Committee on Energy and Commerce

Fred Upton

Lance Highlights #SubCMT’s Active Agenda to Protect Consumers and Promote Growth

2016/09/28

The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been a legislative workhorse this Congress, boasting over 120 bills and provisions that have passed the House as part of its bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess. The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee has been particularly active working to protect consumers and modernize government for the innovation era, with four subcommittee bills recently passing the full House. As #SubCMT Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ) highlights in The Hill, the subcommittee “has been on a roll in September moving very interesting and timely legislation that addresses many issues facing 21st century consumers.” [[{"fid":"1651","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"CongressBlog","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"CongressBlog"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"CongressBlog","title":"CongressBlog","height":"96","width":"653","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 27, 2016 Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee pursues an active agenda By #SubCMT Vice Chairman Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) The Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has been on a roll in September moving very interesting and timely legislation that addresses many issues facing 21st century consumers. Almost everyone knows or uses websites like Yelp for insight on online services.  Restaurant reviews, contractor ratings and tips from others in the marketplace have helped build an economy where hard-work and satisfied customers are rewarded with high ranks and new business. The subcommittee wants to preserve that meritocracy and secured passage in the full House of the Consumer Review Fairness Act. This legislation will allow Americans to exercise their First Amendment rights regarding consumer experiences without fear of retribution. Online reviews and ratings are critical in the 21st Century and consumers should be able to post, comment and tweet their honest and accurate feedback.  Too many companies are burying non-disparagement clauses in fine print and going after consumers when they post negative feedback online. That’s not right.  So the Consumer Review Fairness Act voids any non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts. It’s also not right that sports and music fans get boxed out of buying tickets by internet bots that scoop up tickets seconds after venues open online for sale.  That’s why the subcommittee advanced, and the House passed, the Better Online Ticket Sales Act (BOTS Act) that will allow the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to take action against online scalpers. Scalpers have engaged in an underhanded practice harming consumers sitting in front of their computer screens waiting for online portals to open.  Within seconds, bots from scalper software take thousands of tickets out of the pool of availability.  Scalpers then jack up the prizes and leave fans disappointed.  The BOTS Act ends this practice and gives the FTC some teeth to track down and punish these abusers. Fans of Bruce Springsteen to Taylor Swift will soon have much better ticket buying experiences. Both of these soon-to-be laws address issues unique to the 21st century economy.  The rapid pace of innovation is constantly changing the way we work, learn and live our lives. These great advancements have changed the calculus of business and government and are altering the ways we produce new opportunities for all Americans.  And this groundbreaking work has changed the way we commute, receive health care and utilize energy.  These advancements have come to be known as the Internet of Things (IoT). The subcommittee wanted to put the U.S. House on the record, and so we passed House Resolution 847 highlighting the importance of the Internet of Things and the role it will play in this century’s economic prosperity. … This work of the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee, under the leadership of Chairman Michael Burgess (R-Texas), is part of the tremendous legacy of outgoing Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.). Read the full column online HERE. Read More

#CuresNow Update from E&C Leaders

2016/09/28

WASHINGTON, DC – Leading House advocates for H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, today issued a statement on progress to advance the landmark legislation that would accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments. “The path to Cures has been a multi-year journey that has always been about putting patients first. Hand-in-hand with that goal is to advance Cures this year, legislation that will bring hope to families all across the country,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), original co-sponsors of the bill, together with Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX). “We have been working hard for months, and we will continue to work toward an agreement that can pass both chambers and be signed by the president. And the good news is that we are on the cusp of something special. We are focused on delivering #CuresNow. At hand is a once-in-a-generation opportunity and we’re committed to getting 21st Century Cures signed into law this fall.” For more information about H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, click here.  ### Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Unanimously Clears Comm Act Update of 2016

2016/09/27

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today unanimously amended and approved S. 253, the Communications Act Update Act of 2016. The bill contains eight Energy and Commerce Committee bills that have previously passed the House or have unanimously passed the committee. S. 253 now heads back to the Senate for final consideration. “This bill encompasses nearly two years of legislative activity. This legislation is further evidence of our dedication to advancing thoughtful solutions that empower consumers and small businesses, make the FCC more transparent, and enhance our public safety communications networks. The Communication Act Update of 2016 lays an important foundation as we work to update our laws for the innovation era,” said Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). The bills included in the package are as follows (in order by Title of the amendment to S. 253): H.R. 2583, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act, sponsored by Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). Previously passed the House November 16, 2015, by voice vote. H.R. 734, the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act, sponsored by House Majority Whip and committee member Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA). Previously passed the House February 24, 2015, by a vote of 411 to 0. H.R. 4596, the Small Business Broadband Deployment Act, sponsored by Chairman Walden. Previously passed the House March 16, 2016, by a vote of 411 to 0. H.R. 4167, Kari’s Law Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Previously passed the House May 23, 2016, by voice vote. H.R. 3998, Securing Access to Networks in Disasters Act, sponsored by Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ). Previously passed the House May 23, 2016, by a vote of 389 to 2. H.R. 2669, Anti-Spoofing Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and co-authored by committee members Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX). Previously passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee September 21, 2016, by voice vote. H.R. 1301, Amateur Radio Parity Act, sponsored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). Previously passed the House September 12, 2016, by voice vote. H.R. 2566, Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability, sponsored by Rep. David Young (R-IA). Previously passed by the Energy and Commerce Committee September 21, 2016, by voice vote. “These eight bills are further testament that the Energy and Commerce Committee is a legislative workhorse. Another hallmark of the committee is that we try to take advantage of every opportunity to advance our legislative priorities,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Greater government transparency, improving rural phone call quality, protecting consumers – these are all wildly popular and have achieved near unanimous support in the House. Hopefully, this effort helps clear the logjam and we will start to see real progress. Folks in Southwest Michigan and across the country are counting on us to get these bills across the finish line to modernize our communications laws for the 21st century.” ### Read More

#SubOversight Examines Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens

2016/09/27

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing on bioresearch labs and the inactivation of dangerous pathogens. Taking center stage at the hearing was a new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that changes must be made regarding the government’s high-containment labs that handle our deadliest pathogens. The report was requested by committee leaders. Among the GAO’s findings is that the Select Agent Program does not have “a consistent, written set of criteria for handling incidents.” Lab safety is of critical concern for the subcommittee, which has actively investigated the recent lapses. Dr. Timothy M. Persons, Chief Scientist, GAO, shared some of the reports critical findings, citing: limited information and federal guidance on developing inactivation guidelines, inconsistent safeguards, and varied requirements for shipping materials that have gone through the inactivation process. “Experts in our meeting stated that such challenges may affect laboratories’ ability to mitigate the risk of incomplete inactivation,” stated Dr. Persons. “Failed inactivation has been long overlooked by regulators and the research community. GAO brings us several important findings,” stated Chairman Murphy. “First, the GAO found that the Federal Select Agent Program, operated by both the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture, does not require laboratories to identify incidents involving failed inactivation in its reporting resulting in inconsistent and incomplete reports. From 2003 until 2015, the Select Agent Program reported 10 incidents, but GAO documented an additional 11 situations in which select agents were not effectively inactivated.” “Without major overhaul of how deadly agents, like anthrax, are handled and how research is conducted, the risk of repeating this mistake remains viable,” added Chairman Murphy. “Lives are on the line, and there is zero margin for error. We can and must do a better job,” stated full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony, an archived webcast, and background memo, click here. ###   Read More

Bioresearch Labs and Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens

2016/09/27

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#CuresNow Goes Viral

2016/09/27

Over the last few days, the push for #CuresNow has gone viral following the 2016 Global Genes Summit (#2016GGSummit). The non-profit organization advocates for patients and families fighting rare and genetic diseases. Energized advocates and other participants were eager to discuss their journey on the #Path2Cures, and why they need #CuresNow. [[{"fid":"1634","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"362","width":"581","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1635","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"614","width":"591","style":"width: 450px; height: 468px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1636","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"612","width":"578","style":"width: 450px; height: 476px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1637","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"759","width":"582","style":"width: 450px; height: 587px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1638","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"717","width":"580","style":"width: 450px; height: 556px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1639","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"781","width":"580","style":"width: 450px; height: 606px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1640","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"752","width":"581","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1641","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"751","width":"578","style":"width: 450px; height: 585px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1642","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"749","width":"576","style":"width: 450px; height: 585px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] ###   Read More

POSTPONED: Examining Expanded Access to Investigational Therapies

2016/09/27


#RecordOfSuccess: House Passes Two More Bipartisan E&C Public Health Bills

2016/09/26

WASHINGTON, DC – Building on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess, the House of Representatives today passed two more bipartisan public health bills. To date, over 115 bipartisan Energy and Commerce bills and provisions have cleared the House in the 114th Congress. Passing in the House today were: H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid Act, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), requires SAMHSA to award grants to initiate and sustain mental health awareness training grants. The goal of these programs is to train individuals to accomplish safe de-escalation of crisis situations, recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and encourage timely referral to mental health services. H.R. 1877 passed unanimously by voice vote.   H.R. 3537, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), would place a number of synthetic drug compounds on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. H.R. 3537 passed the House by a vote of 258-101.           The full committee unanimously passed both bills last Wednesday. “These two bipartisan bills build upon the Energy and Commerce Committee’s continued commitment to meaningful mental health reform and combating drug abuse,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “We have made important progress, and these thoughtful solutions passed by the House today will make a real impact where it matters most - on the ground in communities across Michigan and the entire country.” To learn more about the committee’s #RecordOfSuccess, click HERE. ### Read More

Lemonade Stand on the #Path2Cures

2016/09/24

[[{"fid":"1626","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"208","width":"333","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Bayleigh Westerlund and her friends setting up shop. One week ago, Bayleigh Westerlund and her friends took to the sidewalk in front of her house in Brockton, Massachusetts, to raise awareness for Tay-Sachs disease. The rare genetic disorder may sound familiar – we profiled Georgia Tech’s offensive tackle, Trey Klock, who has been battling the disease, back in June. [[{"fid":"1627","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"212","width":"174","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Georgia Tech’s Trey Klock. Westerlund’s cousin, Dylan James Manning, died from the disease in 2006 at the young age of four. Last weekend, for the seventh straight year, Westerlund and her friends opened a lemonade stand selling drinks and snacks to help raise money to find a cure for the disease. “Every year it’s been growing and growing,” Sarah Remy, a friend of Westerlund’s, told WCVB TV. Their lemonade stand also coincided with the nationwide “Day of Hope,” something they are surely helping deliver to patients battling Tay-Sachs disease. [[{"fid":"1628","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"73","width":"218","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Brockton teen takes stand against rare disease with lemonade stand It was a sweet and sour day for Bayleigh Westerlund and her friends in Brockton Saturday as they ran a lemonade stand to raise money for those stricken by a rare disease. The Enterprise said Westerland, 16, and her friends stood in the front yard of her home on Cashman Road selling cups of lemonade, apple cider, iced tea and treats like cookies and brownies. It was their seventh year in a row operating the stand as a way to raise funds to help find a cure for Tay-Sachs disease, a rare genetic disorder. The disease causes progressive neurological deterioration, which can lead to death. Westerland's cousin Dylan James Manning died at age 4 from the disease in 2006. She and her friend Sarah Remy, 17, got the idea to do the lemonade stand as a way to help memorialize Manning. … "Every year it's been growing and growing," Remy said. … Read the full story online HERE. [[{"fid":"1629","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"64","width":"171","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Teens raise money after 4-year-old cousin dies of rare disease A 15-year-old's heart was with her young cousin as she served up cups of lemonade in Brockton Saturday.  "He always had spikey hair, the bluest eyes and the longest eye lashes...he inspired so many without even saying word," she said.  Bayleigh Westerlund and her best friend decided to start an annual lemonade fundraiser after Dylan Manning, her cousin, passed away from a rare genetic disorder called Tay-Sachs. It has no cure and the life expectancy is three to five years. "We had no idea what Tay-Sachs was. And when you heard it was fatal disease, it's terminal, and that he's a child...that will never grow up," said Ellie Westerlund, Dylan's aunt, trailing off. … Bayleigh and her friend decided to hold the fundraiser to raise money for the National Tay-Sachs and Allied Disease Association and to spread awareness.  "So that no other kids has to go through what Dylan had to," said Bayleigh. … Read the full story online HERE. ###   Read More

