumers with safe and affordable water through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund. From the end of 1997 through 2016, Oregon has received more than $274 million in grants to help improve the safety and quality of tap water, comply with drinking water rules and reporting requirements, and give a helping hand to the most economically distressed communities struggling to provide their residents safe drinking water. This fiscal year, Oregon is set to receive nearly $12 million in funding to improve its water systems. Many rural communities across Oregon struggle with failing infrastructure and a limited ability to afford these increasingly costly projects. They turn to the drinking water fund for help. In Malheur County, rural communities such as Vale and Nyssa are completing new water treatment and storage facilities to bring safe drinking water to their residents. In Umatilla County, the city of Pendleton is upgrading more than 30 miles of water lines that are nearly a century old — Mayor John Turner said this project would be impossible without the program. Our bill, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, continues those important investments and authorizes $8 billion over five years for the drinking water fund while also expanding the number of ways in which the fund can be used to improve delivery systems… Read the full article online HERE. ### Read More

Latta on 2028 Olympic Games Coming to U.S.

2017/07/31

WASHINGTON, DC – Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) today issued the following statement following the announcement that the 2028 Olympic Games will be coming to Los Angeles, California. “I am pleased that again the Olympic Games are returning to the United States, this time to Los Angeles in 2028,” said Latta. “The Olympics have served as the highest ideal of sport, showcasing the struggle and dedication athletes endure for the opportunity to represent their respective countries in front of the world. The sportsmanship and respectful competition of the Olympics gives us all an example for which to strive in our daily lives, and I know our athletes will make these Games on their home soil even more meaningful to the American people. I look forward to working to do our part to ensure that the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles are the best in history.” The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over domestic and International sports matters, has long celebrated the positive roles sports can play and in particular has had a long-standing focus on integrity and safety at all levels. ###  Read More

54-0

2017/07/27

[[{"fid":"3110","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today approved seven committee bills including H.R. 3388, Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution Act or the “SELF DRIVE Act.” Passing with unanimous bipartisan support at 54-0, this legislation will prioritize consumer safety, reduce traffic-related fatalities, and clarify federal and state roles around emerging automated vehicle technologies. With traffic fatalities on the rise, E&C members recognize the life-saving potential of self-driving cars and the opportunity it presents to prevent thousands of crash-related deaths. To date, the subcommittee has held three hearings pertaining to the topic of self-driving bills including the potential of this technology and timeframe for deployment, the benefits of driver assistance systems, and discussion drafts of 14 self-driving bills that outlined member priorities incorporated into today’s final legislation. H.R. 3388, the SELF DRIVE Act, passed the committee by a vote of 54-0 and will; advances safety by prioritizing the protection of consumers, re-affirms the roles and responsibilities of federal and state governments, updates the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) to account for advances in technology and evolution of highly automated vehicles (HAVs), and maximizes opportunities for research and development here in the U.S. to create jobs  and grow economic opportunities so that that the U.S can remain a global leader in this industry. Speaking to the bipartisan nature of today’s legislation, Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta said, “The Subcommittee has had over 250 meetings this year alone, with the autos, the disability community, seniors, tech companies, trade associations, suppliers, State transportation leaders, and last but not least NHTSA...Safety should be, and will always be, our number one priority. I truly believe this bill will make a real difference for everyday Americans.” “I truly believe the bipartisan bill-drafting process for self-driving legislation is an example of our committee at its best – working together to pursue the common goal of saving lives,” said Full Committee Chairman Walden. “Our aim was to develop a regulatory structure that allows for industry to safely innovate with significant government oversight – as safety must be the chief priority.  And I believe today’s legislation strikes that critical balance.”  For a list of all seven bills considered today, click HERE. Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. Read More

Full Cmte Unanimously Approves Bipartisan Legislation to Modernize Drinking Water Infrastructure

2017/07/27

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today approved seven committee bills, one of which is H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act. H.R. 3387 seeks to bring greater investment in the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance by our drinking water delivery systems. Drinking water is delivered across the country via one million miles of pipes owned by both private and public water systems. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. While drinking water quality remains high across the country, improvements can be made and #SubEnvironment has been proactively working to address these issues in a bipartisan manner. H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, authored by committee member Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) passed the committee by voice vote. H.R. 3387, would; Authorize $8 billion over 5 years for the drinking water revolving loan fund program. Open the eligible uses of the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to now cover costs associated with preconstruction activities and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities. Create a strategic plan to have an electronic system that allows water utilities to send their compliance data to states, and states then send the data to EPA. Reauthorize funding for voluntary source water protection programs. Encourage more readable and understandable consumer confidence reports and solidifies their electronic distribution. For more information on the bill, click here. “Safe drinking water for our constituents is a goal we can all agree should be a priority for Congress,” commented Rep. Harper. “The Drinking Water Systems Improvement Act builds on the work of previous Congresses to make the Safe Drinking Water Act better for our constituents. I look forward to continuing our work on these issues.” When discussing the bipartisan Manager’s Amendment, #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) commented, “Both sides needed to make not just difficult decisions but hard choices…The amendment before us will advance infrastructure and move us towards more modern drinking water systems…The amendment is not perfect but it is a step forward and worthy of member support.” “Moving a serious reauthorization of any major environmental law, like the Safe Drinking Water Act, takes a lot of cooperation and willingness to talk out the issues and find common ground,” concluded Chairman Walden. “That common ground brought us to where we are today. H.R. 3387 focuses on three main principles: increasing funding to address drinking water systems’ physical needs, aiding states and utilities with compliance and operation of the drinking water program, and encouraging the wisest use of money that is spent.” On March 16, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country. On May 19, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing on a discussion draft of the legislation. On July 13, 2017, #SubEnvironment advanced H.R. 3387 to the full committee by voice vote. ### Read More

#FullCmte Passes Five #SubHealth Bills to Advance Public Health

2017/07/27

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today marked up seven bipartisan bills. Five of the bills originated from #SubHealth, and will advance public health. The #FullCmte also considered bills from #SubDCCP and #SubEnvironment. “Today, we advanced seven bipartisan, commonsense bills. Cumulatively, these bills represent this committee’s dedication to advancing thoughtful solutions that put American consumers and patients first, and exemplify our dedication to work across the aisle on things we agree on,” said Chairman Walden. Advancing the #FullCmte today were: H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 767 passed #FullCmte, as amended, by voice vote. H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, authored by #SubHealth Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care that will allow both sectors to benefit from the others’ expertise and experience. H.R. 880 passed #FullCmte, as amended, by voice vote. H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. H.R. 931 passed #FullCmte by voice vote. H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs along with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s grants to states to support oral health workforce activities. H.R. 2422 passed #FullCmte by voice vote. H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), would help improve consumer access to nutritional information in a way that works for customers and businesses. H.R. 772 passed #FullCmte, as amended by a vote of 39-14. For a list of all seven bills considered today, click HERE. Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. ### Read More

Energy and Commerce Committee Vote on H.R. 767; H.R. 772; H.R. 880; H.R. 931; H.R. 2422; H.R. 3387; and H.R. 3388

2017/07/27

[[{"fid":"3099","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

#SubHealth Discusses Bipartisan Legislation Extending Medicare Advantage’s Special Needs Plans

2017/07/26

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing examining the extension of Special Needs Plans (SNPs) under Medicare Advantage. Kicking off the hearing, #SubHealth Chairman Burgess highlighted the bipartisan support for SNPs, saying the provide "comprehensive, coordinated care to about two million Medicare beneficiaries." Chairman Burgess also stated the subcommittee's goals in improving SNPs for dual eligibles, since the vast majority of SNP enrollees are enrolled in both Medicarea and Medicaid. A copy of the discussion draft considered is available here. “Duals often have multiple chronic conditions, physical disabilities, and cognitive impairments such as dementia, developmental disabilities, and mental illness,” said Chairman Burgess. “Yet, too often, these very beneficiaries are forced to navigate two government programs with benefit structures, rules, and incentives that are often less than simple and intuitive.” Ms. Melanie Bella, Consultant and Former Director, Federal Coordinated Health Care Office, CMS, reinforced the differences in the programs and urged more coordinated care, saying, “As the number of people who rely on both programs grows and with annual costs exceeding $350 billion, there is an increasing need to align these programs. Today, the majority of Medicare-Medicaid enrollees are not in programs that integrate their Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Medicare covers acute care needs, such as hospitalization and post-acute care, and prescription drugs. Medicaid provides supplemental benefits, particularly long-term care supports and services, and helps with Medicare premiums and cost-sharing as well as in the financing of prescription drugs via the Part D ‘clawback.’ The lack of alignment between the two programs can lead to fragmented care, cost shifting, inefficient spending, and poor outcomes.” Dr. Lawrence Atkins, President, National MLTSS Health Plan Association, testified in support of the discussion draft stating, “We encourage the committee to further consider allowing states that enroll dually-eligible individuals in Medicaid managed care to require those dual members to receive all of their benefits from a plan that fully integrates Medicare and Medicaid services…” Mr. Chris Wing, CEO, SCAN Health Plan, concluded his opening statement by remarking on the important nature of today’s hearing, saying, “The legislation you are considering is hugely important and holds the potential to make life better for millions.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

#SubEnergy Holds Second Hearing in “Powering America” Series

2017/07/26

[[{"fid":"3102","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held its second hearing as part of its recently announced “Powering America” series. Last week, #SubEnergy kicked off the series with a review of electricity markets. Today, subcommittee members heard from all seven Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent Service Operators (ISOs) to get their take on the status of wholesale electricity markets. [[{"fid":"3103","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] #SubEnergy Chair Upton listens to witnesses deliver their opening statements “Americans have come to expect that electricity will always be available when it’s needed, and it is the role of the grid operators to make sure that this expectation is always met,” said #SubEnergy Chairman Upton. “RTOs and ISOs play a vital role in the delivery of power from the generator to the consumer, but it’s a role largely outside the public’s view. By operating and dispatching the transmission system 24/7, the grid operators must ensure that supply and demand is continually kept in balance.” Members and the panel of witnesses discussed the evolving state of electricity markets, protecting the grid against both physical and cyberattacks, and the shifting ways electricity is being generated and consumed across the country. [[{"fid":"3104","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Representatives from all seven RTOs/ISOs listen to member opening statements Nick Brown, President and CEO of Southwest Power Pool, discussed the challenges of wind power generation and what needs to be done to successfully integrate it into markets, commenting, “Such rapid and substantial integration of wind into our system comes with many challenges, including dramatic swings in wind output of 10,000 MW in less than 24 hours, and significant and sudden loss of wind generation due to icing and uncertainties inherent to wind forecasting. … Successful integration of wind and other renewable and variable energy resources is dependent on enabling transmission infrastructure, consolidated balancing authorities, and effective market processes.” Keith Casey, Vice President of Market and Infrastructure Development for the California Independent System Operator Corporation, discussed some of the challenges with the transformation of the electric grid, stating, “Notwithstanding the success of the California ISO’s markets and infrastructure development processes, there remain significant challenges to enable the transformation of the electric grid. Two significant challenges are 1) to maintain resources needed for essential reliability services during the transformation of the electric grid and 2) to ensure the infrastructure needed to access a more diverse set of resources across the West to satisfy state renewable portfolio standards. Richard Doying, Executive Vice President, Operations, for Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc., spoke to the dramatic changes in electricity generation in the MISO region, commenting, “In the MISO region, which has historically been heavily reliant on coal-fired electricity generation, the impacts have been noticeable. For example, while coal-fired generation supplied 76% of the region’s electricity production as recently as 2005, that figure has fallen to just 46% today. Conversely, while gas supplied just 7% of the region’s energy in 2005, it supplies about 27% today. And renewable, which were essentially at 0%, are at 8% and growing rapidly today.” Gordon van Welie, President and CEO at ISO New England, echoed Mr. Doying’s comments on the transformation in the way electricity is generated, stating,“New England has made many operational and market-based changes to meet the needs of the region. However, we are fully immersed in a major transformation of how electricity is produced and consumed in New England. Market forces and public policy decisions are impacting both operations and markets, and require solutions in order to fully realize their reliability, economic and environmental potential.” Craig Glazer, Vice President of Federal Government Policy at PJM Interconnection, LLC., spoke to the importance of ensuring market-based solutions when it comes to the shift in sources of electricity generation, stating, “At PJM we believe that market-based solutions are a preferable means to address these issues rather than regulators or legislators guessing as to the ideal energy mix for the future, picking winners and losers and potentially creating new ‘stranded costs’ to be paid by customers if those regulatory guesses don’t pan out.” Bradley C. Jones, President and CEO at the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO), discussed NYISO’s efforts to protect the grid against cyberattacks, “As the systems that control and monitor the power grid become more advanced and interconnected, the scope of physical and cyber security concerns expands. … The NYISO implements the cyber and physical security standards as part of a layered “’defense in depth’ posture that seeks to defend its critical infrastructure assets from incursions… For just one example, we conduct annual desk-top Grid-Ex cyber attack simulations to test our coordinated response capability with grid operators and our partners in national security and law enforcement.” Cheryl Mele, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), Inc., also discussed efforts to protect the grid against physical and cyberattacks, commenting, “ERCOT maintains a dedicated and integrated cyber/physical security organization and an established strategy for prevention of security breaches – and for response and resilience if they occur…Cyber-threats are fast moving and increasingly sophisticated. Because of these characteristics, information sharing is key in assessment and response… In addressing these modern and ever-evolving threats, ERCOT remains committed to collaboration with relevant government agencies, the industry, and national labs to enhance its and the industry’s security posture.” [[{"fid":"3105","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Chairman Walden delivers his opening statement “Even though many Americans may not understand the complexities of wholesale electricity markets, one thing most Americans do understand is their electricity bill that arrives in their mailbox each month. The goal of this committee, and I think of the grid operators, is to make sure that consumers are always coming out as winners. If we keep this goal in mind when making important policy decisions, I am confident that the U.S. electricity system will continue to thrive and flourish and meet the needs of all Americans,” concluded full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). For more information on the committee’s #PoweringAmerica series, click HERE. A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE. ### Read More

Examining the Extension of Special Needs Plans

2017/07/26

[[{"fid":"3087","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Powering America: A Review of the Operation and Effectiveness of the Nation’s Wholesale Electricity Markets

2017/07/26

[[{"fid":"3086","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

MARKUP: E&C to Consider Seven Bills from #SubDCCP, #SubEnvironment, and #SubHealth

2017/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a full committee markup on Thursday, July 27, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building to consider legislation that will protect consumers on roadways, modernize the nation’s drinking water infrastructure, and advance public health. “From commonsense policies to advance our public health efforts and to grant small businesses flexibility in how they share nutritional information, Thursday will be an important day for patients and consumers,” said Chairman Walden. “We’ll look at bipartisan self-driving legislation that prioritizes consumer safety, reduces traffic-related fatalities, and clarifies federal and state roles. We’ll also consider important legislation that seeks to bring greater investment in the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure to modernize our drinking water delivery systems.” To be considered from #SubHealth: H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), would help improve consumer access to nutritional information in a way that works for customers and businesses H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 767 passed #SubHealth, by voice vote. H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, authored by Dr. Burgess, establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care that will allow both sectors to benefit from the others’ expertise and experience. H.R. 880 passed #SubHealth, by voice vote. H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. H.R. 931 passed #SubHealth, by voice vote. H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs along with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s grants to states to support oral health workforce activities. H.R. 2422 passed #SubHealth, by voice vote. To be considered from #SubDCCP: H.R. 3388, DECAL Act, authored by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), would make our nation’s roadways safer by facilitating a common language for educating consumers about the technologies and capabilities of different self-driving vehicles to protect consumers, foster innovation, increase mobility, and boost research and development.  During the markup, the committee will consider an amendment in the nature of a substitute to the DECAL Act to address the many issues discussed during the subcommittee markup. To be considered from #SubEnvironment:   H.R. 3387, the Drinking Water System improvement Act, authored by Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS), would authorize $8 billion over 5 years for the drinking water revolving loan fund program, expand the eligible uses of Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to cover the costs associated with preconstruction activities and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities, create a strategic plan to have an electronic system that allows water utilities to send their compliance data to states and states send it to EPA. H.R.3387 passed #SubEnvironment by voice vote. “These bipartisan bills are big wins for the American people and are just one more example as to how our committee is working hard to put the people’s priorities first,” added Chairman Walden. Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website HERE. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. Read More

House Passes Critical Bill Aligning Policies to Ensure Access to Home Infusion

2017/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 3178, the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017, by voice vote. H.R. 3178 makes several improvements to the Medicare program, primarily to the delivery of home dialysis services and infusion therapy. Specifically, under the 21st Century Cures Act (Cures), the way Medicare reimburses for the acquisition of home infusion drugs changed, beginning this year. Cures also created a new benefit to reimburse for the needed education services associated with educating Medicare beneficiaries on home infusion services, beginning in 2021. As passed today, H.R. 3178 creates a temporary payment to bridge these two important policies to ensure beneficiaries have access to home infusion so these very vulnerable beneficiaries do not need to travel while also ensuring Medicare is reimbursing at a proper level for the benefit of beneficiaries and taxpayers. “This is another bipartisan win for patients, and passage of this bill will address potential issues that may have arisen in the four-year gap between needed payment reform and this new educational benefit,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “I have worked all year with my friend and colleague, Chairman Brady, on this bipartisan legislation to ensure this important benefit remains available to beneficiaries while also making several additional improvements to the Medicare program. I thank Chairman Brady for his collaboration and work on this critical bill, and ensuring we move it forward for patients.” ### Read More

#SubCommTech Talks FCC Reauthorization and Importance of Broadband Deployment

2017/07/25

[[{"fid":"3089","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today held a hearing to discuss the agency’s effort to facilitate broadband deployment and streamline regulations to better reflect the realities of the internet age.  FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioners Mignon Clyburn and Michael O’Rielly joined the subcommittee to provide an update on the agency’s work over the course of the last several months. Opening up the hearing, Chairman Blackburn reiterated the importance in reauthorizing, and reforming the FCC stating, “The FCC has not been reauthorized since 1990 and its current appropriation is over 430 million dollars.  It is charged with administration of the Communications Act and other statutes vital to the functioning of our communications policy.  We must reexamine the core functions of the Commission and restore a culture of humility that was lacking under the regulatory cloud left by Chairman Wheeler.” [[{"fid":"3090","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] The three FCC Commissioners testify before the Communications & Technology Subcommittee. In his testimony, FCC Commissioner O’Rielly discussed the need to expand broadband opportunities to more Americans, while also touching on some of the barriers to deployment. “To succeed at this next challenge, wireless providers are going to need two important ingredients: access to a sufficient mix of spectrum bands and reduced barriers to the installation of wireless equipment. While the Commission has been actively reallocating existing bands for mobile purposes -- with hopefully more to come -- there remains obstacles imposed by state, local and tribal governments that are hampering the ability of providers to serve Americans.” He continued, “For example, some governmental entities are delaying approval of wireless siting based on illegitimate reasons, such as aesthetics and RF, and using their powers to ensure maximum revenue generation.” When asked by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) about whether or not mobile broadband can fulfil the gaps in some unserved areas across our country, Commissioner Clyburn said, “Mobile broadband is definitely necessary…especially in those households where they can only afford one connection.” She continued, “Mobile broadband has to be front and center, which is why we are moving to the next phase of a mobility fund… We need to go where the people are. Over 300 million of us have mobile connectivity but it is [connectivity] not all created equal.”   [[{"fid":"3091","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Click here or on the image above to view this video. Also echoing the importance of improving broadband connectivity, Chairman Pai expressed similar sentiments on the agency’s commitment to furthering this priority. In an exchange with Rep. Dave Loebsack (D-IA), Chairman Pai relayed his personal connectivity problems when traveling between Madelia, Minnesota and Sioux City, Iowa. “… I mean how many times I had to mention to my colleague in the car, ‘Oh, we’re just going to have to talk now because we have the inability to check emails or make phone calls and the like. It was really a gap, and that was just for our own convenience. Imagine if you’re a patient who needs to make a 911 call or imagine if you’re a farmer whose productivity depends on having precision agriculture, which in turn relies on connectivity. Those are the connections that really do matter, so [improving connectivity] isn’t just a professional interest for me or my colleagues but it’s a personal interest for me as a rural American to make sure that your constituents and all rural Americans get that connectivity.” Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden announced during his opening remarks that a Full Committee hearing entitled, “Ground Rules for the Internet Ecosystem” would be scheduled for Thursday, September 7 at 10 a.m. in 2123 of Rayburn House Office Building.  Underscoring the necessity of the upcoming September hearing, Chairman Walden concluded today’s opening statement by saying, “…Chairman Pai has commenced a proceeding to examine returning the regulation of the internet to the bipartisan framework that made it the economic engine that it is. As we wait for this process to take its course, the future of the greatest economic engine of modern times is clouded by uncertainty, with a growing recognition that the time is now for legislative action. We offered a way forward on net neutrality in 2015. I believe now, as I did then, that we should work together to write bipartisan legislation to protect the internet from bad actors who want to use their unfair advantage to block, throttle or in other ways engage in bad behavior. The American people deserve no less.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. Read More

Oversight and Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission

2017/07/25

[[{"fid":"3085","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Latta on Nomination of Ann Marie Buerkle as Chairman of CPSC

2017/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) issued the following statement today after Hon. Ann Marie Buerkle was nominated to serve as the Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “I am pleased to see that Acting Chairwoman Ann Marie Buerkle has been formally announced as the nominee for the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). This agency has one of the most important functions in society, as it must prioritize the protection of consumers while ensuring the safety of products on the market. I am confident in Chairwoman Buerkle’s ability to lead this agency and look forward to working with her to improve the lives of American consumers and business owners.” Read More

#FullCmte to Hold Hearing with Leading Edge Providers and ISPs on Ground Rules for Internet

2017/07/25

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) announced a Full Committee hearing entitled, “Ground Rules for the Internet Ecosystem” on Thursday, September 7 at 10 a.m. in 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Walden made the announcement during opening statements at today’s hearing called “Oversight and Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission.” Following the announcement, the Committee sent invitations to CEOs of leading tech companies, including Facebook, Alphabet, Amazon, and Netflix and broadband providers including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Charter Communications, requesting they testify before the full committee. “A strong consensus is forming across party lines and across industries that it’s time for Congress to call a halt on the back-and-forth and set clear net neutrality ground rules for the internet,” said Chairman Walden. “In some form or another, we have been working for at least 20 years on the intertwined goals of incentivizing the huge investments needed to connect Americans, while keeping the internet open and protecting consumer privacy.  With almost everyone in agreement about fundamental principles to prevent anti-competitive behavior such as throttling and blocking, I think we are closer than ever to achieving a lasting resolution. The time has come to get everyone to the table and get this figured out.” Chairman Blackburn agreed adding, “The last FCC, at the behest of President Obama, pushed far beyond its legal authority to create an unstable set of mandates and a mountain of unanswered questions. The ensuing drama has benefitted certain interest groups but has been detrimental for American innovators and consumers, whose experience and reliance on the Internet are diminished by the lack of clear and predictable rules. Like Title II classification, the inflammatory rhetoric is unsustainable, so it has been encouraging to see a change in tone from some quarters and willingness to work with Congress to bring needed certainty to all participants in the internet economy. I expect this hearing will create an opportunity for fruitful discussions and a real solution.”       Read More

Digital Recap

2017/07/21

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The committee kicked off the week with two of our very own members taking over the committee’s Instagram account. The big week continued, as the committee had 6 energy bills pass the House Floor that will advance our nation’s energy infrastructure. Our hearing schedule was jam packed, with #SubOversight as the first hearing of the week where members discussed challenges of the 340 B Program and #SubEnergy kicked off its “Powering America” series with a hearing on electricity markets. On Wednesday, #SubDCCP unanimously passed bipartisan self-driving legislation that prioritizes consumer protection while fostering innovation. We wrapped up the week with a #SubHealth hearing on 11 bipartisan bills to strengthen Medicare. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"3078","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] The committee had a jam-packed week, which included hearings before #SubOversight,  #SubEnergy, and #SubHealth, in addition to a #SubDCCP markup. [[{"fid":"3079","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) began the week with the first “Instagram Takeover” of the year. He concluded by snapping a picture of his own wrap-up video. Check out his Takeover here. [[{"fid":"3080","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] The committee debuted two GIFs this week, including this one above in honor of the ongoing #PoweringAmerica series. Check out the other gif here. [[{"fid":"3081","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] On Wednesday, #SubDCCP unanimously passed bipartisan self-driving legislation that will advance safety while encouraging innovation. [[{"fid":"3084","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"7"}}]] Miss the #SubDCCP subcommittee markup? Check out this minute-long bipartisan recap here. [[{"fid":"3083","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"6"}}]] Vice-Chairman of the committee, Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), also took over the committee’s Instagram account this week. His recap even included some delicious pecan pie before his flight back home!     Read More

#SubHealth Reviews Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Medicare

2017/07/20

[[{"fid":"3076","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing examining 11 bipartisan bills that would improve Medicare. “Each of these policies exemplifies our shared commitment to strengthening the Medicare program for current beneficiaries, and improving it for future generations,” said Chairman Burgess. Dr. Brett Kissela, Chair, Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Cincinnati Gardner Neuroscience Institute, spoke on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology in support of H.R. 1148, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine (FAST) Act of 2017. Dr. Kissla stated, “This legislation, if enacted, would allow Medicare beneficiaries with acute stroke to receive the most efficient and effective care, which will save lives and reduce the number of those who survive with costly post-stroke disability.” [[{"fid":"3077","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] #SubHealth’s 11 witnesses beginning to offer testimony. Ms. Lisa Bardach, Speech-Language Pathologist, ALS of Michigan, spoke in support of H.R. 2465, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017, and highlighted how legislation to address Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) has evolved, sharing stories about patients who have relied on communication devices to share messages ranging from the simplest to the most serious. Ms. Bardach testified, “The Steve Gleason Act of 2015 removed SGDs from the category of capped rental and reinstated them in the category of frequently purchased equipment. Simply put, it ensured that beneficiaries would have access to their necessary and personalized communication technology, even in the event of residence in nursing home, hospital, or hospice. The Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act of 2017 will remove the sunset date, protecting extremely vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries from ever having to relinquish their only means of communication.” Ms. Mary Grealy, President, Healthcare Leadership Council, spoke in support of H.R. 849, the Protecting Seniors Access to Medicare Act, bipartisan legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) created under Obamacare. While the board has not been filled, the HHS Secretary still has the authority to carry out cuts to vital services. Speaking about the bipartisan support for repealing IPAB, Ms. Grealy said, “Nearly 800 organizations representing patients, health care providers, seniors, employers, veterans, Americans with disabilities, and others are asking Congress to do away with the Independent Payment Advisory Board before harm is done to Medicare beneficiaries. …Fortunately, there is bipartisan legislation pending before Congress to do exactly what these hundreds of organizations are requesting.” In an exchange with Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) about what the effects of IPAB would be, Ms. Grealy answered, “The number one effect will be to reduce access to care for Medicare beneficiaries.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

Examining Bipartisan Legislation to Improve the Medicare Program

2017/07/20

[[{"fid":"3048","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

ICYMI: Bipartisan Self-Driving Legislation Unanimously Sails Through Subcommittee

2017/07/20

[[{"fid":"3065","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click here or on the image above to watch the video. WASHINGTON, DC – The Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee has been hard at work this year, holding dozens of open and bipartisan meetings with stakeholders from across the country. After months of negotiations, the subcommittee arrived at landmark bipartisan self-driving legislation that provides guidance in four critically important issues surrounding this industry including: protecting consumers, fostering innovation, increasing mobility and boosting research and development. Yesterday, the subcommittee unanimously passed this self-driving legislation out of subcommittee markup. Next stop: Full Committee Markup. Check out some of our headlines below for a quick recap on this landmark legislation. [[{"fid":"3066","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"126","width":"363","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Bloomberg: Self-Driving Cars Get Boost with Unanimous Vote by House Panel [[{"fid":"3067","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"262","width":"258","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Associated Press: Panel approves bill to boost testing of self-driving cars   [[{"fid":"3068","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"117","width":"275","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Axios: Self-driving car bill moves forward [[{"fid":"3069","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"123","width":"505","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Reuters: U.S. House panel approves broad proposal on self-driving cars   [[{"fid":"3070","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"114","width":"346","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"6"}}]] Wired: Congress Finally Gets Serious About Regulating Self-Driving Cars   [[{"fid":"3071","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"7"}}]] The Hill: House subcommittee approves self-driving car legislation   [[{"fid":"3072","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"110","width":"293","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"8"}}]] Futurism: First Ever US Legislation on Self-Driving Cars Comes to the House   [[{"fid":"3073","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"237","width":"239","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"9"}}]] Energy & Environment News: House panel Oks first-ever bill to promote self-driving bills   [[{"fid":"3074","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"10":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"85","width":"436","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"10"}}]] Politico Pro: House panel Oks driverless car bill   [[{"fid":"3075","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"11":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"style":"height: 252px; width: 250px;","class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"11"}}]] CQ Roll Call: House Panel Backs Rules Exemptions for Self-Driving Cars     Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Extending MA’s Special Needs Plans

2017/07/19

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Wednesday, July 26, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining the Extension of Special Needs Plans.” #SubHealth will examine extending specialized Medicare Advantage plans, known as Special Needs Plans (SNPs). These plans are a subcategory of coordinated care plans that limit their enrollment to one of three categories of Medicare beneficiaries with special needs: dual-eligible beneficiaries, residents of a nursing home, and beneficiaries with certain chronic or disabling conditions. “Members have been working on legislative solutions to increase efficiency and improve access to high-quality health care for elderly patients living in poverty or with a chronic illness, and some good steps have been taken in this space,” said Chairman Burgess. “We look forward to building on this important and bipartisan work. Patients and seniors are depending on it.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

House Passes Two Energy Bills to Advance Nation’s Energy infrastructure

2017/07/19

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed two energy bills that seek to advance the nation’s energy infrastructure through targeted reforms to the federal government’s permitting and siting policies for oil and natural gas pipelines. Yesterday, the House advanced four additional committee bills aimed at boosting America’s hydropower infrastructure, energy security, and providing states and local communities flexibility when it comes to implementing EPA’s onerous ozone standards. The House today passed the following bills: H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, authored by committee members Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Rep. Gene Green (D-TX), would; Replace the Presidential Permitting approval needed before constructing an oil and gas pipeline or electric transmission line that crosses a border with Canada or Mexico with a more transparent, efficient, and effective review process. Reestablish Congress’ authority and promotes the value of trade between the U.S. and our North American allies which exceeded $140 billion in 2015. H.R. 2883 passed the House by a vote of 254-175. “The United States is an energy powerhouse around the world. We want to keep it that way. We want our country to compete freely in the global markets and continue to positively benefit our economy,” stated Rep. Mullin. “The construction of these border-crossing facilities should be done effectively – without getting caught up in our nation’s politics. This bipartisan piece of legislation allows a transparent and efficient process to be followed the same way every time for every project.” H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, authored by committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), would; Address the critical need to expand and modernize the nation’s natural gas pipeline infrastructure by promoting more timely and efficient reviews. Strengthen FERC’s lead agency role and bring greater certainty, accountability, and transparency to the siting process for interstate natural gas pipelines. H.R. 2910 passed the House by a vote of 248-179. “Thanks to the shale energy revolution, America is one of the world’s top producers of natural gas. While our nation’s families and industrial and manufacturing bases rely on this abundant fuel source, some areas of the country lack necessary pipeline infrastructure. This lack of infrastructure leads to unnecessarily inflated costs for electricity for both consumers and job creators,” said Rep. Flores. “The Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act will allow us to fully harness this environmentally friendly, affordable and abundant resource by bringing greater transparency and accountability to the natural gas permitting process for interstate pipelines. These improvements encourage a more robust and reliable pipeline infrastructure system, which in turn will deliver clean, affordable natural gas to hardworking American families.” “Our focus has been and will continue to be building America’s energy infrastructure, creating jobs, and strengthening our economy. H.R. 2910 and 2883 are important pieces of legislation that will streamline the permitting process for building energy infrastructure which in turn strengthens our economy, creates jobs, and increases our energy security,” added #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). ### Read More