Look Ahead: Committee Announces Hearing Schedule for the Week of September 26

2016/09/23

[[{"fid":"1630","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"220","width":"339","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today announced its hearing schedule for the week of September 26. Tuesday’s Subcommittee on Health hearing, entitled “Examining Expanded Access to Investigational Therapies,” has been postponed. Information on a new date and time will be posted here when it becomes available. Tuesday afternoon, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing entitled, “Bioresearch Labs and Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens.” Over the last two years, the subcommittee has held hearings on shipments of live anthrax from federal labs at the CDC and a Department of Army lab that were thought to be rendered harmless through a process called inactivation. Members will have an opportunity to evaluate the issues related to the inactivation of dangerous pathogens, and see what potential next steps can be taken. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony is available here. Hearing Details Tuesday, September 27, 2016 2 PM RHOB 2322 Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “Bioresearch Labs and Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens” Read More

E&C PRIMER: D.C. Circuit Court to Review EPA’s Power Grab Next Week

2016/09/23

WASHINGTON, DC – Next Tuesday, September 27, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit will hear oral arguments on the EPA’s “Clean Power Plan.” Since the plan was proposed, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power has held eight hearings examining the legality and implementation of this rule. Selected excerpts of testimony from these hearings, as well as links to the hearings and related information, are provided below.  The Power Plan was published on October 23, 2015, and is based solely on a rarely invoked provision of the Clean Air Act known as Section 111(d). Conscious of the rule’s legal implications and its impacts on state electricity sectors, ratepayers, and consumers, Congress responded by passing a Joint Resolution pursuant to the Congressional Review Act disapproving of the final rule. This bipartisan Joint Resolution was transmitted to the president on Dec. 18, 2015 and vetoed. Twenty-seven states are challenging the rule (see list below). On February 9, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued an unprecedented stay of the rule, and on February 23, 2016, over 200 Members of Congress, including 34 Senators and 171 Representatives, joined in an amicus brief in support of the states challenging the rule. CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY ON EPA’S “POWER PLAN”: “EPA is attempting an unconstitutional trifecta: usurping the prerogatives of the States, Congress and the Federal Courts - all at once. Burning the Constitution should not become part of our national energy policy.” Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor, Harvard University and Professor of Constitutional Law, Harvard Law School, March 17, 2015   “I think it's safe to say that when the rule was - the Clean Power Plan was published in the Federal Register October of last year it represented the EPA's most far-reaching regulation of the electric power sector in the agency's history. … In short, to regulate existing power plants, the EPA is effectively requiring the construction of entirely new power plants. This novel approach means that EPA has interpreted the Clean Air Act to give that agency the power essentially to plan the resource mix of the U.S. power sector. Effectively, the EPA has created a de facto fuel and renewable energy standard. I am concerned about this because traditionally making determinations as to the economic, environmental and social efficiency of utilities' investments to serve retail customers has been for nearly a century the province of state utility commissions.” Travis Kavulla, President, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners and Vice-Chairman, Montana Public Service Commission, July 6, 2016   “If upheld, the Clean Power Plan would lead to a formidable, unprecedented and unlawful expansion of EPA’s authority. The resulting restructuring of nearly every State’s electric grid would exceed even the authority that Congress gave to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the federal agency responsible for electricity regulation. But EPA’s theory of “generation shifting,” which is not about making regulated sources reduce their emissions while operating but rather about preventing many sources from operating at all, does not stop with the power sector. … Section 111(d) would be transformed from a limited provision into the most powerful part of the Clean Air Act, making the agency a central planner for every single industry that emits carbon dioxide.” David Porter, Chairman, Texas Railroad Commission, July 6, 2016   “The point is that the CPP fundamentally changes the nature of decision-making about operating power plants –who makes the decision, and on what basis. … The key energy generating states must reduce their carbon emissions by as much as 40%, regardless of whether this means that less expensive, reliable generators must shut down. EPA gets final approval of a State’s plan, which would be developed by a State’s environmental regulators, not the state energy regulators. In other words, which power plants can run and when would no longer be a matter primarily of energy regulation, but of environmental regulation.”  Charles D. McConnell, Executive Director, Energy and Environment Initiative, Rice University and Former Assistant Secretary of Fossil Energy, U.S. Department of Energy (2011-2013), July 6, 2016   “There is universal agreement that the 111(d) rule will fundamentally restructure how energy is generated and consumed in America. … This fundamental change to America’s electricity model will come at the hands of a rule that few consider legally firm. The EPA acknowledges in the rule that it is structured to survive even if portions of the rule are struck down. In my more than 20 years of implementing air quality rules, I am not aware of any rule where the EPA has made an a priori acknowledgement of legal infirmity.” Donald R. van der Vaart, Secretary, North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, March 17, 2015 RELATED E&C HEARINGS: “A Review of EPA’s Regulatory Activity During the Obama Administration: Energy and Industrial Sectors,” July 6, 2016 “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants: Legal Perspectives,” October 22, 2015 “EPA’s CO2 Regulations for New and Existing Power Plants,” October 7, 2015 “EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants, and H.R. __, Ratepayer Protection Act,” April 14, 2015 “EPA’s Proposed 111(d) Rule for Existing Power Plants: Legal and Cost Issues,” March 17, 2015 “State Perspectives: Questions Concerning EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan,” September 9, 2014 “FERC Perspectives: Questions Concerning EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan and other Grid Reliability Challenges,” July 29, 2014 “EPA’s Proposed Carbon Dioxide Regulations for Power Plants,” June 19, 2014 RELATED E&C LEGISLATION: Congressional Joint Resolution of Disapproval: The House passed S.J. Res. 24 on December 1, 2015, which had been passed by the Senate on November 17, 2015. S.J. Res. 24 was identical to H.J. Res. 72; the House Committee Report accompanying the joint resolution can be found here.  “Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015”:  The House also passed bipartisan legislation, H.R. 2042, on June 24, 2015. A copy of the Committee Report accompanying the bill can be found here.  RELATED E&C CORRESPONDENCE: May 13, 2016, press release and letter to EPA and Aug. 18, 2016, response relating to judicial stay. Nov. 2, 2015, press release and letter to EPA and Nov. 18, 2015, initial response relating to positive law codification of 111(d) of the Clean Air Act. STATES CHALLENGING EPA’S POWER PLAN:  States whose attorneys general or state agencies are challenging the rule include: West Virginia, Texas, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. The attorney general of Nevada also submitted an amicus brief in support of state petitioners. Read More

#SubCommTech Reviews Telephone Consumer Protection Act

2016/09/22

[[{"fid":"1624","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3006","width":"3648","style":"width: 300px; height: 247px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today held a hearing examining the impact the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has had on consumers and the legitimate businesses that are trying to contact them. “It’s been 25 years since Congress passed the TCPA and the world has changed dramatically in that time period. Half of U.S. households are becoming wireless, eliminating land-line phones entirely. In 2016, there are more cellphones than people in this country. It’s increasingly clear current law is outdated and in many cases counterproductive. It’s time to modernize the current law to reflect the incredible technological changes in our culture. We all share the goal of preventing harmful calls and texts from bad actors,” said Chairman Walden. Communications and Technology Vice Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) continued, “The TCPA is clearly outdated and needs to be reformed to meet the technological changes made in the last quarter of a century. We must prioritize consumer protection by deterring bad actors, not by punishing businesses and organizations. The FCC’s broad definition of auto-dialers creates greater uncertainty for consumers and companies. Together we can modernize current law to reflect modern culture and protect hardworking Americans across the country.” Since the TCPA’s enactment in 1991, the technology for making unwanted calls has changed dramatically, making it more difficult to weed out unwanted calls without thwarting legitimate calls. During today’s hearing, members from both sides of the aisle emphasized the need for our laws to evolve as technology does, so that protecting consumer’s safety and productivity remains a priority. For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, archived webcast, and witness testimony, click HERE. ###  Read More

Running Out of Options On Obamacare, Desperate Administration Turns to “Better Call Saul”

2016/09/22

Earlier this week, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans pressed the Obama administration for details on its lawsuit scheme to circumvent Congress and bailout Obamacare insurers. The committee effort followed testimony from a top administration official at last week’s joint Health Subcommittee and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing that the administration was willing to settle lawsuits with taxpayer dollars. Congress has acted twice on a strong, bipartisan basis to ensure that the Risk Corridors program is budget neutral, and no taxpayer dollars are used to cover losses by plans. But the Obama administration has since signaled that they may circumvent Congress through a sue-and-settle scheme. During the hearing, Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) asked CMS chief Andy Slavitt to provide the committee with information about insurers who have sued the government over these payments as well as those who have indicated their intent to sue. The lawmakers also requested the names of individuals who have been involved in inter-agency discussions about the lawsuits. To date, the committee has only received publicly available information about carriers that have sued the federal government, prompting committee leaders to send a follow up request earlier this week. “The Obama administration is panicked, and this ‘Better Call Saul’ sue-and-settle scheme is the pinnacle of desperation as the health law crumbles,” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) told The Wall Street Journal. [[{"fid":"1623","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"42","width":"447","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 22, 2016 House Republicans Warn Against Settling Suits With Insurers Over Health-Care Payments WASHINGTON—Congressional Republicans are warning the Obama administration not to settle with insurers that have sued the government over an Affordable Care Act program to compensate them for losses under the law, saying such a move would bypass spending limits set by Congress. Forty-six House Republicans signed a letter sent Thursday to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell saying they oppose any settlements and could sue the administration to block them. Earlier this week, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee also sent a letter to Ms. Burwell saying they are concerned the agency is looking for a backdoor way to pay insurers over shortfalls in the ACA program known as “risk corridors.” The program was designed to help insurers that suffer losses on the ACA exchanges by giving them payments from other insurers that did well on the new business. Insurers say in some lawsuits that federal officials initially said the payments for losses would be made in full but later decided it would be “budget neutral,” meaning it would only pay out as much as it collected. Language in congressional spending bills reinforced this stance. The Republicans’ concerns about settlements were prompted by a Sept. 9 memo on 2015 risk corridor payments in which HHS said it was open to discussing resolution of the lawsuits. Such settlements could potentially help relations with an industry that has been increasingly worried about the viability of ACA business, with some companies abandoning the marketplace altogether. An HHS official said Thursday that “as in all cases where there is litigation risk, we are open to discussing resolution of those claims.” HHS is being represented by the Justice Department in the suits. The amount owed to insurers in 2014 wound up being much more than the sum collected. So HHS announced last fall that insurers initially would get only 12.6% of the money they claimed under the program for 2014, its first year of operation. In its Sept. 9 memo, HHS said it recognizes the health law requires full payment to insurers. It also said that it expects all collections from 2015 into the risk corridor program will have to be used toward 2014 payments that are owed. It said it would explore other funding sources, including working with Congress. But lawmakers said they are concerned the memo’s language is an invitation to other insurers to sue and use litigation as a vehicle to get money that the Obama administration was unable to pay out through the program. They say they believe settlement money would come from a Justice fund established to pay court judgments. “The Obama administration is panicked, and this ‘Better Call Saul’ sue-and-settle scheme is the pinnacle of desperation as the health law crumbles,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R., Mich.), referring to a television drama series. … Read the full story online HERE. ###   Read More