#SubDCCP Members Unanimously Advance Self-Driving Legislation During Markup

2017/07/19

[[{"fid":"3062","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a markup to advance groundbreaking bipartisan self-driving legislation that will prioritize safety while encouraging innovation. This draft legislation passed out of the subcommittee by voice vote. Statistics show us that there were more than 35,000 traffic fatalities on U.S. roadways in 2015. If 2016 estimates are confirmed, it marks the first time in almost a decade that more than 40,000 people have died in traffic accidents in a single year. Recognizing the life-saving potential of self-driving vehicles —and the need to reduce fatalities—the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection subcommittee has taken the lead in the House to draft legislation that addresses these concerns. Today’s draft legislation provides guidance on four critically important issues surrounding this rapidly-evolving industry including: protecting consumers, fostering innovation, increasing mobility and boosting research and development.  Speaking to the urgency in advancing this legislation, Chairman Latta relayed, “Why is all of this important?  One word: Safety. We don’t have to accept a world where millions of accidents and thousands of fatalities on the roadway are a necessary evil of driving. In a nation of over 320 million, each year approximately 6 million Americans are involved in vehicular accidents, resulting in nearly 2 million injuries.” [[{"fid":"3063","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) concluded, “For Americans to enjoy the benefits that self-driving cars have to offer, we must develop an appropriate regulatory structure that SAFELY allows industry to innovate.  We want aggressive oversight of the industry, but with the flexibility needed to test and generate the safest and most affordable technologies possible. There is an important balance we must strike, and I believe this legislation does just that.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.   Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R. ___, Staff Draft on Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment

2017/07/19

[[{"fid":"3053","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

House Advances FOUR Energy and Commerce Committee Energy Bills

2017/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed four Energy and Commerce Committee bills aimed at boosting America’s hydropower infrastructure, energy security, and providing states and local communities flexibility when it comes to implementing EPA’s onerous ozone standards. The House today passed the following bills: H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would; Provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. Ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while making improvements to air quality. For a fact sheet on the bill, click HERE. H.R. 806 passed the House by a vote of 229-199. In his remarks on the floor, Rep. Olson commented, “This bill is about listening to our regulators back home. It is about giving our local officials the tools they need to make air rules work. It’s about making sure that communities aren’t penalized for pollution they can’t control. It’s about making sure that when EPA sets a standard, they have to put out the rules communities need to meet that standard.” H.R. 2786, to amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, authored by committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would; Promote the development of small conduit hydropower facilities, an emerging new source of renewable energy that can be added to existing infrastructure. H.R. 2786 passed the House by a vote of 420-2. “Hydropower remains one of the most efficient and affordable sources of electricity, as well as one of the largest sources of renewable electricity in America. In North Carolina alone, it generates enough electricity to power 350,000 homes each year," said Rep. Hudson. “What we’re working on is to streamline the federal review process for non-controversial conduit hydropower projects. This legislation would expand the development of conduit hydropower projects, create clean energy jobs, increase production of affordable, renewable power, reduce consumer electricity costs and improve energy diversity.” H.R. 2828, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project, authored by Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA), would; Extend the license for construction for the Enloe hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 2828 passed the House by voice vote. H.R. 3050, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton and #SubEnergy Ranking Member Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL), would; Enhance the energy emergency planning requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to strengthen the capability of states to secure the energy infrastructure of the United States against physical and cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities; and mitigate risk of energy supply disruptions. H.R. 3050 passed the House by voice vote. In his floor remarks, Chairman Upton stated, “H.R. 3050 builds upon the Energy and Commerce Committee’s impressive record of hearings and legislation focused on energy security, emergency preparedness, job creation, and infrastructure protection and resilience. Prioritizing and elevating energy security planning and emergency preparedness is an important step in the face of increased threats, vulnerabilities, and interdependencies of energy infrastructure and end-use systems. I look forward to seeing this important bill reach the finish line." ### Read More

NEXT WEEK: #SubCommTech to Hold Hearing with FCC Commissioners

2017/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, July 25, 2017 at 10 a.m. in 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Oversight and Reauthorization of the Federal Communications Commission.” Next week, #SubCommTech will hold a hearing with FCC Commissioners to continue its rigorous oversight of the agency and discuss the agency’s efforts to facilitate broadband deployment and streamline regulations to reflect the realities of the internet age. Additionally, members will consider legislation that will reauthorize the FCC while implementing a number of reforms aimed at improving the agency’s processes and practices. Finally, members will use this hearing as an opportunity to discuss the FCC’s critically important Lifeline program and the needed improvements identified recently by the GAO. “I look forward to having FCC Chairman Pai and Commissioners O’Rielly and Clyburn join us to testify before the subcommittee next week,” said Chairman Blackburn. “This hearing is an opportunity for our members to discuss and provide input on priorities for the agency, most importantly, creating the right conditions for expanding broadband’s reach across America. I’m hopeful that this hearing will also allow for a robust discussion regarding efforts to modernize the FCC’s structure and build on the steps Chairman Pai has already taken toward transparency and accountability.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. Read More

#SubEnergy Kicks Off ‘Powering America’ Series with Review of Electricity Markets

2017/07/18

[[{"fid":"3057","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held its first hearing as part of its recently announced “Powering America” series. The Powering America series provides members the opportunity to explore electricity markets, learn more about electricity generation, distribution, and consumption, and the resiliency of the electric grid. The nation’s electricity industry is undergoing a period of transformation due to technological innovation and market competition. At today’s hearing, members heard from a variety of industry stakeholders regarding current issues and developments across the electricity sector including efforts to maintain grid reliability, transmission planning, and efforts to ensure electricity markets promote efficient outcomes. [[{"fid":"3058","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Chairman Upton listens intently as witnesses deliver their opening statements “The nation’s electricity industry and system is undergoing a significant period of transformation. This transformation is affecting the composition of the country’s electricity generation mix, the way industry and regulators are approaching grid reliability, and how federal energy policies are interacting with state policies,” said #SubEnergy Chairman Upton. “Many of the recent developments and changes within the electricity sector are creating tremendous benefits for American consumers. Going forward we must strive to enhance the generation, delivery, and marketing of electricity in a way that continues to enrich the lives of all Americans.” Joseph Kelliher, Executive Vice President of NextEra Energy, Inc., discussed why he believes electricity markets remain competitive today, commenting, “I believe our electricity markets are working well and are workably competitive. U.S. electricity markets are undergoing a fundamental transition driven primarily by economics, the result of low cost natural gas produced by the shale gas revolution combined with increased energy efficiency, lower demand growth, and low wholesale power prices. … This transition is likely to continue, producing an increasingly diverse and more reliable electricity supply. We should keep the consumer in mind.” Tamara Linde, Executive Vice President and General Counsel at the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), discussed the plight their current fleet of baseload nuclear plants face in today’s environment, testifying, “While the economic stress facing PSEG’s nuclear plants has a host of aggravating factors including significant additional regulatory costs imposed on nuclear plant operators by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission over the past 15 years, the proliferation of non-dispatchable renewable and demand-side resources enabled through federal and state tax policy, renewable portfolio standards and other regulatory treatments such as net-metering, the primary driver is a wholesale electricity market design that fails to adequately value and compensate these plants.” Steven Schleimer, Senior Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Calpine Corporation, raised his concerns with the current state of electricity markets, stating, “Due to state policymaker actions to subsidize certain generation, competition is being threatened. A hybrid model, where states subsidize some generation but leave the remaining generation to rely on the market for their revenue, is unsustainable. A coordinated effort is needed between all the states, FERC, and market participants to develop solutions that allow states to pursue their policy goals while protecting the wholesale markets. Such an effort will require leadership and commitment to competitive markets, but if we have both, we will be able to develop solutions that ensure the continued viability of these markets.” [[{"fid":"3059","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Chairman Walden delivers his opening statement “American consumers have come to expect safe, reliable, and affordable supplies of power – regardless of how they receive their electricity. New market participants offering advanced technologies and innovative services are changing the face of the industry faster than many have expected,” concluded Chairman Walden. “As we continue our Powering America series of hearings, I look forward to learning more about the current state of this vital industry. At the end of the day, our goal is to serve the best interests of consumers and today’s hearing provided us with ideas to further that mission.” A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE. ### Read More

#SubOversight Examines Oversight Challenges of 340B Program

2017/07/18

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing examining Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) oversight of the 340B drug pricing program. Kicking off the hearing, #SubOversight Chairman Murphy stated, “HRSA faces several challenges in conducting oversight of the 340B program, one of which is the lack of reporting requirements in the 340B statute. Participating entities save between 25-50 percent of the average wholesale price for covered outpatient drugs, and according to the HHS Office of Inspector General’s estimates, covered entities saved $6 billion on drug expenditures in Fiscal Year 2016. However, covered entities are not required to report their annual savings through participation in the program, or how they used the money saved.” Ms. Erin Bliss, Assistant Inspector general, Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, testified that “OIG reviews have explored various aspects of the 340B program, identified potential vulnerabilities, and offered several recommendations to promote program integrity. Some of the weaknesses we have identified have been addressed through legislation or by HRSA directly. However, some long-standing, fundamental vulnerabilities persist, impeding effective program oversight and operations.” Ms. Bliss specifically flagged concerns regarding a lack of transparency in order to ensure accurate payments and uncertainty regarding program rules that has resulted in uneven implementation across the program. Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) questioned the witnesses, asking if HRSA knows how the savings are spent. Captain Krista M. Pedley, Director, Office of Pharmacy Affairs, HRSA, HHS, answered, “The statute is silent as to how savings are used. Therefore, HRSA does not audit or have access to that information.” Chairman Walden followed up on that response, asking if HRSA knew if the savings were being passed on to patients who need reduced prices for drugs, Captain Pedley responded saying once again that “the statute is silent in that area, and HRSA does not have that information.” Ms. Debra Draper, Director, Health Care, Government Accountability Office (GAO), highlighted ongoing work at GAO examining HRSA oversight. This work will look at the extent to which covered entities are using contract pharmacies, what financial arrangements are made with the pharmacies and third-party administrators, and if covered entities and HRSA are compliant with the program’s requirements for contract pharmacies. For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

Examining HRSA’s Oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program

2017/07/18

[[{"fid":"2998","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Powering America: Examining the State of the Electric Industry through Market Participant Perspectives

2017/07/18

[[{"fid":"2997","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

ICYMI: Washington Post Editorial Board Calls for Completion of Yucca Mountain Repository

2017/07/18

In a column over the weekend, The Washington Post Editorial Board discussed the importance of getting the Yucca Mountain permanent geological repository back on track. Last month, the committee advanced H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA) of 2017 – legislation that preserves Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal – to the full House of Representatives for Consideration. While opponents of the repository have cited safety concerns, the Editorial Board reminds readers that “the federal government spent more than $15 billion studying the place. Just a couple of years ago, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission found that the facility would be technically sound, considering everything from seismic activity to accidental human intrusion, on time scales of up to a million years.” Furthermore, “Locals in Nye County, which would stand to benefit from employment related to the site, are on board.” “The nation’s nuclear power plants generate massive amounts of electricity with practically no carbon dioxide emissions. Answer the waste question, and the technology will look all the more valuable,” the Post concludes. Last month, the committee advanced the NWPAA in bipartisan vote of 49-4 to the House floor. For a fact sheet on the bill, click here. For a comprehensive list of the committee’s work as it relates to Yucca Mountain, click here. [[{"fid":"3052","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Put Yucca Mountain to work. The nation needs it. By: The Washington Post Editorial Board ENERGY SECRETARY Rick Perry traveled to Capitol Hill last month , asking Congress for $28 billion in funding for everythingfrom nuclear weapons to clean-coal research. Yet one of the most controversial elements in his department’s budget proposal was a request for a relatively tiny $120 million — to restart work on Nevada’s Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage site. Congress decided in the 1980s that Yucca was to be the permanent home of the country’s large and increasing pile of spent nuclear fuel. In a forbidding desert landscape about 100 miles outside Las Vegas, the site would appear to be an ideal choice for an unbreachable underground vault. The federal government spent more than $15 billion studying the place. Just a couple of years ago, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission foundthat the facility would be technically sound, considering everything from seismic activity to accidental human intrusion, on time scales of up to a million years. Locals in Nye County, which would stand to benefit from employment related to the site, are on board. But practically everyone else in Nevada opposes the Yucca project, and state leaders have waged a so-far successful not-in-my-back-yard campaign, even though federal law is clear that the site is to be the nation’s nuclear waste storehouse. The state has denied the Energy Department the water rights it would need to build the depository. For years, then-Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) successfully blocked funding for its development, with the help of President Barack Obama, who made an exception for swing-state Nevada from his pledge to run a science-based administration… With Mr. Reid and Mr. Obama both retired, the Trump administration and GOP leaders are trying to revive the project. Work is furthest along in the House, where a bill jump-starting Yucca’s approval is advancing quickly. Yet it faces a tough road: Nevada’s congressional delegation will fight it tooth-and-nail. It’s past time the opposition was sidelined for good. The nation’s nuclear regulators have found that technical hurdles can be overcome; the biggest barriers to developing the site are political. Congress should re-fund Yucca Mountain and finally end this gratuitous fight. But that is hardly all lawmakers need to do. No matter what happens with Yucca, the country should move its stocks of waste, which have piled up at nuclear plants, to interim storage sites, where they will be secured more safely and cheaply while the permanent depository is permitted and constructed. With the messy Yucca process in mind, an Obama-era blue-ribbon commission on nuclear waste recommended enticing localities to volunteer to host waste sites with the significant economic benefits that such facilities can bring to isolated communities. Though perhaps few places would volunteer, a cooperative approach could result in a smoother process and is worth a try. Congress has considered legislation along these lines before. It should do so again. The nation’s nuclear power plants generate massive amounts of electricity with practically no carbon dioxide emissions. Answer the waste question, and the technology will look all the more valuable. Read the full article online HERE. ### Read More

FDA Readies Hundreds of Jobs on the #Path2Cures

2017/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. posted a blog on Monday detailing the agency’s new hiring program to fill hundreds of jobs, in part under the landmark 21st Century Cures Act. “The key to FDA’s public health mission, and its ability to bring innovative new therapies to patients, is the technical, scientific, and clinical expertise of its people,” wrote FDA Commissioner Gottlieb. “As the products that we’re asked to review become more complex and specialized, so do the technical demands on our workforce. Our staff must remain current with the dramatic advances in science and medicine and meet the increasing demands that globalization and other trends place on our core consumer protection functions.” FDA Commissioner Gottlieb highlights that among the first jobs to be filled will be those to fulfil the agency’s commitments under its prescription drug user fee program. The House passed H.R. 2024, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, which would reauthorize the program, last week. Also referenced in the blog are provisions within the 21st Century Cures Act which grant the agency authority to hire skilled job candidates with unique experience at competitive salaries. “All of these efforts will strengthen FDA’s core functions, enabling us to ensure that safe and effective advances can reach the patients who need them as efficiently as possible,” concluded FDA Commissioner Gottlieb. Earlier this month, FDA Commissioner Gottlieb provided an update on the implementation of #CuresNow, and some of its key initiatives. To view FDA’s implementation tracker of the 21st Century Cures Act, click HERE. ### Read More

ICYMI: Rep. Walters Discusses Importance of Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

2017/07/17

In a piece submitted to The Orange County Register, Energy and Commerce Committee member Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) highlights the importance of the committee led H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act (NWPAA) of 2017.   Walters explains, “For 35 years, ratepayers in California and around the country have paid a tax on electricity generated from commercial nuclear power plants into the Nuclear Waste Fund to study, license, and ultimately construct and operate Yucca Mountain…Unfortunately, the fund was never managed as Congress had intended, creating challenges to successfully implement a nuclear waste management program.” “The NWPAA reforms the broken financing system to protect ratepayers in California and in the 121 communities across 39 states that have paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund and currently have spent nuclear fuel in their states,” continued Walters. “It’s time we get this spent nuclear fuel off our beaches.” Last month, the committee advanced the NWPAA in bipartisan vote of 49-4 to the House floor For a fact sheet on the bill, click here. For a comprehensive list of the committee’s work as it relates to Yucca Mountain, click here.   [[{"fid":"3050","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"1"}}]] Taking Responsibility for Spent Nuclear Fuel By: Rep. Mimi Walters While generating nuclear power is one of the cleanest and most efficient forms of electricity, the process creates what is known as spent nuclear fuel. Unfortunately, spent nuclear fuel currently sits idle across our state: 228 tons isolated at the Rancho Seco site, 29 tons at the decommissioned Humboldt Bay site, 1,490 tons stored at the still operating Diablo Canyon site, and most concerning is the 1,800 tons at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station along the Pacific coastline and San Diego Freeway. This used fuel was originally intended to be sent to the middle of the Nevada desert at Yucca Mountain for disposal. However, 35 years after the Nuclear Waste Policy Act was enacted and 30 years after Congress designated Yucca Mountain as the first site for a permanent geological repository, this material still sits just off our California beaches. The time to fix this problem is now. For 35 years, ratepayers in California and around the country have paid a tax on electricity generated from commercial nuclear power plants into the Nuclear Waste Fund to study, license, and ultimately construct and operate Yucca Mountain. Californians have contributed over $2 billion into this fund. Thankfully, the Energy and Commerce Committee — of which I am a member — has been hard at work on the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017. The NWPAA reforms the broken financing system to protect ratepayers in California and in the 121 communities across 39 states that have paid into the Nuclear Waste Fund and currently have spent nuclear fuel sitting in their states… Read the full article online HERE. Read More

#SubDCCP to Markup Self-Driving Legislation on WEDNESDAY

2017/07/17

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today announced a subcommittee markup for Wednesday, July 19, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Members will markup H.R. ____, Staff Draft on Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act. Following a legislative hearing where members discussed drafts of self-driving bills, the subcommittee gears up for a markup to continue examining how self-driving vehicles are transforming the transportation industry. As early estimates show us that traffic fatalities in 2016 have increased 6 percent, this legislation will play a critical role in prioritizing consumer safety and reducing traffic-related fatalities while clarifying federal and state roles. “This markup is an essential step to addressing the growing number of traffic-related fatalities taking place on our nation’s roadways,” said Chairman Latta. “There is significant life-saving potential in this self-driving legislation, and the subcommittee is ready and eager to move it through regular order. This legislation puts important benchmarks into place that will prioritize consumer safety technologies and enhance mobility opportunities for people across the country. I look forward to continuing to work with our Democrat colleagues as we advance these meaningful bills through the legislative process.” Legislative text will be made available HERE. The Majority Memorandum for the hearing will be available HERE as they are posted. Read More

Committee Leaders Urge FDA to Ensure States Follow Law on Nutrition Labeling

2017/07/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding localities like New York City ignoring the agency’s current authority over nutrition labeling, and instituting their own standards. The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). “In 2010, Congress enacted calorie and nutrition labeling standards for chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with twenty or more locations, which included a federal preemption provision. Congress recognized the need to replace the patchwork of state regulations in order to improve the ability of restaurants and similar retail food establishments to provide meaningful information to consumers regarding the nutritional content of the food they consume,” wrote Walden, Burgess, and McMorris Rogers. “The federal preemption provision is clear: states, cities, and other local governments only have the power to pass or implement nutrition-labeling requirements that are the same as the federal requirements, and may only pass or implement different requirements if they request and obtain specific permission from FDA. This includes the effective and compliance dates of the requirements.” The leaders continued, “On May 1, 2017, FDA published an interim final rule extending the compliance date for menu labeling requirements to May 7, 2018, and establishing a 60-day comment period. We were troubled to learn that despite the clear federal preemption in existing law, some states and municipalities are seeking to impose requirements that are inconsistent with federal nutrition-labeling standards.” Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to FDA Regarding Nutrition Labeling

2017/07/14

Excerpt: “In 2010, Congress enacted calorie and nutrition labeling standards for chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments with twenty or more locations, which included a federal preemption provision. Congress recognized the need to replace the patchwork of state regulations in order to improve the ability of restaurants and similar retail food establishments to provide meaningful information to consumers regarding the nutritional content of the food they consume. The federal preemption provision is clear: states, cities, and other local governments only have the power to pass or implement nutrition-labeling requirements that are the same as the federal requirements, and may only pass or implement different requirements if they request and obtain specific permission from FDA. This includes the effective and compliance dates of the requirements.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

DIGITAL RECAP

2017/07/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee accomplished a lot this week – including unanimous House passage of a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the FDA’s critically important user fee programs and a bill to better equip mobile medical professionals. In the hearing room, #SubHealth and #SubOversight examined ways to address medical product manufacturer communications and how states are working to combat the opioid epidemic. We rounded out the week with a #SubEnvironment Markup, where members swiftly passed a bipartisan bill to improve our nation’s drinking water infrastructure. Check it all out in our recap below! For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"3024","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] A few snapshots of our hearings this week, including #SubHealth, #SubOversight, and a #SubEnvironment Markup. [[{"fid":"3025","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] ICYMI: Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) discussed the importance of the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) and why this legislation will help patients across the country. [[{"fid":"3026","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] The House unanimously passed FDARA – a huge #bipartisan win for millions of Americans as it will help deliver safe and effective treatments to patients. [[{"fid":"3027","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] FDA Commissioner Gottlieb congratulated the House on a swift, successful passage of this vital legislation. [[{"fid":"3029","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] On Thursday, the committee celebrated #NationalFrenchFryDay in style. Check out our Instagram for more updates on our work this week!       Read More

What They’re Saying About House Passage of #FDARA

2017/07/14

[[{"fid":"3030","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives passed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, on Wednesday, by voice vote. H.R. 2430 reauthorizes FDA’s critical user fee programs, and ensures the FDA has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. Essentially, it’s a huge win for patients and the millions of Americans who work to deliver new cures and therapies. So, what are people saying about this bipartisan bill? "The robust performance goals, process improvements, increased accountability and additional resources built into the new user fee agreement mean that patients will benefit from more timely access to the latest medical innovations and companies will benefit from greater certainty as they plan for the next-generation of advancements.” -AdvaMed “We are pleased that FDARA includes key provisions to expedite drug approval and access to safe and effective treatments. In particular, we appreciate the focus in the commitment letter on ways to modernize the clinical trial process and efforts to support biomarker development and qualification.” -Alzheimer’s Impact Movement “With today’s vote, the House has taken an important step toward bringing more life-saving biosimilar medicines to market over the next five years at a savings over expensive biologics,” said Biosimilars Council Executive Director Christine Simmon. “This bill will help increase competition, ensuring that patients will have more timely access to safe, effective and affordable biosimilar medicines.” -Biosimilars Council Here’s what you may have missed on social media: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. [[{"fid":"3031","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. [[{"fid":"3033","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Alliance for Patient Access [[{"fid":"3034","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] Biocom [[{"fid":"3035","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"5"}}]] Council for Affordable Health Coverage [[{"fid":"3036","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"6"}}]] California Life Sciences Association [[{"fid":"3037","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"7"}}]] Coalition for Clinical Trials Awareness [[{"fid":"3038","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"8"}}]] Center for Healthcare Innovation [[{"fid":"3039","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"9"}}]] Consumer Technology Association [[{"fid":"3040","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"10":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"10"}}]] Epilepsy Foundation of America [[{"fid":"3041","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"11":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"11"}}]] Friends of Manufacturing [[{"fid":"3042","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"12":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"12"}}]] Lupus Foundation of America [[{"fid":"3043","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"13":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"13"}}]] The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) National Advocacy & Public Policy Team [[{"fid":"3044","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"14":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"14"}}]] National Health Council (NHC) and National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) [[{"fid":"3045","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"15":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"15"}}]] Research!America [[{"fid":"3046","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"16":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"16"}}]] ### Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Bipartisan Legislation to Strengthen and Improve Medicare

2017/07/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Thursday, July 20, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining Bipartisan Legislation to Improve the Medicare Program.” #SubHealth will review several bipartisan bills with would individually improve the Medicare program, and collectively, strengthen the program for current and future beneficiaries. “The Medicare program is critical to our nation’s seniors, and can certainly benefit from targeted reforms to improve the care it delivers to vulnerable patients, streamline the ability of providers to deliver that care, and ensure its long-term viability,” said Chairman Burgess. “A surge of ‘baby boomers’ means that we need to take a thorough look at the program to see what can be done to ensure that both today’s and tomorrow’s beneficiaries can rest easy knowing Medicare will be there for them when they need it. This hearing is a vital step in working together to identify ways to strengthen the program.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

Bipartisan Lawmakers Alarmed by “Patient Brokering” Accusations in Opioid Epidemic

2017/07/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) regarding reports of “patient brokers” who are serving as an intermediary and profiting from recruiting patients seeking treatment for addiction. The letter, highlighting a need for greater oversight and accountability of treatment centers, was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). “…[M]ultiple articles highlight individuals known as ‘body brokers’ or ‘patient brokers’ who are treating men and women fighting opioid addiction as a commodity. These brokers serve as intermediaries who profit from recruiting patients, arranging for their transportation and insurance coverage, and sending them to treatment centers in states with high numbers of treatment centers per capita, such as Florida and California,” wrote Walden, Pallone, Murphy, DeGette, Burgess, and Green. “For their role, patient brokers receive generous financial kickbacks from the centers. Brokers are predominantly paid in one of two ways, a per-head fee that can range from $500 to $5,000 for each patient who successfully enters a treatment center, or a monthly fee from a facility based on the broker meeting a quota of patients which can result in earnings as high as tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to paying for travel, in some instances the broker helps patients obtain private insurance, and then pays the premiums on behalf of the patient until treatment benefits are exhausted after 60 to 90 days.” A flood of recent media reports have found a trend in men and women fighting opioid addiction being recruited to out-of-state facilities through offers of free rent, cigarettes, and even manicures. Upon arrival to the sober homes, the patients often find they have been deceived, and are often paired with other struggling addicts in a supervision-free environment, resulting in chronic relapses, overdoses, and even death. The leaders continued, “Perhaps most disturbing is the allegation that some brokers follow these individuals with substance use disorder after their release and provide them with street drugs so the entire process can be repeated. This scheme creates an incentive for relapse rather than treatment and, ultimately, sobriety.” The letter poses a series of questions and requests a briefing from HHS on their efforts to recognize these incidents and ways to counteract them. Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to HHS Regarding Reports of "Patient Brokering"

2017/07/13

Excerpt: “…[M]ultiple articles highlight individuals known as ‘body brokers’ or ‘patient brokers’ who are treating men and women fighting opioid addiction as a commodity. These brokers serve as intermediaries who profit from recruiting patients, arranging for their transportation and insurance coverage, and sending them to treatment centers in states with high numbers of treatment centers per capita, such as Florida and California. For their role, patient brokers receive generous financial kickbacks from the centers. Brokers are predominantly paid in one of two ways, a per-head fee that can range from $500 to $5,000 for each patient who successfully enters a treatment center, or a monthly fee from a facility based on the broker meeting a quota of patients which can result in earnings as high as tens of thousands of dollars. In addition to paying for travel, in some instances the broker helps patients obtain private insurance, and then pays the premiums on behalf of the patient until treatment benefits are exhausted after 60 to 90 days.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

Walden and Burgess React to 2017 Medicare Trustees Report

2017/07/13

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement regarding the 2017 Medicare Trustees Report. “Medicare is a critical program in Oregon, Texas, and all across the country. It’s why House Republicans have sought solutions to improve benefits and put this program on a more fiscally sustainable path, making reforms that will help both today’s – and tomorrow’s – beneficiaries,” said Walden and Burgess. “Today’s report reinforces the serious nature of Medicare’s uncertain future, and is a timely reminder that Congress should work in a bipartisan fashion to ensure its solvency.” ### Read More

#SubEnvironment Advances Legislation to Modernize Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure to Full Committee

2017/07/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today advanced legislation that seeks to bring greater investment in the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance for our drinking water delivery systems. H.R.___, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act passed #SubEnvironment by voice vote. Drinking water is delivered across the country via one million miles of pipes owned by both private and public water systems. Many of these pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. While drinking water quality remains high across the country, improvements can be made to the nation’s drinking water infrastructure. H.R.___, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act, would; Authorize $8 billion over 5 years for the drinking water revolving loan fund program. Open the eligible uses of Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund to now cover costs associated with preconstruction activities and replacing or rehabilitating aging treatment, storage, or distribution facilities. Create a strategic plan to have an electronic system that allows water utilities to send their compliance data to states and states send it to EPA. Reauthorize funding for voluntary source water protection programs. For more information on the bill, click here. [[{"fid":"3021","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Chairman Shimkus reads through his opening statement “When we began this Congress, one of the things we committed to do was to use our authority to authorize programs under our jurisdiction. The last reauthorization for the Safe Drinking Water Act was 1996, so it is high time we revisit and update the provisions of this act,” said Chairman Shimkus. “There are many good provisions in this bill. This is the type of good bipartisan work we like to do here at the Energy and Commerce Committee.” [[{"fid":"3022","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Chairman Walden and full committee Vice Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) discuss the legislation Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) concluded, “Today’s markup takes a bold step forward in addressing the challenges facing our aging drinking water delivery systems and supporting the American workforce that is working every day to rebuild our infrastructure. This legislation can and should be a win for drinking water utilities, U.S. taxpayers, states, American workers, and most importantly American consumers.” On March 16, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country. On May 19, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing on the discussion draft. For a breakdown of the bipartisan Manager’s Amendment, click HERE. An electronic copy of the bill, background memo, amendment text and votes can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website HERE. ### Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R.____, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act of 2017

2017/07/13

[[{"fid":"3000","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

#SubHealth Reviews Legislation Addressing Medical Product Manufacturer Communications

2017/07/12

[[{"fid":"3014","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing examining ways Congress could clarify how drug and device companies can responsibly disseminate truthful and non-misleading data and information that is not included in their product labeling. Following a series of recent court decisions, FDA’s ability to restrict such communication in a manner that does not run afoul of First Amendment protections has been very limited. #SubHealth also discussed the need for manufacturers to share clinical and economic information about their medical products with entities that make coverage decisions prior to FDA approval. “Our legal framework for the regulation of manufacturer communication prevents health care professionals from receiving the most current scientific information available about the benefits and risks of FDA-approved medicines,” stated Chairman Burgess. “A lack of relevant information can lead to physicians making patient care decisions with incomplete information. This is both unfair to the physician and unsafe for the patient.” Further explaining the two bills before #SubHealth, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) said, “These bills do not provide manufacturers with free rein to communicate any and all information about their products. They establish targeted statutory boundaries within which manufacturers may responsibly disseminate accurate, and up-to-date information about medical products. These clarifications will lead to a better-informed health care system and will ensure that patients receive high-quality care based on current, sound scientific and clinical information.” Dr. George F. Van Hare, Co-Director of St. Louis Children’s and Washington University Heart Center, testified, “The current regulatory approach limits the ability of a manufacturer to share data not referenced in the package insert. This means that much valuable information may never be conveyed to clinicians and other medical decision-makers. Essentially, we do not get the benefit from data that has not been derived from randomized, controlled clinical trials.  Sharing comprehensive, scientifically valid data is critical to the practice of medicine generally, and it is even more critical for particular specialties.” Ms. Coleen Klasmeier, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP, reiterated these concerns and said that legislation could be helpful, testifying that, “FDA action has been slow and ineffectual. It has been almost six years, for example, since FDA published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comment on the scope of the scientific exchange safe harbor and on a new draft guidance on unsolicited requests. Where FDA has taken action, the policy has tacked in the wrong direction, becoming less clear and more speech restrictive.” Ms. Kat Wolf Khachatourian, Vice President, Delegation Oversight, Pharmacy Services & Strategy, Qualchoice Health Plan Services, highlighted draft guidance from FDA earlier this year, which was non-binding and lacked certainty regarding the Pharmaceutical Information Exchange (PIE). Ms. Khachatourian stated, “Therefore, there is a need for Congress to engage in this topic to create a legislative safe harbor for PIE so that it is clear that the proactive dissemination of certain information does not violate the prohibitions against preapproval promotion and does not run afoul of the labeling, misbranding, and intended use provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act and its impending regulations. H.R. 2026, the PIE Act incorporates the consensus recommendations developed by the multi-stakeholder group, creates a very narrow safe harbor for a very specific purpose, and will improve patient access to emerging medication therapies.” Ms. Linda House, President of the Cancer Support Community (CSC) gave the patient perspective on product labels, saying, “It is widely observed that the performance of a drug may be different once it is introduced into general use, which will likely be a broader, less-controlled population. CSC appreciates the work of the FDA and sponsors of phase IV studies, but also recognizes that these studies do not capture comprehensive data for the use of a product in the real world. Also, it is a rare occurrence for the label to be updated in a manner that would allow for proactive communication about findings.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Better Equip Mobile Medical Professionals