#SubCMT & #SubEnergyPower Examine EPA and NHTSA GHG and CAFE Standards

2016/09/22

WASHINGTON, DC – The Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and the Energy and Power Subcommittee, chaired by Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), today held a hearing examining car and truck efficiency standards set by both the EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) that could have significant economic impacts on consumers. The subcommittees looked at the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards set by NHTSA and the EPA. Members examined the impact these standards will have on new car costs and safety. Members also sought an update on the ongoing Midterm Evaluation process, the status of economic projections and assumptions used to develop CAFE/GHG standards, and what can be done to eliminate the different standards between NHTSA, the EPA, and the states. [[{"fid":"1622","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3303","width":"4891","style":"width: 500px; height: 338px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Peter Welch testifies before the joint subcommittees. When discussing the standards, Peter Welch, President of the National Automobile Dealers Association, commented, “If the fuel economy policies force auto manufacturers to produce vehicles that customers do not want or cannot afford to buy, no one wins.” [[{"fid":"1621","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3317","width":"4831","style":"width: 500px; height: 343px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Mitch Bainwol offers testimony. Mitch Bainwol, President and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, discussed the problem with the administration’s failure to unify the standards, commenting, “Unfortunately, the principle of ‘One National Program’ has not materialized as harmonization gaps remain and will increase in the future. … Compliance with one federal program does not guarantee compliance with all. These discrepancies are creating immediate problems that must be addressed now….” [[{"fid":"1620","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3648","width":"5472","style":"width: 500px; height: 333px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Vice Chairman Olson presides over second panel testimony. “When two agencies have conflicting priorities, no one wins. It’s not just automakers who suffer if we don’t get this right,” said Vice Chairman Olson. “The American people will be greatly impacted by a patchwork that increases costs, when it could have been avoided. I hope that working together, we can find common ground to harmonize these standards and develop the real vision of One National Program.” Mr. John Bozzella, President and CEO of Global Automakers, discussed the importance of getting the Midterm Evaluation process right, stating, “The Midterm Evaluation is critical to the overall goals of a strong, unified national program. Federal and state fuel economy and GHG emissions standards must be aligned to minimize differences and costs while maximizing environmental and energy benefits.” “I have serious concerns about the real-world impact that NHTSA’s standards for model year 2022 to 2025 vehicles will have on the economy, the health of the auto industry, and consumer welfare,” stated Chairman Burgess. “I believe in fuel efficiency, and energy independence. But I also believe in policy that is based on real world data, and consumer choice. As strongly as I feel about energy efficiency, I feel equally as strongly that the government should not be in the business of telling consumers what they can and cannot purchase. I look forward to continuing to examine the assumptions that NHTSA and EPA are looking at as they require ever increasing fuel efficiency standards and how they further NHTSA’s core mission in providing safe and secure vehicular travel for the American people.” Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, “Being from Michigan, I worry about the impact these standards could have on the long-term health of the auto sector. That’s why I hope EPA and NHTSA use this opportunity to adjust the targets for Model Years 2022 to 2025 to more reasonable and achievable levels. Motor vehicles are getting more efficient and will continue to do so, but we need to make certain that it happens in a way that maximizes benefits for consumers and preserves the health of the automotive industry.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, archived webcast, and witness testimony, click HERE.  Read More

Friday’s #SubOversight Hearing Postponed

2016/09/22

The Energy and Commerce Committee’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today announced that Friday’s hearing has been postponed. Information about rescheduling the hearing will be posted here as it is available. ### Read More

Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act

2016/09/22

[[{"fid":"1619","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards For Motor Vehicles

2016/09/22

[[{"fid":"1617","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Select Investigative Panel Recommends Contempt for StemExpress

2016/09/22

Washington, DC — The Select Investigative Panel today approved a report recommending that StemExpress and its Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Spears Dyer, be held in contempt of Congress for failing to comply with lawfully issued subpoenas. Chairman Marsha Blackburn issued the following statement after the Panel passed the report by a vote of 8-0: “Nearly one year ago our Panel was established and given the important task of investigating very disturbing allegations that some abortion clinics and middleman procurement organizations, including StemExpresss, were violating federal law by profiting from the sale of human fetal tissue. In order to determine if these entities were in violation of federal law or if the relevant statute needs to be updated, our Panel must review all accounting and banking records. “Nine months is enough time for an entity to produce accounting documents. It is our hope that by approving this report today, StemExpress and its CEO, Cate Dyer, will begin to take our investigation seriously. It’s time for them to turn over the records we need to complete our investigation. “A subpoena is not a suggestion. It is a lawful order that must be complied with. If StemExpress continues to obstruct, then we will work with House leadership to determine the necessary next steps.”   A copy of the Contempt Report can be found HERE. ### Read More

NEW REPORT: Nonpartisan Watchdog Calls For “Improved Oversight” of Dangerous Pathogens

2016/09/21

A new report by the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that changes must be made regarding the government’s high-containment laboratories that handle the world’s deadliest pathogens. Among the GAO’s findings is that the Select Agent Program does not have “a consistent, written set of criteria for handling incidents.” GAO issued six recommendations for how HHS and USDA can improve oversight of the Select Agent Program of inactivating dangerous pathogens. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has been actively looking into the Select Agent Program and requested the GAO investigate. The report will be the subject of Friday’s hearing before the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. Click HERE to read a copy of the report. [[{"fid":"1613","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"65","width":"353","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 21, 2016 GAO finds more gaps in oversight of bioterror germs studied in U.S. labs Government regulators have no idea how often laboratories working with some of the world’s most dangerous viruses and bacteria are failing to fully kill vials of specimens before sending them to other researchers who lack critical gear to protect them against infection, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office. The risks to scientists, shipping companies and the public became the subject of international scrutiny last year when it was discovered that a U.S. Army lab in Utah had unwittingly made 575 shipments of still-live anthrax specimens – labeled as killed – to 194 labs and contractors around the world from 2004 through 2015. Yet GAO investigators found it was impossible to determine how often this kind of problem occurs in public and private labs nationwide, in large part because the incident reporting forms used by federal regulators and other oversight agencies aren’t designed to capture and track this kind of problem. In addition, not all pathogens are covered by federal incident reporting requirements. The result: Federal officials can’t easily search their databases, making it difficult for them to understand the magnitude of the problem, spot trends and ensure corrective actions are being taken to prevent future accidents, the GAO found. “We’ve averted disaster for some time, but it’s going to become a question of when and not if," Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Tim Murphy, R-Pa., who have been investigating safety and security issues at U.S. laboratories, said in a statement. “This report sounds the alarm,” they said, that federal regulators lack important reporting of such incidents and don’t have clear and consistent criteria on how to handle them. Upton is chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Murphy chairs the committee’s oversight and investigations subcommittee. The committee, which provided a copy of the unpublished GAO report to USA TODAY, is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday. … Read the full story online HERE. ### Read More

Select Investigative Panel Business Meeting

2016/09/21

[[{"fid":"1612","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Select Investigation Panel Markup","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Committee Continues Bipartisan Work to Improve the Public Health

2016/09/21

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held a markup to consider eight bipartisan bills, six of which originated in the Health Subcommittee. The full committee passed the following public health bills unanimously by voice vote:  H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances to patients pursuant to standing orders issued by their EMS agency’s medical director.    H.R. 1192, National Clinical Care Commission Act, authored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), would establish a National Clinical Care Commission to evaluate and recommend solutions regarding better coordination and use of federal programs relating to supporting care for people with metabolic syndromes and related autoimmune disorders. H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, introduced by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), increases data collection by HHS to help place maternal health professionals in more appropriate geographic regions and health professional shortages through their existing participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). There is no new authorization of appropriations for this bill nor does it open or expand participation in the NHSC. H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), requires SAMHSA to award grants to initiate and sustain mental health awareness training grants. Individuals throughout a community would be eligible for inclusion in training such as first responders, law enforcement, or teachers. The goal of these programs is to train individuals to accomplish safe de-escalation of crisis situations, recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and encourage timely referral to mental health services. H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), reauthorizes grants and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate nursing education in specified areas of nursing. The legislation also amends the PHSA to include clinical nurse leaders as advanced education nurses making clinical nurse leader education programs eligible for advanced education nursing grants. H.R. 3537, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), would place a number of synthetic drug compounds on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. “Collectively, these bipartisan bills will improve the health of Americans across a large spectrum of issues,” stated Chairman Upton. “From better coordinating federal efforts regarding autoimmune and metabolic syndromes, to updating the list of dangerous synthetic drug compounds to get them off our streets, these bills will all make a difference for folks in Southwest Michigan and across the country.” For information on the two bills originating from the Communications and Technology Subcommittee that passed the full committee today, click here. For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click HERE. ### Read More

NEXT WEEK: #SubHealth to Examine Investigational Therapies

2016/09/21

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), announced a hearing for Tuesday, September 27, 2016, at 10 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining Expanded Access to Investigational Therapies.” The subcommittee will examine the complicated web of issues related to biopharmaceutical companies producing and providing patients with access to investigational drug compounds that are in various stages of development and have yet to be fully reviewed or approved by the FDA. The subcommittee will discuss the processes currently in place and potential room for improvement. “Next week’s fact-finding hearing will help grow our understanding of current policy surrounding patient access to drug compounds still in development,” said Chairman Pitts. “We will continue to look for ways to help patients and their providers navigate this often complicated process involving FDA, bioethicists, and pharmaceutical companies.” The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

Committee Clears Two Bipartisan #SubCommTech Bills to Protect Consumers

2016/09/21

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee today passed H.R. 2566, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2016, and H.R. 2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015, advancing both bills to the full House of Representatives for consideration. Both bills originated out of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR). H.R. 2566, introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA), would; Require intermediate providers to register with the Federal Communications Commission and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency in order to improve call quality from long distance or wireless calls in rural areas throughout the country. Passed unanimously by voice vote. H.R. 2669, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and co-authored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), would; Strengthen the Truth In Caller ID Act and protect consumers from fraudulent actors and deceptive text messages by going after lawbreakers who seek to harass and defraud consumers. Passed unanimously by voice vote. “Both of these bills are designed to hold bad actors accountable and protect consumers,” stated full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Poor call quality and lost or failed calls are still a prevalent problem for our rural consumers in Southwest Michigan and around the country. I’ve heard directly from rural providers in my district as well as local small businesses that this issue is of great importance and today we took action.” For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, text of the legislation, and an archived webcast, click HERE. ###  Read More