2017/07/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 1492, the Medical Controlled Substances Transportation Act of 2017. H.R. 1492 would update the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) registration process for mobile medical practitioners like EMS personnel and team physicians to ensure these health care providers can administer controlled substances at locations other than their principal places of business while complying with new limitations on the timing of transport and related recordkeeping requirements. H.R. 1492 passed the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously by voice vote in June. “Whether its emergency medical service providers traveling to a disaster area to provide care or a team physician at an away game, certain medical practitioners often need to travel with and administer anti-seizure or pain medications. Although many of these are regulated under the Controlled Substances Act, current law does not specifically authorize the transportation or administration of such substances away from their registered location,” said Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). “H.R. 1492 takes appropriate oversight of this practice, establishing a separate registration process for mobile practitioners who are already registered with the DEA and in good standing. It is an important bill with the appropriate safeguards, and I look forward to the Senate following our efforts to advance this commonsense solution.” ### Read More

#SubOversight Examines the Opioid Crisis at the State Level

2017/07/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing examining current challenges states have in combating the opioid epidemic, ways the federal government can assist, and whether their efforts that have begun to make a difference. “Addiction is an equal opportunity destroyer. It is a crisis that does not pick people based on their age, race, or socioeconomic status. And it most certainly does not pick based on political parties,” stated full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “From my roundtables throughout the Second District of Oregon, it didn’t matter if I was in a rural community or a more populated city; the tragic stories were similar. We all know someone who has been impacted by this epidemic. In Oregon, more people now die from drug-related overdoses than from automobile accidents – and sadly, that is not unique to my home state.” “This is an in extremis moment requiring all the experience, resources, and cooperation of our federal, state, and local governments, as well as all the different industries, professionals, and experts to curb this outbreak,” stated Chairman Murphy at the start of today's hearing. “With this hearing, we will focus on the actions of our state governments to find out what efforts are working, what is not working, and how we can work together to save lives, restore communities, and repair the millions of families torn apart by the deadliest drug crisis in United States history.” [[{"fid":"3013","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] #SubOversight witnesses being sworn in by Chairman Murphy. Kentucky Justice and Public Safety Cabinet Secretary John Tilley also highlighted fentanyl (and its countless analogues), which he labeled the “lead culprit” in his state’s overdose deaths. Secretary Tilley testified, “According to the Kentucky State Police, there was a 6,000 percent increase in laboratory samples submitted to the Central Forensic Laboratory testing positive for fentanyl from 2010 to 2016.” Virginia Homeland Security and Public Safety Secretary Brian Moran shared information about last year’s fatal fentanyl overdoses – up 175 percent, saying, “But it is not only the deaths which must concern us: It is the increasing numbers of non-fatal overdoses, the resource and access challenges to providing evidence based treatment and recovery supports.” Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd K. Rutherford highlighted his state’s multi-pronged response to the opioid epidemic, specifically citing the creation of the Heroin and Opioid Emergency Task Force in 2015 and the establishment of the Inter-Agency Heroin and Opioid Coordinating Council. Together, more than 30 recommendations have made to combat the epidemic, raise awareness, and boost prevention efforts. “The final report also recognized the need for treatment on demand and discussed the barriers to such a program,” stated Lieutenant Governor Rutherford. “The key to improving access to high-quality treatment lies in creating a delivery system that provides a full continuum of substance use services and care. …The $2 million of 21st Century Cures Act funding in support of a 24-hour stabilization center in Baltimore City will be an important step toward a system of treatment on demand.” Rebecca L. Boss, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Departmental Disabilities & Hospitals, spoke to efforts in her state to combat the epidemic, notably: reducing the supply of opioid prescriptions, reducing the illicit demand of these drugs, uniform testing for the presence of fentanyl in a patient, and ensuring Naloxone is available in communities. For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

House Passes Bipartisan Bill to Reauthorize FDA’s Critically Important User Fee Programs

2017/07/12

[[{"fid":"3009","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, by voice vote. H.R. 2430 reauthorizes FDA’s critical user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. “This bipartisan work has produced a big win for patients,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “FDARA will help bring lower-cost generic drug alternatives and biosimilars to market faster – increasing competition and lowering drug costs – and it will streamline the process for reviewing and approving new treatments and cures for patients, ultimately delivering new and innovative therapies, drugs, and devices to patients more quickly.” In April, bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizing FDA’s user fee agreements. The draft followed a series of hearings examining the four individual user fee programs – the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA), the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA). #SubHealth advanced H.R. 2430 by voice vote in May, and passed out of the full committee by a vote of 54-0 in June. Need to catch up on FDARA? Check out this video of Energy and Commerce Committee members explaining why H.R. 2430 is a win for everyone. ### Read More

Examining Medical Product Manufacturer Communications

2017/07/12

[[{"fid":"2992","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Combating the Opioid Crisis: Battles in the States

2017/07/12

[[{"fid":"2991","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017

2017/07/11

[[{"fid":"2999","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"150","width":"505","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 Reauthorizing Critical User Fee Programs, Ensuring FDA has the Tools They Need to Deliver Safe and Effective Drugs This comprehensive bill reauthorizes four user fee programs that will help patients live better and healthier lives. As Health Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) wrote in The Hill in June, “The user fee programs – GDUFA, PDUFA, BsUFA, MDUFA – may look and sound like wonky acronyms, but they are critical to patients, drug and device manufacturers, and the millions of Americans who work to deliver new treatments and cures to Americans.” The Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA)
 Improve the fee structure to support small businesses, and provide goal dates for all outstanding generic drug applications. 
 Establish priority review timelines for generic drugs. The Prescription Drug User Fee Amendments (PDUFA) 
 Enhance the drug development process by making it more patient-focused and modernize the clinical trial process. Dedicate staff to assist in the development and review of rare disease medications. The Biosimilar User Fee Amendments (BsUFA) 
 Continue to build the biosimilars program and support guidance for product developers. The Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA) 
 Enhance the patient voice in the device development process and support the collection of real world data. MDUFA also improves the review process for low- to moderate-risk devices that are the first of their kind. FACT: FDARA will help lower the cost of important medication and devices FDARA promotes generic competition and lower drug prices for off-patent drugs.  Packaged together, these reforms will help get lower-cost generic drug alternatives and biosimilars to market faster – increasing competition and lowering costs. FACT: FDARA includes additional reforms that are important to patients and their wallets, and speed how medical innovations come to fruition FDARA improves and expedites the process for reviewing and approving new treatments and cures for patients, ultimately delivering new and innovative therapies, drugs, and devices to patients more quickly.  FDARA also includes provisions to advance pediatric cancer research. FACT: FDARA is a win for our health care workforce Millions of Americans work in the health care space, and it is imperative we remain the global leader in medical innovation. FDARA will ensure these critical jobs remain here at home. For more information, check out our FDARA video series. Read More

#SubEnvironment to Consider Legislation Related to Nation’s Drinking Water Thursday

2017/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today announced a markup for Thursday, July 13, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Building on the committee’s work examining drinking water infrastructure across the country, #SubEnvironment will consider a discussion draft of legislation that seeks to bring greater investment to the country’s aging drinking water infrastructure as well as facilitate compliance by our drinking water delivery systems. H.R.___, the Drinking Water System Improvement Act: Drinking water is delivered across the country via one million pipes owned by both privately and publicly owned water systems. Many of the nation’s pipes were laid in the early to mid-20th century with a lifespan of 75 to 100 years. While drinking water quality remains high across the country, improvements can be made to the nation’s aging drinking water infrastructure. The discussion draft proposes several changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act focused mainly on drinking water delivery system infrastructure and compliance improvements. On March 16, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country. On May 19, 2017, #SubEnvironment held a hearing on the discussion draft. “Every American should have reliable access to good drinking water and this committee has done its homework when it comes to looking at what improvements can be made to the Safe Drinking Water Act to help our drinking water delivery systems,” said Chairman Shimkus. “However, that doesn’t mean our work is finished and we will continue working in a bipartisan manner to perfect this legislation as we work towards full committee markup. The time is now to modernize our drinking water infrastructure and I look forward to further exploring this discussion draft on Thursday.” An electronic copy of the legislation and a background memo can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. ### Read More

HEARING: #SubOversight to Examine Growth, Oversight of 340B Drug Discount Program

2017/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), announced a hearing for Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining HRSA’s Oversight of the 340B Drug Pricing Program.” #SubOversight will get an update on the 340B drug discount program, which was created by Congress in 1992. The program allows eligible entities to purchase certain outpatient drugs at reduced prices from drug manufacturers. The number of entities participating in the 340B program has nearly quadrupled since 2011. “With the number of covered entities nearly quadrupling in less than a decade, the 340B program’s lack of sufficient oversight, as revealed by the GAO, is alarming,” said Chairman Murphy. “As the program continues to expand, our first priority must be to examine how this program is impacting patients, providers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders and ensure that we are protecting program integrity.” Confirmed to testify: Krista M. Pedley, PharmD, MS, CDR, USPHS, Director, Office of Pharmacy Affairs, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Debbie Draper, Director, Health Care, Government Accountability Office (GAO); and, Erin Bliss, Assistant Inspector General, Office of Evaluation and Inspections, Office of Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Both the GAO and HHS OIG have done work in this area, and will speak to the recommendations they have made to HRSA, as well as other potential areas for improvement. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

Walden Comments on Internet Day of Action

2017/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today issued the following statement on today’s Internet Day of Action. “Today’s Day of Action highlights the need for Congress to work together to protect consumers and ensure a free and open internet.  The internet and the new technologies it unleashed have revolutionized the world in just a few short decades, and done so with little or no federal regulation. I again call on my Democratic colleagues, edge providers and ISPs, and all those who make up the diverse internet ecosystem that has flourished under light-touch regulation to come to the table and work with us on bipartisan legislation that preserves an open internet while not discouraging the investments necessary to fully connect all Americans. Too much is at stake to have this issue ping-pong between different FCC commissions and various courts over the next decade." ### Read More

#SubEnergy to Kick-Off “Powering America” Series with Two Hearings in July

2017/07/11

[[{"fid":"2995","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today announced two hearings as part of the committee’s new “Powering America” series. The “Powering America” series will provide committee members the opportunity to explore electricity markets, learn more about electricity generation, distribution, consumption, and the resiliency of the electric grid. The first hearing entitled “Powering America: Examining the State of the Electric Industry through Market Participant Perspectives,” is scheduled for Tuesday, July 18, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The next hearing entitled “Review of the Operation and Effectiveness of the Nation’s Wholesale Electricity Markets,” will take place on Wednesday, July 26, 2017. Today, the nation’s electricity industry is undergoing a period of transformation due to technological innovation and market competition. Next week’s hearing will provide members the opportunity to hear from various industry stakeholders regarding current issues and developments across the electricity sector including efforts to maintain grid reliability, transmission planning, and efforts to ensure electricity markets promote efficient outcomes. On July 26, #SubEnergy will hear from all seven Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent Service Operators (ISOs) to get their take on the status of wholesale electricity markets. RTOs and ISOs oversee the nation’s wholesale electricity markers, managing the day-to-day operations of their respective transmission systems and offering a market to purchase products including energy, capacity, ancillary services, and financial transmission rights. These markets are vital to the nation’s ability to provide affordable, reliable electricity to consumers across the country. “A reliable supply of electricity is vital to our nation’s security, economy, and our health and well-being,” said Chairman Upton. “We must ensure the electricity system meets the demands of consumers back in Michigan and across the country now and in the years to come. This can only be achieved through a close examination of the structural, economic, and technological factors influencing the nation’s evolving electricity system. I’m looking forward to beginning this series of hearings and furthering our understanding of the very different ways of generating electricity, the changing market dynamics, and the roles states, RTOs/ISOs, and the federal government can play moving forward to ensure the continued reliability of the grid.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the July 18 hearing will be available here as they are posted. Information on the July 26th hearing will be available here as it becomes available. ### Read More

Walden and Murphy Urge NIH to Improve Reporting and Investigation of Pathogen Incidents

2017/07/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) today sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding a recently released Report of the Blue Ribbon Panel to Review the 2014 Smallpox (Variola) Virus Incident on the NIH Campus. The leaders noted that the report pointed out previous missed opportunities to discover vials of the smallpox virus. The panel’s report is in response to the committee’s May 2016 letter, which stemmed from a #SubOversight hearing, requesting a report on lab incidents involving select agents. The committee has done extensive work regarding select agents, and lab safety and security. “This report correctly points out that there were several missed opportunities to find the samples before 2014, specifically incidents involving select agents and toxins in NIH laboratories in 2008, 2011, and 2012,” write Chairmen Walden and Murphy. “We believe the record should reflect that another major missed opportunity to find the smallpox samples occurred in 1995.” The leaders continued, “On September 23, 1995, The Washington Post reported that ‘NIH safety officers got an anonymous tip last week that a top-ranking person at the lab, in a casual conversation a couple of years ago, said there was smallpox in the freezers’ in the laboratory of Dr. Carlton Gajdusek, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who later went to jail in 1997 for child abuse. The tipster said the gist of the conversation was that smallpox virus was kept in a lab freezer used to store biological specimens. Dr. Gajdusek denied ever having the virus, but NIH safety officers checked every sample in the ‘working freezers’ in Dr. Gajdusek’s lab and found nothing labeled smallpox. A more comprehensive effort to account for any smallpox specimens in all cold storage rooms and freezers throughout NIH might have led to the discovery of the samples later found in 2014. Although the NIH search efforts did not find the smallpox samples in Dr. Gajdusek’s lab, it is a reasonable possibility that the tipster’s allegation in fact was referring to the smallpox samples eventually found in the Building 29A cold room in 2014. We also believe that either the tipster misunderstood the conversation, the NIH safety officers misunderstood part of the tipster’s allegations, or some combination of both.” Because there is reason to believe that some individuals were aware of the smallpox vials but were hesitant to report, the committee leaders requested the NIH report on any actions or proposals that would improve reporting and investigation of improperly stored pathogens. Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to NIH Regarding Reporting of Pathogen Incidents

2017/07/11

Excerpt: “On September 23, 1995, The Washington Post reported that ‘NIH safety officers got an anonymous tip last week that a top-ranking person at the lab, in a casual conversation a couple of years ago, said there was smallpox in the freezers’ in the laboratory of Dr. Carlton Gajdusek, a Nobel Prize-winning scientist who later went to jail in 1997 for child abuse. The tipster said the gist of the conversation was that smallpox virus was kept in a lab freezer used to store biological specimens. Dr. Gajdusek denied ever having the virus, but NIH safety officers checked every sample in the ‘working freezers’ in Dr. Gajdusek’s lab and found nothing labeled smallpox. A more comprehensive effort to account for any smallpox specimens in all cold storage rooms and freezers throughout NIH might have led to the discovery of the samples later found in 2014. Although the NIH search efforts did not find the smallpox samples in Dr. Gajdusek’s lab, it is a reasonable possibility that the tipster’s allegation in fact was referring to the smallpox samples eventually found in the Building 29A cold room in 2014. We also believe that either the tipster misunderstood the conversation, the NIH safety officers misunderstood part of the tipster’s allegations, or some combination of both.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

VIDEO: FDA User Fee Update from Chairman Walden

2017/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today shared an important message regarding H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, legislation to reauthorize FDA’s critically important user fee programs. Watch the video below to learn more about why this bill is a win for patients, drug and device manufacturers, and the millions of Americans who work in the health care industry. [[{"fid":"2994","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click HERE to watch Chairman Walden’s important message. The House will consider H.R. 2430 this week. Click HERE for more information. ### Read More

Market Stability? What Market Stability?