Upton and Murphy Request Update From FDA on Agency’s Office of Criminal Investigations

2016/09/21

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) sent a letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday requesting an update regarding their Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) after independent watchdogs identified weaknesses. “Two independent reports, one from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in 2010 and one from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG) in 2012, have identified OCI management issues and made recommendations for improvements,” wrote the leaders. “The GAO report on FDA OCI found that the FDA maintained limited oversight of the investigations conducted by OCI and lacked sufficient performance measures. The GAO report also raised concerns about the OIA, a component of FDA OCI comprised of OCI detailees, responsible for conducting internal allegations of misconduct by FDA employees.” [[{"fid":"1610","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"62","width":"211","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] House committee launches review of FDA criminal office September 21, 2016 A U.S. congressional committee has launched an examination of the Food and Drug Administration's criminal office, raising questions about the unit’s management and handling of cases involving food, drugs and devices. The House Energy and Commerce Committee told FDA Commissioner Robert Califf it is "examining management concerns" and "possible morale concerns with the field offices" of the Office of Criminal Investigations. The September 20 letter, signed by committee chairman Fred Upton and Tim Murphy, chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, seeks answers to a detailed list of questions by October 12. Among other issues, the House committee questions why George Karavetsos, director of the Rockville, Maryland-based FDA criminal office, is allowed to run the unit from an office in South Florida, near his home. An FDA spokeswoman said the agency received the letter and will respond to the committee directly. The House questions come two weeks after Reuters reported how some FDA agents complain criminal office managers have forced them to pursue cases involving mislabeled foreign-imported injectable drugs, at the expense of cases with more potential to protect the public health. … Click here to read the full story. ### Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Passes Bill Empowering Medicaid Beneficiaries

2016/09/20

[[{"fid":"1606","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"179","width":"342","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – Building on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess, the House of Representatives today passed legislation that would amend the Social Security Act to allow individuals to set up their own special needs trust by a vote of 383-22. This commonsense change empowers individuals with more autonomy and control, rather than making them dependent on a legal system that can sometimes be bureaucratic and slow. H.R. 670, the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act, was introduced by Rep. Glenn Thompson (R-PA). H.R. 670 also includes provisions from H.R. 5717, the Medicaid Data and Benefit Improvement Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ). These provisions would extend Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation services to mothers during the first year of a newborn’s life. “This marks another bipartisan victory that puts patients first,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Currently, a special needs trust can only be established by parents, grandparents, legal guardians, or a court. Today we are acting to advance fairness and equality, so that individuals with special needs can create their own trusts and better determine their own future.” To learn more about the committee’s #RecordOfSuccess, click HERE. ### Read More

Markup of H.R. 2566, H.R. 2669, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, H.R. 2713, H.R. 3537, and H.R. 4365

2016/09/20

[[{"fid":"1608","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Full Committee Markup Day 1","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1611","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Full Committee Markup","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

E&C Leaders Press Administration on White House's Obamacare Insurance Bailout Scheme

2016/09/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican committee leaders are urging HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell to provide details about the Risk Corridors program and answers to questions concerning statements made by CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, who testified under oath last week that the administration is willing to settle lawsuits with taxpayer dollars. Congress has acted twice on a strong, bipartisan basis to ensure that the Risk Corridors program is budget neutral, and no taxpayer dollars are used to cover losses by plans. But the Obama administration has since signaled that they may circumvent Congress through a sue-and-settle scheme. “During the joint hearing, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith asked Mr. Slavitt if CMS takes the position that insurance plans are entitled to be made whole on risk corridors payments, even if there is no congressional appropriation to do so. Mr. Slavitt responded under oath: ‘Yes, it is an obligation of the federal government.’ Mr. Slavitt also testified that the DOJ had reviewed the September 9, 2016, CMS memorandum that invited insurance companies to settle with CMS,” wrote the leaders. “Since Congress acted twice to protect taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the use of federal funds to make up for any shortfall in risk corridors payments, the Committee is concerned about the Administration’s intent to use any federal funds to settle the suits brought by the insurance companies. It appears that any such settlements would come from the permanent appropriations for judgments (‘Judgment Fund’).” During Rep. Griffith’s exchange, he asked CMS to provide the committee with information by the end of the week about insurers who have sued the government over these payments as well as those who have indicated their intent to sue. The lawmakers also requested the names of individuals who have been involved in inter-agency discussions about the lawsuits. To date, the committee has only received publicly available information about carriers that have sued the federal government. “Further, the Administration’s explicit offer to settle these lawsuits appears to be a direct circumvention of the clear Congressional intent to prohibit the expenditure of federal dollars on this program,” explain the leaders, who requested more detailed information by October 4, 2016. The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), and Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA). Read a full copy of the letter, HERE. ### Read More

Letter to HHS Regarding Risk Corridors Program

2016/09/20

Excerpt: "During the joint hearing, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith asked Mr. Slavitt if CMS takes the position that insurance plans are entitled to be made whole on risk corridors payments, even if there is no congressional appropriation to do so. Mr. Slavitt responded under oath: ‘Yes, it is an obligation of the federal government.’ Mr. Slavitt also testified that the DOJ had reviewed the September 9, 2016, CMS memorandum that invited insurance companies to settle with CMS. Since Congress acted twice to protect taxpayer dollars by prohibiting the use of federal funds to make up for any shortfall in risk corridors payments, the Committee is concerned about the Administration’s intent to use any federal funds to settle the suits brought by the insurance companies. It appears that any such settlements would come from the permanent appropriations for judgments (‘Judgment Fund’)." To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

Upton and Burgess Comment on Administration’s Autonomous Vehicle Guidance

2016/09/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement after the Department of Transportation and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released guidance related to autonomous vehicles. “We’re encouraged by NHTSA’s transparent, collaborative approach to developing these guidelines for the next generation of vehicular technology, but as always the devil is in the details. We will continue to engage all stakeholders, monitor developments, and welcome continued safety innovations,” commented Upton and Burgess. “Incredible advancements in technology hold great promise to save lives, improve mobility, vehicle efficiency, and transportation accessibility for underserved communities. The stakes are high with self-driving cars, and it’s important the necessary care is taken to get this right.” ###  Read More

Select Investigative Panel To Consider Report Recommending StemExpress for Contempt of Congress

2016/09/19

Washington, DC — Chairman Marsha Blackburn today announced that on Wednesday, September 21, 2016, the Select Investigative Panel will hold a business meeting to consider a report recommending that the U.S. House of Representatives find StemExpress and its Chief Executive Officer, Catherine Spears Dyer, in contempt of Congress. Separately, the Panel will consider a resolution authorizing the Chair to release the May 11, 2016, deposition conducted as part of the Panel’s investigation into the University of New Mexico. The markup will begin at 2:00pm Eastern Time in HVC-210 at the United States Capitol.        WHAT: Select Investigative Panel Markup of Contempt Resolution   WHEN: 2:00pm ET on Wednesday, September 21, 2016   WHERE: HVC-210, United States Capitol   Electronic copies of the items under consideration and a background memo will be available here as they are posted. A live webcast will also be available at the same link on the day of the markup.   ### Read More

Grandparents Rally to Help Deliver #CuresNow to Toddler in the “Fight for His Life”

2016/09/19

[[{"fid":"1600","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"200","width":"199","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Two-year-old Spencer Smith with his grandmother, Linda Hinman. Two-year-old Spencer Robert Smith was recently diagnosed with MPS-III, Sanfilippo syndrome. The rare, genetic disease has launched his grandparents into action to find a cure for their sweet and always smiling grandson. The disease, which affects the brain and spinal cord, has no known cure and is progressive. Children with the disease experience deafness, blindness, paralysis, and seizures. Spencer’s grandmother, Linda Hinman, described it as Alzheimer’s disease for children. Naturally, Spencer’s family has been trying to do anything and everything to reverse the disease’s course. Spencer already has a 40 percent permanent hearing loss, and some trouble with balance. When the doctor delivered the news of Spencer’s rare disease, Linda says, “she told us there are no cures for rare diseases like Spencer’s because there is not enough funding for research.” So, Spencer’s family began doing some research of their own and came across the #Path2Cures. Since then, they have been encouraging friends and family to help spread the word about legislation that would bring hope for helping kids like Spencer find cures and treatments. “The 21st Century Cures Act could help save children’s lives, because it would provide funds to the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to help find cures for these rare diseases,” Linda explained. [[{"fid":"1601","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"68","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Grandparents pick up fight for toddler Spencer Robert Smith was a happy baby, growing and developing into a healthy toddler except for some seemingly minor issues like frequent congestion, balance problems, enlarged adenoids and fluid in his ears. But a few weeks ago, his family received the devastating news that he was diagnosed with MPS-III, Sanfilippo Syndrome, “a rare, incurable, insidious, progressive, and fatal disease,” grandparents Linda and Kirk Hinman explained. Spencer “faces a progressive and fatal decline: deafness, blindness, seizures, paralysis, organ shutdown and death,” the couple said, as the disease attacks his muscular and neurological systems. “Each child afflicted starts the downhill progression at his or her own rate,” they said. According to a Sanfilippo Syndrome support website, the lifespan of an affected child does not usually extend beyond late teens to early twenties. The Hinmans — including parents Nate and Alli (Hinman) Smith — are hoping to help change the course of the disease, not just for Spencer, but for all children and families impacted by Sanfilippo Syndrome and other rare diseases by raising awareness of these conditions, Linda said, and also by convincing New York State’s two senators in Washington, D.C., to vote for the 21st Century Cures Act. This legislation, the Hinman’s say, can help fund research into Sanfilippo Syndrome and other rare incurable diseases that affect children like their two-year-old grandson. The 21st Century Cures Act was passed by the House of Representatives last year and was co-sponsored by Rep. Richard L. Hanna, R-22, Barneveld. The bill, the Hinmans said, would “provide funds to the National Institute of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to help find cures for these rare diseases.” … “Spencer is the sweetest 2-year-old you’d ever meet,” the Hinmans said. “Since birth, his temperament has been happy and good natured, and he’s always smiling. Like all toddlers, he loves to splash in the pool with his daddy, dance in the yard with his mommy, explore new things, gets excited about introducing you to his friends in his limited vocabulary of speaking and signing, and pet every puppy dog he can get his hands on.” “But, unlike most 2-year-olds, Spencer is dying. He is in a literal fight for his life,” the couple added. His decline has already begun, they noted. He has a 40 percent permanent hearing loss and some balance issues. These issues will be followed by additional degenerative conditions that will slowly rob Spencer of his ability to communicate, move about and develop like other children. The couple likened the disease to Alzheimer’s for children. Getting 21st Century Cures Act passed now, by the Senate, and then as a full bill passed by Congress, could help not only Spencer, but all children suffering from rare diseases, the Hinmans said, adding that like thousands of other families impacted by Sanfilippo’s they will continue to hope for improved treatments and a cure. … Read the full story online HERE. ### Read More