2017/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – While some claim Obamacare’s withering markets are stabilizing, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released new analysis today showing that fewer health insurers are applying to participate in Obamacare’s exchanges next year. The findings aren’t surprising, particularly after the 19th (of 23) CO-OPs announced in recent weeks that it will shutter its doors come January. The closure of all but four CO-OPs has cost taxpayers more than $2 billion. CMS’ analysis shows that only “141 individual market qualified health plan (QHP) issuers submitted initial applications to offer coverage using the federally-facilitated exchange eligibility and enrollment platform in 2018. At the initial filing deadline last year, 227 issuers submitted an application compared to 141 this year, a 38 percent drop in filings.” Thirty-eight percent? That’s almost as high as the percentage (46 percent) of Americans who dropped their Obamacare plans because of the high cost. And while some observers, like Kaiser, may call the massive premium spikes in 2017 “…a one-time market correction,” the folks in Iowa facing 43.5 percent increases and the Marylanders who will experience a 59 percent increase may disagree. For those of you keeping score at home, the average exchange premiums rose 105 percent since 2013. Simply put, the so-called “Affordable Care Act” is costly for patients and insurers. While there’s a lot of uncertainty around Obamacare, one thing is for certain: it doesn’t work for hardworking patients and their families. ### Read More

ICYMI: FDA Issues Update on Implementation of #CuresNow, Bringing Hope to Patients

2017/07/10

WASHINGTON, DC – FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. posted a blog on Friday detailing the agency’s plans to implement the landmark 21st Century Cures Act, as well as updates on individual initiatives within the bill. The #Path2Cures is paved by innovative, new technologies unleashing new treatments. “The 21st Century Cures Act gave FDA many new authorities and resources to accomplish this mission,” wrote FDA Commissioner Gottlieb. “‘Cures’ provides FDA with tools aimed at modernizing our regulatory programs. The goal of many of these efforts is to make sure that we’re taking every appropriate step to facilitate access to safe and effective new innovation.” “Seeing Cures come to fruition is life changing. For patients, it represents an unprecedented hope for the next wave of treatments that can help the sick and injured live better lives, or identify the key in unlocking the greatest medical maladies of our time,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI). “This law will change the way we treat disease.” Commissioner Gottlieb’s blog also details the scope of FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence, and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s implementation of the regenerative medicine policies within the 21st Century Cures Act. To view FDA’s implementation tracker of the 21st Century Cures Act, click HERE. ### Read More

Committee Continues to Ready Trauma Bill that Would Better Equip Emergency Medical Professionals

2017/07/07

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), advanced a bill last week that will play an important role in how medical professionals respond to mass traumas. H.R. 880, the MISSION ZERO Act, establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care that will allow the military and private citizens to benefit from each other’s expertise and experience. The bill was initially introduced last Congress in wake of the Dallas Police shooting last July, the deadliest attack on American law enforcement since September 11, 2001. “One year ago today, the Dallas community and our nation as a whole were stunned to see such a gruesome attack on our law enforcement officials,” said Chairman Burgess. “The victims of last year’s attack, as well as all American trauma patients, require the best possible care. It is imperative that medical professionals are equipped with the best techniques available in these time-sensitive situations, and H.R. 880 will ensure that we utilize our military medical personnel beyond the battlefield, giving patients greater hope for a full recovery.” The MISSION ZERO Act is one way to bridge the gap between military and civilian trauma care providers. Reflecting on last year’s events, a member of the emergency medical team at Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas likened the scene at their facility following the shooting to his tour of duty with the Navy Reserves. The doctor told the Dallas Morning News, “It was surreal. I felt like I was in Afghanistan.” “It’s an unfortunate reality that we must ensure medical professionals are prepared for anything, including treatments once thought to be limited to the battlefield,” added Chairman Burgess. “The MISSION ZERO Act is an urgent and necessary way to connect battle-tested trauma care with American patients, simultaneously ensuring that our military doctors stay at their prime and bolstering our national security.” ###  Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Medical Product Manufacturer Communications

2017/07/05

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining Medical Product Manufacturer Communications.” #SubHealth will examine ways Congress could clarify how drug and device companies can responsibly disseminate truthful and non-misleading data and information that is not included in their product labeling. According to a series of recent court decisions, FDA’s ability to restrict such communication in a manner that does not run afoul of First Amendment protections is very limited.  “This is an important issue that can and should be bipartisan, allowing us to clearly establish the rules of the road so that when companies share off-label information, they do so responsibly and in the appropriate context,” said Chairman Burgess. #SubHealth will also discuss the need for manufacturers to share clinical and economic information about their medical products with entities that make coverage decisions prior to FDA approval.  Legislative text can be found online here. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available at the same link as they are posted.   ###  Read More

HEARING: #SubOversight to Examine State Models in Response to Opioid Epidemic

2017/07/05

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), announced a hearing for Wednesday, July 12, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Combating the Opioid Crisis:  Battles in the States.” #SubOversight will hear from state officials about current challenges in combating the epidemic, ways the federal government can assist, and their efforts that have begun to make a difference. The hearing will serve as an important update to a May 2015 hearing exploring state level responses to the epidemic. “America’s opioid and addiction crisis has brought death and devastation to every corner of the nation,” said Chairman Murphy. “Fighting back requires an unbounded effort from the federal government, states, and localities. I look forward to engaging officials leading local efforts on the ground to determine what is working, what is not working and how we can work together to save lives, restore communities and repair the millions of families torn apart by the deadliest drug crisis in United States history.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

DIGITAL RECAP:

2017/06/30

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee had a busy and productive legislative week, kicking things off with a #SubDCCP hearing on 14 self-driving bills. On Wednesday, the Full Committee marked up eight bills to modernize our nation’s #EnergyInfrastructure and environmental laws, and we rounded out the week with a #SubHealth markup to advance four bipartisan public health bills. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"2983","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Chairman Walden joined the Energy Information Administration on Monday to discuss energy policy with leaders from the coal, petroleum, natural gas, electric, renewable, and nuclear energy sectors. There, he discussed his consumer-first, market-driven vision when it comes to legislating and opportunities to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and environmental laws for the 21st century. [[{"fid":"2984","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) joined Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) for a bipartisan press conference following Tuesday’s hearing on 14 self-driving bills where they talked about the importance of ensuring consumer safety and encouraging innovation. [[{"fid":"2985","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Need a quick run-down on what part of our #FullCmte markup was about? Check out this 2-minute video for a quick summary! [[{"fid":"2986","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] #SubHealth Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and #SubOversight Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) review opening statements at the start of Wednesday’s markup of 8 #SubEnvironment and #SubEnergy bills.   [[{"fid":"2987","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) leads part of the debate during Wednesday’s #FullCmte markup. [[{"fid":"2988","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) speaks about the importance of H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, which puts forth a solution to permanently dispose of the nation’s spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste.   [[{"fid":"2989","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]] Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) grins at a joke made by Chairman Walden during his opening statement at Thursday’s #SubHealth markup. [[{"fid":"2990","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"8"}}]] All smiles here as Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), and Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) conclude the #SubHealth markup - the final committee event of the week.   Read More

Committees Request Details on EPA and DOJ’s Rollback of ‘Sue and Settle’ Policy

2017/06/29

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law Subcommittee Chairman Tom Marino (R-PA), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt. Following reports of a recent EPA reform directive, the members request a staff briefing and written guidelines from the Department of Justice (DOJ) and EPA regarding Administrator Pruitt’s reported repudiation of the Obama administration’s favored practice of ‘sue and settle’ agreements, which committed the agency to undertake new rulemakings. The members write, “During the previous administration, EPA entered numerous settlements or consent decrees, a practice known as ‘sue and settle,’ committing the agency to undertake significant new rulemakings subject to timelines or schedules. This process too often circumvents legitimate oversight by Congress and the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.” Citing recent media reports that Administrator Pruitt plans on rolling back the sue and settle policy, the members continued, “We appreciate this change in policy, hope that Attorney General Sessions shares Administrator Pruitt’s views, and urge EPA and the Justice Department to develop conforming written guidelines as soon as possible. To assist us in understanding the scope of the recent directive, we request that EPA and DOJ staff provide Committee staff with a briefing on the matter.” To view the letter, click HERE. ###  Read More

Letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Attorney General Jeff Sessions Regarding Sue and Settle

2017/06/29

Excerpt: “We appreciate this change in policy, hope that Attorney General Sessions shares Administrator Pruitt’s views, and urge EPA and the Justice Department to develop conforming written guidelines as soon as possible. To assist us in understanding the scope of the recent directive, we request that EPA and DOJ staff provide Committee staff with a briefing on the matter.”  To read the letter, click HERE. Read More

#SubCommTech Chair Blackburn Comments on GAO Lifeline Report

2017/06/29

WASHINGTON, DC – Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today issued the following statement after Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) released a Government Accountability Office (GAO) report detailing waste, fraud, and abuse within the FCC’s Lifeline program. “While the Lifeline program is important to working toward universal connectivity and for those most in need across the country, today’s GAO report confirms what we’ve long been saying here at the committee – there’s serious issues with waste, fraud, and abuse within the Lifeline program,” said Chairman Blackburn. “We must ensure that the program is helping those who are truly in need while minimizing the burden on those that fund the program. Today’s report makes it clear that the previous administration’s oversight of the program fell short and more needs to be done. We will continue to review the details and maintain oversight over the program.” ###  Read More

#SubHealth Advances Four Bipartisan #PublicHealth Bills

2017/06/29

[[{"fid":"2981","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a markup examining four bipartisan public health bills. The subcommittee advanced the following bills:  H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 767 passed the subcommittee, as amended, by voice vote.   H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, authored by Dr. Burgess, establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care that will allow both sectors to benefit from the others’ expertise and experience. H.R. 880 passed the subcommittee, as amended, by voice vote.   H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. H.R. 931 passed the subcommittee, as amended, by voice vote.   H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs along with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) grants to states to support oral health workforce activities. H.R. 2422 passed the subcommittee, as amended, by voice vote. “Today’s markup focuses on four important pieces of legislation that will support the folks who work to improve our communities every day, and I am encouraged by the bipartisan fashion that the subcommittee has worked to craft these policies,” said Chairman Burgess. For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click here. ###   Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R.767, H.R.880, H.R.931, and H.R.2422.

2017/06/29

[[{"fid":"2936","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

UPDATED: Take a Road Trip to Obamacare’s ‘Barren’ Counties

2017/06/29

[[{"fid":"2979","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"9"}}]] View full size HERE UPDATE: Yesterday, Nevada became the latest state to have a long list of barren counties – 14 in total. See which ones here. WASHINGTON, DC – There’s no better way to see the country than by taking a road trip, right? This summer, you’ll want to head out to the counties in rural America that are poised to have zero Obamacare insurers next year. Today, nearly 50 counties are set to have no insurers available on their Obamacare exchange. And as many as 1,200 counties – 40 percent of counties nationwide – could have only one insurer in a state’s marketplace next year. There are some important stories to be heard out on the road. So if you’re visiting Missouri, Ohio, or Nevada this summer, be sure to check out some top roadside attractions in these ‘barren’ counties. Unfortunately, in these counties there are the same number of Acela stops as there are insurers: zero. NEW: [[{"fid":"2959","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Padlock Your Love in Lovelock Lovelock, NV (Pershing County) Photo courtesy of TripAdvisor NEW: [[{"fid":"2960","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Northern Nevada Railroad’s Ghost Train Ely, NV (White Pine County) Photo courtesy of ExploringNevada.com [[{"fid":"2961","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Oldest Concrete Street in America Bellefontaine, OH (Logan County) Photo courtesy of RoadsideAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2962","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum Logan, OH (Hocking County) Photo courtesy of TourismOhio [[{"fid":"2963","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"5"}}]] First Oil Well in North America Caldwell, OH (Noble County) Photo courtesy of RoadsideAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2964","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"6"}}]] Ice Cream Cone Building (Kris and Kate’s Ice Cream) St. Joseph, MO (Buchanan County) Photo courtesy of Pinterest [[{"fid":"2965","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"7"}}]] Home of Sliced Bread Chillicothe, MO (Livingston County) Photo courtesy of SillyAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2966","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"8"}}]] "Big Mouth," World’s Largest Coal Shovel Rich Hill, MO (Bates County) Photo courtesy of Flickr ### Read More

Energy and Commerce Advances Eight Bills

2017/06/28

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today passed eight #SubEnergy and #SubEnvironment bills aimed at modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure, environmental laws and enhances the nation’s energy security. “In my home state of Oregon, these bills will help us unlock hydropower’s potential, take steps towards cleaning up the Hanford site, and strengthen the Brownfields Program to redevelop contaminated sites,” said Chairman Walden. “All that we do here, we do for our constituents back home that sent us to Washington to get things done. While these bills may not grab the headlines they deserve, lets be real, we did some big things here today that will have tremendous impact on consumers, the environment, and the economy in the years ahead.” [[{"fid":"2949","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Rep. Olson delivers comments on his bill, H.R. 806 H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would; Provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. H.R. 806 would ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while making improvements to air quality. In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 ozone standard following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. For a fact sheet on the bill, click HERE. H.R. 806 passed by a vote of 29-24 as amended. [[{"fid":"2958","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"8"}}]] Rep. Hudson listens in as members debate H.R. 2786, to amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, authored by committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would; Promote the development of small conduit hydropower facilities, an emerging new source of renewable energy that can be added to existing infrastructure. H.R. 2786 passed by a voice vote.  [[{"fid":"2950","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Rep. Mullin reviews notes on his bill, H.R. 2883, ahead of debate H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, authored by committee member Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), would; Establish a predictable and transparent process to permit the construction of cross-border pipelines and electric facilities. H.R. 2883 passed by a vote of 31-20. [[{"fid":"2953","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Rep. Flores prepares his remarks ahead of debate on his bill H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, authored by committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), would; Promote better coordination among FERC and other agencies involved in siting interstate natural gas pipelines. H.R. 2910 also increases transparency and accountability by requiring more information to be disclosed to the public. H.R. 2910 passed by a vote of 30-23. [[{"fid":"2954","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Rep. McKinley talks about his bipartisan Brownfields bill H.R. 3017, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV), would; Reauthorize and make improvements to the EPA Brownfields Program, encourages EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, create jobs, and provide for economic development. H.R. 3017 passed the committee by voice vote.  [[{"fid":"2955","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Rep. McMorris Rodgers talks about the importance of hydropower as Rep. Latta looks on H.R. 3043, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, authored by committee member and Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), would; Modernize federal policies by designating FERC as the lead agency for licensing hydropower projects. H.R. 3043 would promote affordable, reliable, and renewable hydropower energy. H.R. 3043 passed by voice vote. [[{"fid":"2956","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] Rep. Upton discusses his bill during debate H.R. 3050, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), would; Enhance the energy emergency planning requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to strengthen the capability of states to secure the energy infrastructure of the United States against physical and cybersecurity threats; and mitigate risk of energy supply disruptions. H.R. 3050 passed the committee by voice vote.  [[{"fid":"2957","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]] Rep. Shimkus talks through his bill, H.R. 3053 H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), would; Preserve Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal while authorizing interim storage, including private storage initiatives, to provide optionality until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments. Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository. H.R. 3053 provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste be fulfilled. For a fact sheet on the bill, click HERE. H.R. 3053 passed by a vote of 49-4. Electronic copies of the legislation, a background memo, amendment text and votes can be found at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here.  ###  Read More