E&C Republicans Request “Thorough and Objective” Review of NIH Grant Process

2016/09/19

Last week, Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent a letter to HHS’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) regarding an NIH grant awarded for research related to traumatic brain injury that became a source of public controversy. Despite previous public accounts of this controversy, critical questions remain unanswered. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), requested the HHS OIG conduct a “thorough and objective review” of these events to ensure the integrity of the NIH’s grant process, execution of public-private partnerships, and efforts to advance critical research. [[{"fid":"1598","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"65","width":"353","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 15, 2016 NFL says it will cooperate on requested review of research grant process House leaders are asking the Office of Inspector General to review a government agency’s process for awarding a research grant that became a subject of controversy earlier this year. And the NFL says it looks forward to cooperating in the review of the National Institutes of Health, months after a Democratic staff report accused the league of inappropriate attempts to influence the grant selection process – allegations the league has vehemently denied. In the letter sent Thursday, House Committee on Energy and Commerce chairman Fred Upton (D.-Michigan) and three subcommittee chairs requested “a thorough and objective review” to assess whether the NIH followed policies and procedures under the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health’s authority regarding public-private partnerships, hoping to “avoid similar distractions in the future so all parties can focus on what matters most – the science.” … Read the full story online HERE. [[{"fid":"1599","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"57","width":"172","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 15, 2016 GOP seeks review of claims NFL tried to sway concussion study In a 21-page letter to the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, Republican leaders from the Energy and Commerce Committee requested the review to determine whether proper procedures were followed by officials with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and its fundraising arm. The letter suggests that NIH officials engaged representatives from the NFL throughout the process and tried to resolve the conflict by offering a compromise solution -- "reinforcing the perception that there was nothing improper" about the NFL's actions. "The questions and concerns raised by these events are vital to the integrity of research and the grant award decision-making process," concluded the letter, written by Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, Tim Murphy and Joseph Pitts of Pennsylvania, and Michael Burgess of Texas. … Read the full story online HERE. ### Read More

#CuresNow: GameDay Edition

2016/09/17

[[{"fid":"1593","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"238","width":"199","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rare disease could not hold back 24-year-old Wolverine walk-on Michael Hirsch from achieving his dream Michael Hirsch, Michigan’s 24-year-old walk-on fullback, is living a dream playing for the Wolverines. But that dream to play college football was almost never realized. The Detroit Free Press writes about Hirsch, the “U-M passion was force-fed to Hirsch from birth,” whose parents met while attending Michigan. He grew up in Chicago, and attended numerous games in Ann Arbor, and was a breakout football player in high school that caught the attention of Harvard.  In 2011, on the cusp of moving up from Harvard’s JV squad, Hirsch was diagnosed with GPA, Granulomatosis with polyangiitis, a form of vasculitis (also known as Wegener’s disease). What first started as a cold, continued to get worse, but multiple doctors could not pinpoint the condition. When it was finally diagnosed, it was just in time as the rare blood vessel disease was on the verge of attacking his kidneys – which often can result in permanent damage. But Michael’s attitude since his diagnosis has been just like the position he plays as fullback – headfirst. He stayed engaged with the team during his treatments as a student assistant. “I’ve always had a mind-set – try to find the most positive way to view every situation,” Michael told the Detroit Free Press. “From the get-go, I thought about getting into remission and achieving remission. They told me start this treatment, these medications and start to think positive thoughts. Look on the bright side.” Doctors began to search for other forms of chemo he could try. The treatment he ended up pursuing was one typically used for 50-year-olds, so it was a change for the 19-year-old. It allowed him to once again train and finish out his career at Harvard, graduating in 2014. But the battle didn’t end there. Michael needs yearly surgeries to ensure his trachea remains open. At one point it nearly closed and Michael described it as breathing through a straw. [[{"fid":"1594","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"242","width":"324","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Michigan Wolverines walk-on fullback Michael Hirsch on campus with his family. Setting new goals for himself, Michael realized he could get some of his eligibility reinstated and applied to play football at Michigan. His goals were tough, but he rose above them all. Coach Jim Harbaugh called to relay the good news in April. And as Michael told his buddies at the office when he began to plan his departure, “There’s nothing more that I want to do than play in a Michigan uniform.” On the #Path2Cures, dreams still come true. And last Saturday, Hirsch lined up on a third-and-4, and caught a 15-yard pass for a first down. [[{"fid":"1595","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"72","width":"333","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Walk-on Michael Hirsch battles rare disease, lives dream at Michigan Combating a rare blood vessel disease, walk-on fullback is living his dream on gridiron For nearly 20 years, he has dreamed about playing college football. And in 2011, he got to the cusp of stepping on that field at Harvard. But just when he got close enough to a real college game, he was sidetracked by a life-threatening condition. He rallied to graduate and work on Wall Street, but the football dream appeared gone. To combat Wegener’s disease, Hirsch endured at least 14 rounds of chemotherapy and five or six surgeries. He had moments when he could barely walk and couldn’t talk, and there were no answers about his future, about how he would live, let alone work or be an elite athlete. Yet sitting at Ann Arbor’s Real Seafood Company restaurant on Main Street Sunday after playing in his first college football game for Michigan, Hirsch finally exhaled. U-M’s 24-year-old walk-on fullback, called “Gramps” by his younger teammates, realized he had to appreciate his journey. … “I’m the type of person that likes to keep working toward the next step,” he said this week. “I don’t like to linger in past stuff too much. But I will say on Sunday. It was just me and my parents hanging out. … “I took a deep breath. It was the first time I had taken a deep breath in maybe a year like that. To just enjoy the moment there.” Almost 30 hours earlier, he was in the middle of Michigan Stadium, lining up on a third-and-4, running a route and catching Shane Morris’ 15-yard pass for a first down. Back on the Michigan sideline, Hirsch was swarmed. He felt like 30 or 40 of his teammates were patting him on the back and helmet. “He came to the sideline and everybody hugged him,” starting fullback Khalid Hill said after the game. “It was almost like he wanted to cry. To see somebody’s passion for the game and passion for the University of Michigan is amazing.” … Read the full story online HERE. ###   Read More

Look Ahead: Committee Announces Hearing and Vote Schedule for the Week of September 19

2016/09/16

[[{"fid":"1596","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"220","width":"339","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today announced its hearing schedule for the week of September 19. On Tuesday, the full committee will convene for opening statements only for a markup. The following bills will be considered: H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances to patients pursuant to standing orders issued by their EMS agency’s medical director.      H.R. 1192, National Clinical Care Commission Act, authored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), would establish a National Clinical Care Commission to evaluate and recommend solutions regarding better coordination and use of federal programs relating to supporting care for people with diabetes and related metabolic syndromes and disorders.   H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, introduced by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), increases data collection by HHS to help place maternal health professionals in more appropriate geographic regions and health professional shortages through their existing participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). There is no new authorization of appropriations for this bill nor does it open or expand participation in the NHSC.   H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), requires SAMHSA to award grants to initiate and sustain mental health awareness training grants. Individuals throughout a community would be eligible for inclusion in training such as first responders, law enforcement, or teachers. The goal of these programs is to train individuals to accomplish safe de-escalation of crisis situations, recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and encourage timely referral to mental health services.   H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), reauthorizes grants and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate nursing education in specified areas of nursing. The legislation also amends the PHSA to include clinical nurse leaders as advanced education nurses making clinical nurse leader education programs eligible for advanced education nursing grants   H.R. 3537, the Synthetic Drug Control Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), would place a number of synthetic drug compounds on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.   H.R. 2669, the Anti Spoofing Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and co-sponsored by committee members Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), would protect consumers from fraudulent actors and deceptive text messages.   H.R. 2566, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA), would require intermediate providers to register with the FCC and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency in order to improve call quality from long-distance or wireless calls in rural areas throughout the country. Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memorandum 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. On Wednesday, the full committee will reconvene its markup. On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a joint hearing entitled, “Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles.” Members will examine the impact that CAFE and GHG regulations will have on economic growth, innovation, and job creation. An additional focus will be on the Midterm Evaluation process and related standards. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. Also on Thursday, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing entitled, “Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.” Members will examine the TCPA in light of modern technology and discuss ways to update the law to better serve today’s telephone service consumers. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. On Friday, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing entitled, “Bioresearch Labs and Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens.” Over the last two years, the subcommittee has held hearings on shipments of live anthrax from federal labs at the CDC and a Department of Army lab that were thought to be rendered harmless through a process called inactivation. Members will have an opportunity to evaluate the issues related to the inactivation of dangerous pathogens, and see what potential next steps can be taken. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. Hearing and Markup Details Tuesday, September 20, 2016 5 PM 2322 Rayburn HOB Full committee Markup of H.R. 4365, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, H.R. 2713, H.R. 3537, H.R. 2669, H.R. 2566 (opening statements only) Wednesday, September 21, 2016 10 AM HVC-210 Full committee Reconvene Markup of H.R. 4365, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, H.R. 2713, H.R. 3537, H.R. 2669, H.R. 2566 Thursday, September 22, 2016 10 AM HVC-210 Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing on “Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards For Motor Vehicles” 11 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Hearing on “Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act” Friday, September 23, 2016 9 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “Bioresearch Labs and Inactivation of Dangerous Pathogens” Read More

E&C and Judiciary Committee Leaders Urge FCC to Release Text of Set-Top Box Proposal

2016/09/16

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), and Judiciary Committee Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI), today sent a letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler regarding the agency’s set-top box proposal.  The committee leaders write, “While much remains unknown, what is clear at this point is that the proposal would benefit from public process. … Absent a public vetting of the Commission’s proposal it is unclear what the Commission is planning, let alone its impact. Without further delay, we request that you release the text of your proposal. The proposal raises issues of significance to both our Committees, and we believe the Commission should release text in order to allow all stakeholders to meaningfully discuss the implications of the proposal.” “We remain concerned that the FCC’s op-ed in the LA Times, as well as the fact sheet raise new questions rather than resolve questions posed in the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking,” added Upton and Walden. "Unfortunately, this behavior is not new and this aversion to transparency has come to define the FCC.” To read the letter, click HERE. ###  Read More

Letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler on Set-Top Box Proposal

2016/09/16

Excerpt: “While much remains unknown, what is clear at this point is that the proposal would benefit from public process. … Absent a public vetting of the Commission’s proposal it is unclear what the Commission is planning, let alone its impact. Without further delay, we request that you release the text of your proposal. The proposal raises issues of significance to both our Committees, and we believe the Commission should release text in order to allow all stakeholders to meaningfully discuss the implications of the proposal.”  To read the letter, click here. Read More

“One in a Million” Rare Disease Patient Describes Incredible Perseverance On the #Path2Cures