Committee Leaders: More Work Needed to Bolster Critical Medicaid Data

2017/06/28

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today commented on a new report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector general (OIG) regarding the Transformed Medicaid Statistical Information System (T-MSIS), a new data system that is designed to “improve the completeness, accuracy, and timeliness of Medicaid data.” HHS OIG identified technological problems during data testing and competing initiatives that limited states’ capacity to focus on T-MSIS. Due to these issues, the report said that the date for T-MSIS to have state Medicaid program data has continued to be delayed. CMS’s initial goal was for all states to be submitting T-MSIS data on a monthly basis by July 1, 2014. Since then, CMS has moved the target date six additional times. Their current goal is to have all states submit T-MSIS data by the end of 2017. According to CMS, “as of June 6, 2017, 40 states and the Pennsylvania CHIP are submitting T-MSIS data.” The report also noted that “as states and CMS continue to work together to submit data into T-MSIS, they continue to raise concerns about the completeness and reliability of the data; these same concerns were raised in OIG’s 2013 review of the T-MSIS pilot. Specifically, states indicate that they are unable to report data for all the T-MSIS data elements. Additionally, even with a revised data dictionary that provides definitions for each data element, states and CMS report concerns about states’ varying interpretations of data elements.” The report serves as a timely reminder of Medicaid’s 14-year history of being considered a high-risk program. A February report by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) showed that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to rely on inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely data. “The trend of poor data has been a problem for more than a decade, and it is has real consequences,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “Challenges within the system remain, such as a history of delayed target dates for implementation, the lack of a deadline for when data will be available for program analysis, and the absence of a universal understanding of data elements that need to be implemented in order to make any analysis of national trends or patterns reliable. T-MSIS is an important and promising system that could help move the Medicaid program off the high-risk list, but it is imperative that these challenges be addressed.” To read a copy of the report, click HERE. ### Read More

Energy and Commerce Committee Vote on H.R. 3043, H.R. 2786, H.R. 3050, H.R. 2883, H.R. 2910, H.R. 3017, H.R. 3053, and H.R. 806

2017/06/28

[[{"fid":"2927","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Committee Set to Pass Important Brownfields Reauthorization Legislation

2017/06/28

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee is set to pass H.R. 3017, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV). H.R. 3017 would reauthorize and make improvements to the EPA Brownfields Program, encourage EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, create jobs, and provide for economic development. Brownfields sites are often abandoned, closed, or under-utilized industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory in a town, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry cleaning establishment or gas station. EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the United States, and each of these sites has the potential to encourage economic development through the Brownfields Program.  [[{"fid":"2943","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] From California to West Virginia, EPA’s Brownfields Program has played an important role in revitalizing local economies as the success stories below point out. In committee member Rep. Mimi Walters’ (R-CA) district, the City of Orange, California, turned former landfills located on a railroad site into Grijalva Park at Santiago Center through grants provided by the EPA’s Brownfields Program. Back in #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus’ (R-IL) district in Danville, Illinois, a report on the Brownfields Program determined the program, “helped encourage redevelopment and infill development in distressed neighborhoods in and around the downtown area that otherwise may have not been possible,” and, “helped transform other blighted vacant buildings into productive, tax-contributing properties.” In committee member Rep. Buddy Carter’s (R-GA) district, a Chick-fil-A in Valdosta and a Sam’s Club in Savannah currently sit on remediated Brownfield sites. Additionally, a former power plant on Jekyll Island is now home to the Georgia Sea Turtle Center thanks to the Brownfields Program.  [[{"fid":"2944","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Rep. Carter Tours the Georgia Sea Turtle Center In Rep. McKinley’s home state of West Virginia, Pietro Fiorentini – an Italian-based manufacturer – recently broke ground on a new manufacturing facility in Weirton on a site that was redeveloped through the Brownfields Program. The Okmulgee Business Complex, located in committee member Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s (R-OK) district, was previously a petroleum refinery and storage facility. Through the Brownfields Program, the remediated site is now home to three businesses (Tractor Supply, Harlan Ford, and a Holiday Inn Express). Minute Maid Park, just outside of #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson’s (R-TX) district, sits on a former Brownfields site. WATCH Rep. Olson discuss the project during a committee hearing here.  [[{"fid":"2945","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Minute Maid Park Before & After - Photo Credit: City of Houston ###  Read More

ICYMI: Energy & Commerce Members Highlight Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act

2017/06/28

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee today will vote on H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL). H.R. 3053 provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste be fulfilled.  [[{"fid":"2937","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click HERE to watch #SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus discuss H.R. 3053 For a fact sheet on the bill, click here. For a comprehensive list of the committee’s work as it relates to Yucca Mountain, click here. Energy and Commerce Committee members have been hard at work informing folks across the country about the committee’s work to clean up the spent nuclear fuel sitting in 121 communities across 39 states throughout the country. Check out some of that work below.  [[{"fid":"2938","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Getting the Nation’s Nuclear Waste Disposal Back on Track By: Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) “At the end of the day this bill is good for taxpayers, communities, and ratepayers. Thirty-five years ago Congress enacted the Nuclear Waste Policy Act and 30 years ago Congress designated the Yucca Mountain site as the sole location for the first repository. It’s now time for the federal government to fulfill its obligation and permanently dispose of the spent nuclear fuel sitting in our states, alongside our lakes, rivers and roadways. The time for action is now and we intend to roll up our sleeves to get this done.” Read the full opinion piece online HERE.   [[{"fid":"2939","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Green, Flores: U.S. must better manage nuclear waste storage By: Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) and Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX) “Currently, our committee is working on the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017. This legislation is intended to ensure that previously collected funding is available to pay for the disposal of spent nuclear fuel, stop the redirection of ratepayer taxes being used to subsidize other government spending, and allow the federal government to open an interim storage facility to safely store spent nuclear fuel until the permanent repository at Yucca Mountain has opened. “For too long, Texans have paid the federal government and gotten nothing in return when it comes to nuclear power. We are committed to getting our nuclear waste management responsibilities back on track.” Read the full opinion piece online HERE. [[{"fid":"2940","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] Nuclear waste of time By: Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) “Enough is enough. That’s why the House Energy and Commerce Committee is hard at work on a permanent solution, with the environmentally sound Yucca Mountain as the cornerstone of our nuclear waste management policy. This legislation, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, would focus the Department of Energy’s nuclear waste management activities on successful completion of the Yucca mountain license application. Clearly, completing Yucca Mountain provides the safest and most efficient way to finally remove the high-level waste and spent nuclear fuel from communities around the country. “It’s time for the people of Georgia, South Carolina and across this country see a return on our investment in the form of a permanent geologic repository that houses both high-level waste and spend nuclear fuel. That’s Yucca Mountain, and we’re working hard to make good on our word to the American people.” Read the full opinion piece online HERE.  [[{"fid":"2941","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"5"}}]] Walden: Want to clean up Hanford? Finish Yucca Mountain By: Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) “The recent incident at Hanford could have been a lot worse. It’s time for the Department of Energy to fulfill their legal obligation to dispose of this waste to assure nothing worse happens. Thankfully, we’re working towards a durable solution at the Energy and Commerce Committee and rest assured, we will get this waste consolidated and safely stored in its permanent home in Yucca Mountain.” Read the full opinion piece online HERE. Read More

CO-OP Calamity Continues, Costing Taxpayers More than $2 Billion

2017/06/28

WASHINGTON, DC – Nineteen of the original 23 Obamacare CO-OPs have failed at a total cost to taxpayers of more than $2 billion, and left vulnerable patients with fewer places to turn for help. The latest CO-OP to leave the marketplace is Minuteman Health, Inc., which serves both Massachusetts and New Hampshire. With Minuteman’s exit, 37,000 patients will be forced to find a new health care plan for January. The only CO-OPs still slated to be open to patients in January are: New Mexico, Maine, Wisconsin, and Montana. [[{"fid":"2946","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] CO-OPs that have failed and taxpayer dollars received (in order by closing announcement): CoOportunity Health - Iowa and Nebraska Cost: $145,312,100 Louisiana Health Cooperative, Inc. Cost: $65,790,660 Nevada Health Cooperative Cost: $65,925,396 Health Republic Insurance of New York Cost: $265,133,000 Kentucky Health Care Cooperative - Kentucky and West Virginia Cost: $146,494,772 Community Health Alliance Mutual Insurance Company - Tennessee Cost: $73,306,700 Colorado HealthOp Cost: $72,335,129 Health Republic Insurance of Oregon Cost: $60,648,505 Consumers' Choice Health Insurance Company - South Carolina Cost: $87,578,208 Arches Mutual Insurance Company – Utah Cost: $89,650,303 Meritus Health Partners – Arizona Cost: $93,313,233 Consumers Mutual Insurance – Michigan Cost: $71,534,300 InHealth Mutual – Ohio Cost: $129,225,604 HealthyCT – Connecticut Cost: $127,980,768 Oregon Health’s CO-OP Cost: $56,656,900 Land of Lincoln Health – Illinois Cost: $160,154,812 Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey Cost: $109,074,550 Evergreen Health Cooperative Inc. – Maryland Cost: $65,450,900 Minuteman Health, Inc. – Massachusetts and New Hampshire Cost: $156,442,995 TOTAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS: $2,042,008,855 Note: This total does not include Vermont’s CO-OP, which was denied an insurance license by the state, and was dissolved before enrolling a single person.  ### Read More

#SubHealth to Markup Bipartisan Public Health Bills THURSDAY

2017/06/27

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), has announced it will markup four bipartisan public health bills on Thursday, June 29, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Three of the four bills being considered were the subject of a hearing last month. #SubHealth will consider four bipartisan bills seeking to advance public health: H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. 880, the Military Injury Surgical Systems Integrated Operationally Nationwide to achieve ZERO Preventable Deaths (MISSION ZERO) Act, authored by Dr. Burgess, establishes a grant program for military-civilian partnerships in trauma care that will allow both sectors to benefit from the others’ expertise and experience.  H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs along with the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) grants to states to support oral health workforce activities. “These bipartisan bills are important to the folks in our communities, particularly those that seek to care for others,” said Chairman Burgess. “From helping our first responders and connecting civilian patients with battle-tested trauma care, to ensuring we have the resources necessary for good oral health, these bills will advance our public health efforts.” Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. ### Read More

#SubDCCP Members Discuss Drafts of 14 Self-Driving Bills

2017/06/27

[[{"fid":"2935","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a hearing to discuss 14 drafts of self-driving legislation that will capitalize on this technology’s potential to save lives, clarify state and federal roles, and foster advancement in innovation. Today’s discussion provided constructive feedback on how members can further refine language to promote the safe deployment of self-driving vehicles and continue expanding economic opportunities for Americans. The underlying theme of today’s hearing was the importance of ensuring consumer safety on roadways, and there is no doubt that self-driving cars can play a big role in reducing fatalities. “Last year there were over 40,000 fatalities and more than 2 million injuries on our nation’s highways,” said Chairman Latta. “Our goal today is to enact the right policies to encourage self-driving technologies that can drastically reduce those numbers.  We have a real opportunity to address this problem.” He concludes with, “[t]his isn’t the government saying you have to get in a self-driving car. This is government making sure that industry can innovate in response to our changing lives.” Also explaining many of the societal benefits of self-driving vehicles, and the new opportunities this technology creates, was Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. He stated in his testimony, “Self-driving technologies will potentially save thousands of American lives annually, addressing a large portion of roadway fatalities and crashes associated with human error. Cars with self-driving features also offer huge quality of life benefits –access for the disabled and elderly; time saved by being driven rather than driving so the commuting time can be spent on more productive activities; and the increased freedom that comes from quicker trips due to less congestion.” [[{"fid":"2933","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"style":"height: 249px; width: 450px;","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] John Bozzella, President and CEO of the Association of Global Automakers, spoke to the need for “Congress and the Administration to ensure that there is a consistent national approach to automated vehicle policy.”  He stressed the need for uniformity as a patchwork of state regulations “will lead to conflicting rules that could delay deployment of life-saving technologies.” Echoing a need for certainty within the industry, and the ways in which this would benefit the U.S. from a global stand point, was Tim Day the Senior Vice President of the Chamber Technology Engagement Center at the US Chamber of Commerce. He stated, “To be competitive in the global self-driving vehicle market, the United States needs to make sure that innovators face a single set of standards as opposed to a patchwork of standards from different states. Without preemption, we risk impeding our innovators and ceding our leadership in this industry.” “We too join you in wanting to make sure that this innovation takes place in America first,” said Full Committee Chairman Walden. “We’ve been on the cutting edge, and we can continue to be on the cutting edge. But the long and short of it is that this new technology has great opportunity to save lives. I’ve seen it first hand in the vehicle my wife has...I believe we are on the cusp on something big, and I think that future generations will look back and say, ‘What a bunch of barbarians. You drove yourselves?’” Offering more detailed feedback on the draft legislation, was The Honorable David Strickland, Counsel at the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets and Partner at Venable LLP. He offered, “We appreciate that the Committee’s draft legislation creates a number of advisory councils comprised of non-governmental experts to assist the Secretary and NHTSA in their considerations of self-driving vehicles and their societal impacts.” [[{"fid":"2934","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Following the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Latta and Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) held a bipartisan press conference to discuss their efforts on this draft legislation and their commitment to working together to increase bipartisan support. For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.   Read More

Walden and Murphy Raise a Flag on Medical Research Protocol that Does Not Appear to be Consistent with FDA Rules

2017/06/27

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) today sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) regarding NIH-sponsored emergency medical research that is conducted without informed consent. The inquiry comes on behalf of a constituent who reached out to their member of Congress. The constituent lost his wife, who went into cardiac arrest. “A few days later, the constituent received a letter from a medical research center informing him that his wife had participated in an out-of-hospital study with the county paramedics as part of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). As part of this study, emergency medical service (EMS) personnel were told that they could administer one of three unmarked medications to someone appearing to be in cardiac arrest—two were heart-related medications and one being a placebo,” write Chairmen Walden and Murphy. “The constituent later learned that an individual would have to actively opt out of the study in order to not be a participant. Because his wife was unconscious, she could not provide her consent to participate, and was automatically enrolled in the study. The constituent, who was present when his wife went into cardiac arrest, was not given an opportunity to object to his wife’s participation in the study before EMS personnel resuscitation attempts.” The constituent reached out to his local fire chief for more information on the study. In their communication, the fire chief wrote saying “Direct notification of family members (informed consent) was not required by the National Institute [sic] of Health or the FDA for this particular study. It was not included in the paramedic training rollout for this fire departments. …Simply put, they [paramedics] did not obtain your consent because they were not told or trained to obtain your consent.” The leaders raised a number of concerns with the steps that took place in this incident and posed a series of questions for the NIH, which can be viewed here. Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to NIH Regarding Medical Research Protocol

2017/06/27

Excerpt: “A few days later, the constituent received a letter from a medical research center informing him that his wife had participated in an out-of-hospital study with the county paramedics as part of the Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium (ROC), sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). As part of this study, emergency medical service (EMS) personnel were told that they could administer one of three unmarked medications to someone appearing to be in cardiac arrest—two were heart-related medications and one being a placebo. The constituent later learned that an individual would have to actively opt out of the study in order to not be a participant. Because his wife was unconscious, she could not provide her consent to participate, and was automatically enrolled in the study. The constituent, who was present when his wife went into cardiac arrest, was not given an opportunity to object to his wife’s participation in the study before EMS personnel resuscitation attempts.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

Self-Driving Vehicle Legislation

2017/06/27

[[{"fid":"2926","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

MARKUP: Energy and Commerce to Consider Eight Bills to Modernize Energy Infrastructure and Environmental Laws