2016/09/16

Battling disease is tough enough, but one rare disease patient advocate recently chronicled a harsh and difficult reality facing a number of patients – abandonment by loved ones after diagnosis. Angela Davis writes about her “21-year odyssey” toward being diagnosed with Stiff-person syndrome in The Mighty. According to the National Organization for Rare Diseases, Stiff-person syndrome “is a rare acquired neurological disorder characterized by progressive muscle stiffness (rigidity) and repeated muscle spasms.” It is a disease that affects one in a million. Angela writes, “The first assumption: your biological parents and family will rush to your aid. I held this one within a tiny crevice of hope in my heart. My family began their gradual push away from me the moment I started to become seriously ill. I thought with my diagnosis nailed down at last, they’d care more. I was wrong. As soon as I received my diagnosis, my parents made it clear they wanted nothing to do with me anymore.” But like most rare disease patients, Angela is a fighter, she persevered, and now sees hope in the effort to deliver #CuresNow. She writes, “If you know any rare disease patient and want to help, insist your state senators, representatives, and the president finally vote for and advance #CuresNow to give us a fighting chance in medical research funding of treatments and cures. Rare disease patients pave the way for advancements in medicine for every person, which can help you and your family’s well-being too.” Angela closes with an important message, “Lastly, please offer anyone close to you with a rare disease your support, practical help, and your cherished kindness.” Thanks for sharing your story, Angela. You’re never alone on the #Path2Cures. #CuresIn4Words: Delivering #CuresNow Together. [[{"fid":"1591","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"86","width":"305","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] When You Lose Friends and Family Because of Your Rare Illness By Angela Davis You know our culture’s automatic assumption: all disabled, rare disease patients glean support from social services, their biological families, their lifetime friends. Everyone rushes to your side to help when you are diagnosed. However, the truth is a bit more complicated and is downright devastating for too many of us rare disease folks. It has been a 21-year odyssey to obtain the incurable, rare neuromuscular disease diagnosis of Stiff-person syndrome (SPS), a one in one million disease, which, in my case, is severe, progressive, and does not respond to the few “treatments” tossed at SPS patients. My very life continues to destroy one preconceived notion after the next. The first assumption: your biological parents and family will rush to your aid. I held this one within a tiny crevice of hope in my heart. My family began their gradual push away from me the moment I started to become seriously ill. I thought with my diagnosis nailed down at last, they’d care more. I was wrong. As soon as I received my diagnosis, my parents made it clear they wanted nothing to do with me anymore. They even denied my husband and I shelter in the dead of winter when I had just left the ER and, due to my rare disease fight of my life, we were financially depleted. My mother told me, “I do not make defective children.” She even told me my only value to her was as her first born, the one who almost killed her at birth (yes, both our lives were at risk in birth trauma) and my only other younger sibling was her baby. So, no, not every mother or parent loves their incurable, progressively disabled child unconditionally. I count my lucky stars my husband of 18 years loves me with courage and without condition. I am most fortunate that my high school and college friends jumped in and helped us with a motel. They, along with complete strangers who knew these friends, stepped up and helped contribute fundraising donations for my travel and medical testing with the only U.S. expert specialist in my disease. My husband and I hate asking for help, but we have had no choice, thanks to a lack of family assistance and to a disgusting absence of social services. I recently secured a nurse advocate as a free benefit through my husband’s job. The nurse and I were unable to get my insurance to cover a home health helper, as I am bedridden and physical exertion worsens my disease. My nurse advocate and I could not secure any social security benefits because the SSA said that since I was not declared disabled 21 years ago, when doctors had no idea what I had, though I was progressively getting worse and could not work, I did not “contribute” enough income to “earn” benefits. And due to my husband’s job now, they declared me ineligible for SSDI benefits. Well, no kidding! It was not my fault that doctors did not know my diagnosis and I had to battle for 21 years for my rare diagnosis. Most friends and all family do not understand these injustices. They always insist there has to be a way for me to go fight social security again, but my nurse advocate helps me face the reality of hitting a brick wall when it comes to this. So, then, slowly, friends drop off and fade away one by one. They think you “aren’t doing enough” for yourself. They assume laziness and ignorance on your part. They assume what our culture tells them to assume about all rare disease and disabled patients who remain without any help. We are discarded by our society. If you wonder why so many homeless people are disabled, this is definitely a contributing factor. Try and do your best to offer your help to them. My husband and I have helped because we know exactly what it is happening and just because we care. So, I fall to the floor and sob when a friend sends a card with a small gift of compassion inside. I count and tend to overly thank my unconditionally loving friends on one hand because their love and goodness is worth more than any jewel. If you know any rare disease patient and want to help, insist your state senators, representatives, and the president finally vote for and advance #CuresNow to give us a fighting chance in medical research funding of treatments and cures. Rare disease patients pave the way for advancements in medicine for every person, which can help you and your family’s well-being too. Lastly, please offer anyone close to you with a rare disease your support, practical help, and your cherished kindness. To read the column online, click HERE. ### Read More

THIS WEEK IN WASHINGTON: E&C Members On the #Path2Cures

2016/09/15

Energy and Commerce Committee members stayed busy outside of the hearing room this week with district fly-ins aplenty. From the American Cancer Society blitzing the Halls of Congress to talk about #CuresNow and the Moon Shot initiative, rare disease advocates holding a forum in the Cannon Building to talk innovation, to a briefing about prostate cancer, it was just business as usual on the #Path2Cures. [[{"fid":"1579","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"450","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1580","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"287","width":"359","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) spoke at a briefing on Tuesday discussing Prostate Cancer Screening Diagnostic Promises and Challenges. [[{"fid":"1582","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"266","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1583","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"448","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1586","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"372","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1588","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"551","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1589","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"647","width":"466","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1590","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"520","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] ### Read More

Sec. Moniz Testifies at #SubEnergyPower Checkup on Energy Security

2016/09/15

[[{"fid":"1581","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3648","width":"5472","style":"width: 750px; height: 500px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Sec. Moniz testifies before the subcommittee. WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Power Subcommittee, chaired by Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), today held a hearing examining the Department of Energy’s role in advancing the national, economic, and energy security of the United States. U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz testified on energy infrastructure and grid security, issues critical to the committee’s ongoing work to say #Yes2Energy. As the American energy landscape continues to undergo remarkable changes, members examined what is being done, and what else can be done, to ensure that the United States remains a global energy leader. “We have the opportunity for jobs and affordable energy at home and aid to our allies abroad. But there is still much work to be done,” said Vice Chairman Olson. “Everyone on this dais wants the same thing: an energy economy that brings economic and security benefits at home and opportunities to advance our interests abroad.” “We know that adversaries and homegrown actors are interested in the vulnerabilities of our critical infrastructures,” stated Secretary Moniz in his testimony. “Challenges like these underscore the need to rethink energy security in light of modern domestic and global energy markets… The goal is to ensure that we are maximizing the prospects for rapid deployment of technologies that can contribute to securing our Nation’s energy infrastructure.” [[{"fid":"1584","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"451","width":"630","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] The issue of grid security was a point of emphasis for Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), who asked the Secretary about interagency cooperation on ensuring the safety of infrastructure. Watch more HERE. [[{"fid":"1585","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"421","width":"634","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Chairman Upton discussed the strategic petroleum reserve (SPR), asking Sec. Moniz about how modernization efforts will play out. Watch their exchange HERE. [[{"fid":"1587","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"413","width":"636","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] In his line of questioning, Chairman Emeritus Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) also drilled down on the SPR, as well as the issue of bid and permitting processes for energy infrastructure projects. Watch more HERE. “Whether by backing basic research and development to enable a technology based energy revolution, protecting the electric grid from cyber-attacks, or by tracking and responding to energy disruptions around the world, the department has an important role to play in our evolving energy marketplace,” added Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) in his opening statement. “Our energy future can be a bright one – if we adopt the right policies and implement them effectively and I welcome DOE’s continued role in this effort.” For more on today’s hearing including witness testimony, and archived webcast, and background memo, click HERE.  Read More

Letter to HHS OIG Regarding NIH Grant Process

2016/09/15

Excerpt: In order to ensure the integrity of NIH grant processes, prevent future breakdowns in NIH grant decision-making, and advance the critical research related to head trauma and sports related injuries, the committee leaders pose five questions for potential examination by the independent HHS watchdog: Why didn’t the NIH require the NFL to pay pursuant to the terms of the agreement? If the actions of the NFL or its advisors were clearly inappropriate, as the Democratic staff report concludes, why did NIH and FNIH engage with representatives of the League and perpetuate the impression that the dialogue was appropriate? If confronted with inappropriate conduct by a donor, what are NIH’s responsibilities to flag and address such behavior? Did NIH adhere to the terms of the MOU regarding donor communications? What are NIH policies for the control of non-public information, including information related to Notice of Grant Awards, as well as non-funded grant proposals?  Were they followed in this series of events? How does NIH evaluate conflicts of interest between applicants and donors in public-private partnership grant programs such as SHRP? To read the letter online, click here. Read More

E&C Leaders Request Thorough Independent Review by HHS Watchdog in Wake of NFL-NIH Grant

2016/09/15

WASHINGTON, DC – Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee today sent a referral letter to HHS’ Office of the Inspector General regarding an NIH grant awarded for research related to traumatic brain injury that became a source of public controversy. The grant was to be funded through a donation by the National Football League to the Foundation for the National Institutes for Health (FNIH) as part of the Sports and Health Research Program (SHRP) – a public-private partnership with the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The SHRP was established for the purpose of supporting “research on serious medical conditions prominent in athletes and relevant to the general population.” Earlier this year, media outlets and a subsequent report by the committee’s Democratic staff alleged the NFL attempted to inappropriately influence NIH decision-making related to this grant award. However, based on the information available to Republican committee staff, these reports failed to address critical questions related to the conduct of NIH that may have contributed to the controversy and delay in awarding this grant. In order to ensure the integrity of NIH grant processes, prevent future breakdowns in NIH grant decision-making, and advance the critical research related to head trauma and sports related injuries, the committee leaders pose five questions for potential examination by the independent HHS watchdog: Why didn’t the NIH require the NFL to pay pursuant to the terms of the agreement? If the actions of the NFL or its advisors were clearly inappropriate, as the Democratic staff report concludes, why did NIH and FNIH engage with representatives of the League and perpetuate the impression that the dialogue was appropriate? If confronted with inappropriate conduct by a donor, what are NIH’s responsibilities to flag and address such behavior? Did NIH adhere to the terms of the MOU regarding donor communications? What are NIH policies for the control of non-public information, including information related to Notice of Grant Awards, as well as non-funded grant proposals?  Were they followed in this series of events? How does NIH evaluate conflicts of interest between applicants and donors in public-private partnership grant programs such as SHRP? The Energy and Commerce Committee has been conducting a broad review of concussions and brain injuries in America. The parties involved in this controversial grant making process all play an important role in addressing that challenge. In the letter to the HHS OIG, the committee leaders concluded, “While this grant award has become an unfortunate distraction from the greater issue of improving the science of traumatic brain injury (TBI), given the significant public attention to these events, it is clear that a thorough and objective review by the HHS OIG is necessary. This review is important to the strength and integrity of the SHRP, as well as the independence of NIH decision-making.”
 The letter was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). Read a full copy of the letter, HERE. ### Read More