2017/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a full committee markup on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building to consider legislation that modernizes our energy infrastructure, environmental laws and enhances our energy security. “Through the first six months of this Congress we’ve been hard at work examining policies and opportunities to modernize our country’s energy infrastructure and environmental laws for the 21st century,” said Chairman Walden. “We’ve done our homework, we’ve jumped into the heart of these issues and Wednesday’s markup is another important step in our efforts to enact policies that make a difference for folks back in Oregon and across the country.” The committee will consider the following bills: H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, introduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would; Provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. H.R. 806 would ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while making improvements to air quality. In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 ozone standard following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. For a fact sheet on the bill, click HERE. H.R. 2786, to amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify as a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, authored by committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would; Promote the development of small conduit hydropower facilities, an emerging new source of renewable energy that can be added to existing infrastructure. H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, authored by committee member Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), would; Establish a predictable and transparent process to permit the construction of cross-border pipelines and electric facilities. H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, authored by committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), would; Promote better coordination among FERC and other agencies involved in siting interstate natural gas pipelines. H.R. 2910 also increases transparency and accountability by requiring more information to be disclosed to the public. H.R. 3017, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV), would; Reauthorize and make improvements to the EPA Brownfields Program, encourage EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, create jobs, and provide for economic development. H.R. 3043, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, authored by committee member and Conference Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), would; Modernize federal policies by designating FERC as the lead agency for licensing hydropower projects. H.R. 3043 would promote affordable, reliable, and renewable hydropower energy. H.R. 3050, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act, authored by #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), would; Enhance the energy emergency planning requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to strengthen the capability of states to secure the energy infrastructure of the United States against physical and cybersecurity threats; and mitigate risk of energy supply disruptions. H.R. 3053, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017, authored by #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL), would; Preserve Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal while authorizing interim storage, including private storage initiatives, to provide optionality until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments. Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository. H.R. 3053 provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste be fulfilled. For a fact sheet on the bill, click HERE. Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found at the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. ###  Read More

E&C, W&M Leaders Praise Trump Administration’s Action to Protect Access for Medicare Beneficiaries with Significant Disabilities

2017/06/26

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), and Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH) released the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a new guidance on Friday protecting access to Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT), such as specialized wheelchair accessories, for Medicare beneficiaries with significant disabilities. The guidance comes just days before the July 1st deadline to reevaluate how the fee schedule payments for CRT would be treated under the Medicare program – and just days before potential spending cuts to CRT providers and, ultimately, patients.  “Congress has worked for years to reverse a misguided policy that violated congressional intent and jeopardized access to specific medical innovations that so many patients rely on in their daily lives,” said Walden, Burgess, Brady, and Tiberi. “After bipartisan short-term fixes to this problem, we are grateful to have a willing partner in the Trump Administration, which took swift action to right this wrong and prevent Medicare cuts from ever happening for these devices in the future. This is a big win for disabled patients and their caregivers, who need these critically important products so they can live their lives to the fullest.” Background: Congress had statutorily excluded, certain complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs and their accessories from competitive bidding pricing – which could lead to decreased support from the Medicare program –because these specialized products are so different from standard wheelchairs and accessories. Unfortunately, in 2014, CMS reinterpreted their application of this prohibition to apply competitive bidding to these products. Congress acted in December 2015 to prohibit the Secretary from using information from the competitive bidding program to adjust the fee schedule payments for accessories furnished in conjunction with this group of complex rehabilitative power wheelchairs prior to January 1, 2017. This legislation was passed by unanimous consent by the House and Senate. Congress acted once again in the 21st Century Cures Act, pushing the cuts back to July 1, 2017. Congress had asked the Administration to reevaluate this policy before the July 1st deadline. ### Read More

CMS Acts on Committee Priority to Help Stabilize the Market

2017/06/23

WASHINGTON, DC – Obamacare has a long list of failures and #BrokenPromises. House Republicans, working with the Trump administration, are giving patients relief from markets that have been damaged by Obamacare. While we’ve been working to implement longer-term solutions to rebuild our health markets, the Trump administration just acted to help provide some short-term stabilization of the individual insurance market. Under Obamacare, certain patients are allowed to enter HealthCare.gov and state exchanges outside of the defined Open Enrollment Period (OEP). Special Enrollment Periods (SEPs) are an important tool for patients who may lose health insurance outside of the traditional OEP or experience a life event — like moving, having or adopting a child, or getting married. Under the health care law, it is required to verify documentation for individuals enrolling with SEPs. However, the Obama administration set a precedent, allowing for coverage without verification. Committee member, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), introduced H.R. 706, the Plan Verification and Fairness Act, to correct this problem. H.R. 706 would reinstate the required verification for individuals who wish to enroll under SEPs. But before Congress acted, the Trump administration did the right thing to protect taxpayers. This is an important step by CMS, and one that will help stabilize the marketplace. ### Read More

#SubHealth Examines Funding for Bipartisan Safety Net Health Programs

2017/06/23

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing examining the extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Funding for both programs is set to expire at the end of September. Chairman Burgess highlighted the importance of both programs, saying, “The Community Health Center Fund plays an important role in supplementing the services that FQHCs are able to deliver to underserved communities by providing care to all Americans, regardless of income or ability to pay. …The SCHIP program provides health care coverage to over 8 million children across the nation. Through flexible capped allotments to the states, the program has been able to successfully support children while providing states with opportunities to tailor their respective programs as to best meet the needs of their respective populations.” Mr. Mike Holmes, CEO of Cook Area Health Services (CAHS), spoke about the services his FQHC provides – medical, dental, and behavioral health care to patients in Minnesota. Speaking more broadly about FQHCs, Mr. Holmes stated, “Health centers are a cost-effective and local solution to the national challenge of providing access to primary and preventive care that is accessible, affordable, and of the highest quality. Thanks to support from bipartisan administrations and Congresses, the reach of health centers has grown significantly. Today, FQHCs represent the nation’s largest primary care network, serving more than 25 million patients in every state and territory, and are continually working to provide integrated, comprehensive care to our patients.” Ms. Jami Snyder, Associate Commissioner for Medicaid/SCHIP Services, in the state of Texas, spoke to both the successes and challenges of the program under current law, and highlighted that Texas operates its CHIP benefit package in a way that is more comparable to the commercial insurance market. “Tailoring CHIP in this way has facilitated the establishment of a predictable program budget and the provision of CHIP services to more children, consistent with federal funding levels,” explained Ms. Snyder. “This approach has also allowed Texas to remain within its federal funding allotment, in turn, preventing the need to establish a waitlist for CHIP applicants.” “We recognize that CHIP and community health centers play a significant role in the nation’s safety net for millions of Americans – children and pregnant women who are generally low-to-moderate income, and millions of individuals who may be medically underserved or face other barriers to care,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Individuals and families served by these programs are not just program enrollees – they are our neighbors, and friends.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ###  Read More

Digital Release

2017/06/23

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee kicked off the week with a quick road trip to Obamacare’s barren counties, checking out roadside attractions in rural America. Also this week, the committee held two hearings and a markup of five #EnergyInfrastructure bills. #SubCommTech discussed how we can work to expand broadband coverage nationwide and #SubHealth explored funding extensions for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). Scroll down below for a #BehindTheScenes look For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"2919","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Wednesday’s #SubCommTech hearing was a full house, as members discussed how we can achieve nationwide broadband coverage. [[{"fid":"2920","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Representatives Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY) take notes during the #SubCommTech hearing as witnesses delivered opening statements. [[{"fid":"2921","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] #SubCommTech Chairwoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) shares a laugh with members at the start of Wednesday’s hearing. [[{"fid":"2922","view_mode":"default","fields":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] [Photo by Kristoffer Tripplaar for The Washington Post] Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) joined a Washington Post panel to discuss the roots of the opioid crisis and what is being done to curb growing addiction in our country. [[{"fid":"2923","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) smiles as members crack a joke during Thursday’s subcommittee markup. [[{"fid":"2924","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) leans over to talk with his son during Friday’s #SubHealth hearing on funding for important safety net health programs. Read More

Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs

2017/06/23

[[{"fid":"2893","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Read More

Committee Leaders Encourage CMS to Act on Unimplemented Recommendations from HHS Inspector General

2017/06/23

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today sent a letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding a backlog of recommendations issued by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) that date back to almost 30 years. The letter was signed by full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). The unimplemented recommendations are for Medicare Parts A and B, Medicare Part D, and Medicaid. “While we are concerned about this backlog of unimplemented recommendations, we believe there is a path forward to address this issue,” write Chairmen Walden, Murphy, and Burgess. “The start of your term as CMS Administrator provides a tremendous opportunity to bring results-oriented management and accountability to CMS. In that spirit, and in consultation with the HHS OIG, attached is a list of 12 HHS OIG unimplemented recommendations made to CMS in a variety of prior HHS OIG reports on Medicare and Medicaid. We believe that implementing these recommendations—all of which appear to be low cost and uncontested by CMS—within a year is an achievable goal.” The letter also asks CMS to prioritize the top 25 unimplemented recommendations, as compiled by the OIG. “These top unimplemented recommendations have been identified by OIG as ones that would most positively impact HHS programs in terms of cost savings and/or quality improvements. CMS should also prioritize progress on these recommendations,” the leaders added. Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. ### Read More

Letter to CMS Regarding Unimplemented Recommendations from HHS OIG

2017/06/23

Excerpt: “While we are concerned about this backlog of unimplemented recommendations, we believe there is a path forward to address this issue. The start of your term as CMS Administrator provides a tremendous opportunity to bring results-oriented management and accountability to CMS. In that spirit, and in consultation with the HHS OIG, attached is a list of 12 HHS OIG unimplemented recommendations made to CMS in a variety of prior HHS OIG reports on Medicare and Medicaid. We believe that implementing these recommendations—all of which appear to be low cost and uncontested by CMS—within a year is an achievable goal.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

#SubEnergy Advances Five Energy Bills to the Full Committee

2017/06/22

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today advanced five bills to the full committee for consideration that seek to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure and promote energy security. “Today’s markup was an important step toward modernizing our nation’s infrastructure and breaking down barriers to job growth and economic development,” said Chairman Upton. “I look forward to engaging with members of the committee to further perfect the bills and I look forward to building on this momentum as we work to find other areas of bipartisan agreement.”  [[{"fid":"2912","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] #SubEnergy Chair Upton Listens to Debate at Today's Markup H.R. ____, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, passed #SubEnergy by voice vote.   The discussion draft would modernize federal policies by designating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for licensing hydropower projects. The legislation would promote affordable, reliable, and renewable hydropower energy. On March 15, 2017, the subcommittee held a hearing examining hydropower and modernizing energy infrastructure. On May 3, 2017, the subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the discussion draft.  “Hydropower is of particular importance to me. In my home state of Oregon, over 40 percent of our energy is produced from hydropower at relatively low costs to consumers across my district,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “ The two bills before us today make meaningful improvements to the hydropower licensing process.” H.R.____, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act, passed #SubEnergy by voice vote. The discussion draft would enhance the energy emergency planning requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to strengthen the capability of states to secure the energy infrastructure of the United States against physical and cybersecurity threats; and mitigate the risk of energy supply disruptions. “Prioritizing and elevating energy security planning and emergency preparedness is an important and timely step in the face of increased risks and interdependencies of energy infrastructure and end-use systems,” stated Chairman Upton. H.R. 2786, to amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, authored by committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), passed #SubEnergy by voice vote; H.R. 2786 would promote the development of small conduit hydropower facilities, an emerging new source of renewable energy that can be added to existing infrastructure. On May 3, 2017, the subcommittee examined a discussion draft of the legislation. Discussing his bill, Rep. Hudson commented, “Promoting this affordable source of clean electricity is important to our nation’s all of the above energy strategy. Hydropower remains one of the most efficient and affordable sources of electricity…In North Carolina alone it generates enough electricity to power 350,000 homes each year. Despite its benefits, hydropower’s growth has been stagnant…There are unnecessary regulatory burdens that simply clog up the dam…Congress must remove some of these regulatory roadblocks that inhibit market driven growth.” H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, authored by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), passed #SubEnergy by a vote of 19-12; H.R. 2883 would establish a predictable and transparent process to permit the construction of cross-border pipelines and electric transmission facilities. On May 3, 2017, the subcommittee examined a discussion draft of the legislation. “We’re not making any changes to any environmental study… This legislation defines border- crossing facility to mean the portion of the pipeline that is located at the international boundary only… This bill has been carefully crafted with bipartisan support to be protective of public safety and the environment,” stated Rep. Mullin. H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, authored by committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), passed #SubEnergy by a vote of 17-14; H.R. 2910 would promote better coordination among FERC and other agencies involved in siting interstate natural gas pipelines. H.R. 2910 also increases transparency and accountability by requiring more information be disclosed to the public. On May 3, 2017, the subcommittee examined a discussion draft of the legislation. “America is one of the world’s top oil and gas producers thanks to the shale revolution. Our energy infrastructure and permitting process must be updated to reflect America’s abundance of domestic energy resources. Modernizing the permitting process for the nation’s pipeline infrastructure allows us to efficiently and safely bring those resources to our downstream assets, ultimately to consumers, to power our economy, and to give opportunities to our hard-working American families,” commented Rep. Flores.    [[{"fid":"2913","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Full Committee Chairman Walden Delivers His Opening Statement “Cumulatively, these bills represent an important step in our efforts to put consumers’ interest first while working to enact reforms that build on our energy infrastructure, and grow our economy and create good jobs,” concluded Chairman Walden. “I look forward to continuing to work in a bipartisan manner as we track towards a full committee markup.” Electronic copies of the legislation, a background memo, amendment text and votes can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website HERE. ###  Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R. 2786; H.R. 2883; H.R. 2910; H.R. ___, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017; and H.R. ___, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act of 2017

2017/06/22

[[{"fid":"2905","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

#SubCommTech Examines Further Challenges and Opportunities to Achieve Nationwide Broadband Coverage

2017/06/21

WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today held a hearing examining the challenges and opportunities to achieve nationwide broadband coverage. Access to broadband is a critical component of the 21st century economy. #SubCommTech examined the accuracy of the data collection efforts when it comes to reaching unserved or underserved areas of the country, as well as the robustness of available technologies.  [[{"fid":"2907","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] #SubCommTech Chair Blackburn Delivers Her Opening Statement “Broadband is the infrastructure challenge of this decade and the ‘digital divide’ continues to plague rural America in particular,” said Chairman Blackburn. “We must be good stewards of taxpayer money by ensuring that there is access to accurate data so that areas with the greatest need for broadband services are targeted by public and private investments. Those who do not learn from the mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them.” Mr. Doug Brake, Senior Telecommunications Policy Analyst at the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, discussed the importance of connecting those truly in need of broadband access first, commenting, “When faced with the question of where to direct federal support dollars, policymakers have three high-level options: give access to those who have none – connect the truly unserved. Increase speeds of existing networks. Support an additional competitor, giving consumers choice. Priority should be given in that order, focusing on the truly unserved…” Mr. Brent Legg, Vice President of Government Affairs at Connected Nation, outlined three suggestions for future mapping efforts, stating, “First, any future mapping effort must prioritize the accuracy and granularity of the maps themselves to ensure that the nation’s broadband landscape is fully understood at the street address or parcel level of detail…Second, that level of granularity requires the protection of providers’ proprietary and confidential information… Third, any future mapping effort must be premised on a uniform reporting mechanism to eliminate inconsistencies in state-by-state reporting.” Bryan Darr, CEO at Mosaik, spoke to the important role the private sector will play in broadband deployment, commenting, “When measuring the availability of broadband to consumers, the policymakers should take into account all sources – especially as providers embrace newer technologies to improve network quality… When government agencies embrace the capabilities of private companies instead of competing with them, taxpayers can spend less money and benefit from sound policymaking based on more accurate and timely data about network coverage and performance. Let’s make sure we use the best of what the private sector has to offer.”  [[{"fid":"2908","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Chairman Walden Delivers His Opening Statement “People in most remote parts of Oregon and unserved parts of the country would tell you they’d be happy with just about any level of high-speed internet service, they just want to be connected,” concluded full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Without the best data available, we will continue to leave rural areas behind. What we’ve unfortunately seen over the years of debate on how to deliver fast, reliable internet access to all Americans, is that folks that need it most often get lost in the rush to dole out government funds. Let’s do it right this time. Let’s connect rural America to new economic opportunities and increase the quality of life in these communities.” A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE. ###  Read More

Defining and Mapping Broadband Coverage in America

2017/06/21

[[{"fid":"2892","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

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Fax 202-225-1919
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Greg Walden

OREGON's 2nd DISTRICT

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