HEARING: #SubCommTech to Review Telephone Consumer Protection Act NEXT WEEK

2016/09/15

WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, September 22, at 11 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Modernizing the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.”   The subcommittee will examine the impact the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) has had on consumers and the legitimate businesses that are trying to contact them. Technology has changed dramatically in the years since its enactment in 1991 and so has the technology for making unwanted calls. As a result, the TCPA is both failing to keep consumers from receiving unwanted robocalls and making it more difficult to legitimately contact people for reasons of health, safety, employment, and education.   “As technology evolves, so too should our laws. The TCPA should be ensuring Americans receive the calls they want without being harassed by calls they don’t. Instead, it’s a prime example of an outdated law that lags behind modern communications technology and consumer preferences,” said Chairman Walden. “Next week, we will focus on the impact the law is having on folks and examine ways in which we can modernize this law for 21st century.” The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

HEARING: #SubCMT & #SubEnergyPower to Review CAFE and GHG Standards Set by NHTSA and EPA

2016/09/15

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, chaired by Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), has scheduled a joint hearing for Thursday, September 22, at 10 a.m. in HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center. The hearing is entitled, “Midterm Review and Update on the Corporate Average Fuel Economy Program and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards for Motor Vehicles.” The hearing will examine the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) program and greenhouse gas (GHG) standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Members will examine the impact the CAFE and GHG regulations will have on economic growth, innovation, and job creation. Additionally, members will seek an update on the ongoing Midterm Evaluation process, the status of economic projections and assumptions used to develop CAFE/GHG standards, and the uniformity of these standards under the National Program. In April, the committee wrote NHTSA and EPA requesting details on the CAFE standards review. To read the letter sent to NHTSA and EPA, click HERE. To read NHTSA and EPA’s response, click HERE. In late August, the subcommittees requested that the agencies provide an extension of time for public comment on this review. “Next week’s hearing will provide our members an opportunity to examine the significant economic impacts these standards could have on consumers,” said Burgess and Olson. “We need to know if these standards are impacting vehicle choices, raising prices, and most importantly whether they are pushing low-income consumers out of the car-buying market altogether.” The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States

2016/09/15

[[{"fid":"1576","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the USA","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Upton, Murphy Highlight GAO Report that Finds Competing Priorities Hamper Federal Cybersecurity Officials

2016/09/15

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) today highlighted a new report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) that details challenges faced by Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) across the federal government. In particular, the report found that 75 percent of surveyed federal CISOs cite competing priorities between operations and security as a large or moderate challenge they face. Chairmen Upton and Murphy requested that the GAO investigate federal CISO authorities as a result of the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee’s 2015 report on information security at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), which found that competition between operations and security with regards to cybersecurity often led to security being deprioritized. As documented in that report, this reduction of security to operations often resulted in compromises of networks and information. “We were concerned that the competition between security and operations that we observed at HHS might well exist at other federal agencies,” explained Upton and Murphy, “Unfortunately, GAO’s findings confirm our suspicions. Considering the consequences experienced by HHS as a result of this competition, it is imperative that we find ways to address this issue across the federal government and ensure that cybersecurity remains of utmost priority.” Two Energy and Commerce Committee Members, Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA), introduced bipartisan legislation to address this issue at HHS. H.R. 5068, the HHS Data Protection Act seeks to address the imbalance between security and operations at HHS by elevating and empowering the senior official responsible for cybersecurity, the HHS CISO, to be a peer to the senior official responsible for information operations, the HHS CIO. “We now have the watchdog’s diagnosis, and the legislation introduced by Representatives Long and Matsui is an important first step toward addressing the competition between security and operations faced by federal cybersecurity officials,” Upton and Murphy continued, “The committee remains dedicated to this important issue, and will continue to explore ways to address it and improve cybersecurity at federal agencies.” To read the report online, click here. ### Read More

#SubHealth and #SubOversight Spotlight Obamacare’s Mounting Failures

2016/09/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a joint hearing examining the state of Obamacare. Six years after the president signed Obamacare and three years since the law was enacted, patients sadly continue to experience fewer plan choices and face higher premium costs. Earlier this week, the committee’s majority staff released two reports chronicling some of the health law’s greatest weaknesses: its unstable exchanges, and the collapsing CO-OPs. The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office also released their undercover marketplace reports for the 2015 and 2016 benefit years this week, which concluded the marketplaces “remain vulnerable to fraud.” Chairman Murphy commented on the HHS OIG report that found the majority of remaining CO-OPs are on track to becoming insolvent because they have not met the minimum CMS requirements for risk-based capital. “This will result in the loss of even more taxpayer money and leave hundreds of thousands of Americans displaced without insurance coverage,” said Chairman Murphy. [[{"fid":"1573","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"194","width":"347","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Watch Rep. Griffith's exchange with CMS Acting Administrator Slavitt here. Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) posed questions about a recent memo from CMS regarding the risk corridor program and outstanding payments. Rep. Griffith asked CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt, “Does CMS take the position that the insurance plans are entitled to be made whole on risk corridor payments even though there’s no appropriation to do so?” Acting Administrator Slavitt replied by answering, “Yes, it is an obligation of the federal government.” Chairman Pitts followed up on the risk corridor program and the memo from last week, asking Acting Administrator Slavitt how they plan to make insurers whole under the obligations of the program. Acting Administrator Slavitt could not clarify his earlier testimony, saying, “I can’t speak to that directly today.” Additionally, Acting Administrator Slavitt failed to identify a specific appropriation for such risk corridor payments to insurers. Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) spoke to New York’s state exchange and massive rate hikes for the upcoming year, as well as its now failed CO-OP. Rep. Collins stated, “I don’t think the president, I don’t think anyone at CMS ever will acknowledge what Western New Yorkers are living day to day. And that is, the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – is fundamentally flawed, can’t be fixed, and is imposing unsustainable ever-increasing costs on Americans.” Members also highlighted the House Republican’s #BetterWay on health care. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented, “House Republicans have offered a better way to help patients get – and keep – health coverage. Our solutions put patients first, improve the quality of care, lower health care costs, and restore freedom and flexibility. It also keeps patients on their parents insurance until they are 26 years old, and will not deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions. We want to lead the world in cures and treatments, and our plan builds upon the important work outlined in the 21st Century Cures Act to help deliver cures now.” For more information on today’s hearing, including witness testimony, an archived webcast, and background memo, click here. ### Read More

DISRUPTER SERIES: #SubCMT Examines How Advanced Robotics Creates Economic Growth

2016/09/14

[[{"fid":"1572","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"280","width":"686","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing as part of the ongoing Disrupter Series to examine advanced robotics and explore the way this field is revolutionizing the world, equipping the workforce, and modernizing the economy. Today’s hearing provided the subcommittee with a greater understanding of how advanced robotics can boost economic growth and provide new opportunities for students and commerce. A common theme throughout the hearing was the potential created by advanced robotics and how Americans, and industry, have begun to embrace this technology. “In our examination of these issues, it will be important to understand how consumers and businesses using these technologies will be protected while preserving the flexibility and ingenuity of innovators that are driving this market forward,” said Chairman Burgess. [[{"fid":"1571","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"3648","width":"5472","style":"width: 500px; height: 333px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Dean Kamen and Chairman Upton catching up before the hearing begins. Upton highlighted his friendship with Mr. Kamen during his opening statement. Mr. Dean Kamen, prominent inventor and founder of Deka Research, discussed STEM opportunities now available to students because of technology like advanced robotics. Innovative programs like FIRST, which stands for “For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology,” inspire students to participate in science and math through robotics competitions. Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) commented, “Michigan is becoming ‘Robot Central’ with, by far, the highest number of FIRST teams per capita in the nation. From the St. Joseph ‘Average Joes’ team to the ‘2767 Stryke Force’ team in Kalamazoo, innovative STEM programs – like FIRST Robotics – allows for kids in our communities to dream big and aspire to become inventors, engineers, small business owners, and community leaders. It is also refreshing to see kids excited by science.” Dr. Sridhar Kota, the Herrick Professor of Engineering at the University of Michigan, spoke about the ways advanced robotics are utilized in the 21st century to complement everyday tasks, improve mission outcomes, and complete complex assignments. “Today, researchers and firms tend to think of robots in a different light: as collaborative tools to enhance the productivity of factory workers, as means to assist soldiers on dangerous missions, as co-drivers to enhance automobile safety and efficiency, and as co-inspectors to enable continuous monitoring and maintenance of high value assets such as bridges and wind turbines… In short, robotics is now about augmenting and improving human work rather than replacing it.”         To provide a more in-depth perspective on the ways that robotics can benefit specific industries like agriculture, manufacturing, and healthcare, Mr. Jeff Burnstein, President of Robotics Industries Association, testified, “From surgical robots that can mill out precise fittings for a hip replacement to personal assistant robots that help care for patients, medical robots are transforming the face of healthcare.” He goes on to explain, “For an industry challenged by out of control costs, explosive amounts of information and technology, labor shortages, and an aging and increasingly sick population, advanced robotics can ease the labor gap and improve efficiency and safety to serve more patients with higher quality.” For more information on today’s hearing including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. Read More

Say “#CuresNow!”: Snapshots From Across the Country Take Us All on the #Path2Cures

2016/09/14

A picture may say 1,000 words, but these photos share a more concise message – we need #CuresNow. The EveryLife Foundation for Rare Diseases has launched a new campaign featuring patients from across the country and their families to share photos expressing why they personally need #CuresNow. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise to see that the nonpartisan initiative is garnering support from coast to coast. Scroll down to see some of the youngest faces across the country calling for #CuresNow. Click HERE to learn more about H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act. [[{"fid":"1561","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"466","width":"327","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Abby Grace has San Filippo. [[{"fid":"1562","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"361","width":"488","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Oregon needs #CuresNow. [[{"fid":"1563","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"336","width":"317","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Spencer has a special message from Massachusetts. [[{"fid":"1564","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"394","width":"252","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Max Schill representing New Jersey. [[{"fid":"1565","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"473","width":"353","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Virginia is for Lovers…and #CuresNow. [[{"fid":"1566","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"758","width":"657","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Case, an angel from Tennessee, is raising awareness for Hunter syndrome. [[{"fid":"1567","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"769","width":"658","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “Start spreading the news…”, New York needs #CuresNow. [[{"fid":"1568","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"535","width":"400","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] #TeamAndrew proudly represents California. [[{"fid":"1569","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"662","width":"637","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] He may be a native of Alabama, but the moon’s the limit for Duchenne patient Gabe Griffin, the face of Hope for Gabe. ### Energy & Commerce Online | Press Release Permalink   Read More

Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics

2016/09/14

[[{"fid":"1560","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics.","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight

2016/09/14

[[{"fid":"1557","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight.","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) Ports within Your Car = Potential Gateway to Hackers

2016/09/14

Is your car vulnerable to hackers? House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Commerce Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), earlier this week sent a letter on the subject to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Continuing their work to protect drivers on the road, the members outlined security and safety concerns with the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) ports within vehicles. Members also requested that NHTSA Administrator Mark R. Rosekind convene an industry-wide effort to develop a plan of action for addressing risks associated with the OBD-II ports. As Reuters reporter David Shepardson put it, “The U.S. government is taking the issue seriously.”  [[{"fid":"1553","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"88","width":"332","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 12, 2016 Four U.S. lawmakers urge safety agency to address vehicle hacking By David Shepardson Four Republican members of Congress on Monday urged U.S. auto safety regulators to convene an industry-wide effort to prevent possible attacks on computer systems in vehicles. The lawmakers addressed their concerns in a letter to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While there have been no reported cases of vehicle hacking, researchers have shown they could take remote control of vehicle functions such as car horns, brakes and power steering. The letter cited work published in August by Wired magazine by two researchers who were able to force a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV 2014 Jeep SUV to perform in an "erratic and unsafe manner" after accessing its on-board diagnostics (OBD) port. Automakers have been required to install the port in all vehicles since 1994 to test for emissions compliance. The letter from Representative Fred Upton, a Michigan Republican who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and three others said the port "as it currently exists creates a growing risk to the safety and security of passengers." Fiat Chrysler said in August the demonstration published by Wired required "a computer to be physically connected into the vehicle’s" port. The company emphasized that owners should "not connect any unknown or untrusted devices to the OBD port." NHTSA didn't immediately comment on the letter. The safety agency has said it plans to release cybersecurity guidelines to the auto industry in the coming weeks. The U.S. government is taking the issue seriously. On Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said it has formed a threat analysis team to study potential national security challenges posed by self-driving cars, medical devices and other internet-connected tools. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and NHTSA issued a bulletin in March warning that motor vehicles were "increasingly vulnerable" to hacking. Read the full article online HERE. ### Read More

Obamacare's Basket of Deplorables: Fraud, Unstable Exchanges, and Failing CO-OPs

2016/09/14

It was a bad summer for Obamacare, but the news has only gotten worse this month. Earlier this week, a nonpartisan government watchdog found Obamacare remains "vulnerable to fraud.” Committee investigators also warned the exchanges are not stable and that the CO-OP program has been grossly mismanaged. To top it off, the 17th of 23 CO-OPs collapsed. Today, Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a joint hearing examining the law and its long list of failures. Click HERE to tune in at 10 a.m. EST. [[{"fid":"1549","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"116","width":"146","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] GOP Report: State-run ObamaCare exchanges are headed for collapse September 13, 2016 The dozen ObamaCare exchanges run by the states are struggling financially and could be headed toward collapse over the next several years, according to a new report released Tuesday by House Republicans. All of the active state-run exchanges are still relying on federal dollars, nearly two years after they were supposed to be self-sustaining under law, according to a lengthy report by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Investigators blasted the Obama administration's oversight and management of the state exchanges as "a costly mess." … Read the full story online HERE. [[{"fid":"1550","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"149","width":"198","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Obamacare marketplaces remain vulnerable to fraud, new government audits find September 12, 2016 Don't worry if you don't exist, you can still get Obamacare. Two new government audits reveal that the nation's Obamacare marketplaces remain "vulnerable to fraud," after investigators successfully applied for coverage for multiple people who don't actually exist. In several cases this year, fake people who hadn't filed tax returns for 2014 were still able to get Obamacare tax credits to help pay their monthly premiums for 2016 coverage. This year is the first in which applicants for those subsidies had to have filed their federal tax returns from prior coverage years to obtain such assistance. ... "It's deja vu all over again as it seems the situation only continues to get worse, and we all are paying the price," said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-Mich. … To read the full story online, click HERE. [[{"fid":"1551","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"113","width":"468","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] New Jersey Obamacare co-op to close in 2017 September 13, 2016 Another taxpayer-funded insurer for Obamacare will close next year, leaving only six. New Jersey's consumer oriented and operated healthcare plan, Health Republic Insurance, announced late Monday it would not offer plans in 2017. The departure means that 17 out of the 23 Obamacare co-ops have shut down after spending $1.8 billion in taxpayer funding. … "A lot of folks continue to have their healthcare disrupted by the administration's co-op mess," said Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. … Read the full story online HERE. ###   Read More

New E&C Report Examines CO-OP Calamity

2016/09/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today released a new report chronicling the overwhelming failures of Obamacare’s CO-OP program. The report entitled, “Implementing Obamacare: A Review of CMS’ Management of the Failed CO-OP Program,” was released ahead of Wednesday’s hearing examining the committee’s oversight and the future outlook of the health care law. The executive summary of the report explains, “Less than three years into the program, only six of the original 23 CO-OPs remain, indicating the future of existing CO-OPs remains uncertain. … Moreover, a recent HHS-OIG report has found that the remaining CO-OPs are becoming financially insolvent, thus, reducing the likelihood that the federal government will be repaid for startup loans.” Among the report’s findings are: CO-OPs either failed to meet enrollment targets or surpassed enrollment capacity, and both scenarios created financial insolvency. CMS issued Corrective Action Plans (CAPs) in response to oversight conducted not by CMS, but rather state regulators and the HHS Office of the Inspector General. CMS issued CAPs that contained obvious errors and outdated information. Operational CO-OPs are not likely to pay back loans because of potential insolvency. To help address these and other concerning findings, the report includes four recommendations: [[{"fid":"1548","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"350","width":"462","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “CO-OPs have been a disaster, and real folks across the country have suffered. From the hassle and danger of lost coverage to an over $1.8 billion I.O.U. to American taxpayers, the administration’s failures have come at a big price,” said full committee Chairman Upton and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “The mismanagement of the CO-OPs, like the state exchanges, is having a devastating effect on those that enrolled. For the six remaining, the risks far outweigh their potential and it’s critical that the Obama administration finally acknowledge they have a problem and prevent this wildfire from continuing to spread.” Click here to access a copy of the report. ### Read More

#SubHealth Passes 5 Bipartisan Public Health Bills

2016/09/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), today held a markup to consider five bipartisan bills to advance the public health. All five bills passed by voice vote and will now advance to the full committee. The subcommittee passed the following bills:   AINS to H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances to patients pursuant to standing orders issued by their EMS agency’s medical director.    AINS to H.R. 1192, National Clinical Care Commission Act, authored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), would establish a National Clinical Care Commission to evaluate and recommend solutions regarding better coordination and use of federal programs relating to supporting care for people with diabetes and related metabolic syndromes and disorders.   H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), increases data collection by HHS to help place maternal health professionals in more appropriate geographic regions and health professional shortages through their existing participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). There is no new authorization of appropriations for this bill nor does it open or expand participation in the NHSC.   AINS to H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), requires SAMHSA to award grants to initiate and sustain mental health awareness training grants. Individuals throughout a community would be eligible for inclusion in training such as first responders, law enforcement, or teachers. The goal of these programs is to train individuals to accomplish safe de-escalation of crisis situations, recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and encourage timely referral to mental health services.   H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), reauthorizes grants and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate nursing education in specified areas of nursing. The legislation also amends the PHSA to include clinical nurse leaders as advanced education nurses making clinical nurse leader education programs eligible for advanced education nursing grants. “Throughout my tenure as Chairman of this important Health Subcommittee, one of my top priorities has been to work diligently on behalf of the American people to improve their access to vital health care, as well as the delivery and affordability of those health care services,” stated Chairman Pitts. “Today, our subcommittee has made tremendous strides in that effort.” For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click HERE. ### Read More

Ahead of #SubEnergyPower Hearing, McKinley Showcases WV’s Coal Country to Moniz

2016/09/13

This Thursday, September 15, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will be joined by Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz for a hearing on DOE’s role in America’s national, economic, and energy security. Leading up to the hearing, Moniz on Tuesday joined committee member Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) in the heart of West Virginia coal country, where he received an update about the important work going on in the state’s energy sector, including a tour of Longview Power’s Morgantown coal-fired plant. McKinley had invited Moniz to visit during a #SubEnergyPower hearing in March. Watch the exchange here. [[{"fid":"1545","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"113","width":"393","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 12, 2016 Obama’s energy chief tours coal country The Obama administration's top energy official is taking time out to visit coal country Monday. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz will visit West Virginia for a day-long symposium on the region's energy future before taking a tour of the Mountaineer State's more advanced coal power plant. The visit comes after the White House recently sent nearly $40 million to West Virginia and other coal-dependent states to help retrain miners after a string of coal company bankruptcies and mine closures left thousands out of work. The industry is being hammered by a shift away from coal to natural gas for electricity production, anti-coal regulations by President Obama, and a major tapering off of global demand for U.S. coal. [[{"fid":"1544","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"381","width":"337","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz (L) with Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) Moniz is visiting the coal state at the behest of Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who arranged the meeting in the last few weeks. Manchin joined his Republican colleague, Sen. Shelly Moore Capito, for a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee field hearing last month to discuss the state's energy future. Capito, who headed the hearing, touched on the need to continue research and development on carbon capture and storage technology, which removes greenhouse gas emissions from a coal plant's smokestack. The Obama administration sees the technology as one of the only ways to continue to use coal by reducing its effects on climate change and the environment. Moniz is a proponent of the technology, along with other advancements that would keep coal-fired power plants in the U.S. power mix. Moniz will join Manchin at West Virginia University's Mid-Atlantic Region Energy Innovation Forum on Monday. Moniz will then tour Longview Power's coal-fired plant outside Morgantown, accompanied by Manchin and Republican Rep. David McKinley. McKinley had invited Moniz to tour the plant in March. Read the article online HERE. For information about Thursday’s #SubEnergyPower hearing, click HERE. Read More

#SubEnergyPower and @HouseSmallBiz Press EPA on Rules Limiting Refrigerants

2016/09/13

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Power Subcommittee Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX) and House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) today sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy requesting information related to the legality, cost, and feasibility of the agency’s proposed rule restricting several hydrofluorocarbon (HFCs) refrigerants in residential refrigerators and other equipment. The rule is the second such effort by the agency to limit refrigerants used in refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. “We have serious concerns about this rule’s impact on American businesses and consumers, and we also believe that it exceeds the agency’s statutory authority by establishing a new and expansive global warming program never intended by Congress,” wrote Olson and Chabot. “These proposed regulations could have a chilling effect, and not the kind you want, on manufacturers and consumers alike. We have a number of questions about EPA’s legal authority to restrict these refrigerants and whether doing so makes sense,” commented Vice Chairman Olson. “We also need to know more about the actual environmental impacts of the proposed rule.” “I believe that EPA’s proposed rule may pose particular burdens for small businesses that the agency has not fully taken into consideration,” noted Chairman Chabot. “I look forward to EPA’s responses to these concerns.” To read the letter online, click here. ###  Read More

Letter to EPA Administrator McCarthy on EPA's SNAP Rules for Hydrofluorocarbons

2016/09/13

Excerpt: "We have serious concerns about this rule’s impact on American businesses and consumers, and we also believe that it exceeds the agency’s statutory authority by establishing a new and expansive global warming program never intended by Congress." To read the letter online, click HERE.  Read More

#SubCommTech Advances Two Bills to the Full Committee

2016/09/13

[[{"fid":"1540","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"138","width":"207","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today unanimously advanced H.R. 2669, the Anti Spoofing Act of 2015, and H.R. 2566, the Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015, to the full committee. H.R. 2669, introduced by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY) and co-sponsored by committee members Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ) and Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), would; Protect consumers from fraudulent actors and deceptive text messages. “This bill seeks to extend the protections of the Truth In Caller ID Act to include text messages,” noted Chairman Walden. “This is the second time we’ve looked at this legislation that will provide additional protections for consumers, and I’m hopeful this time we will see it successfully land on the president’s desk.” H.R. 2566, introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA), would; Require intermediate providers to register with the FCC and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency in order to improve call quality from long distance or wireless calls in rural areas throughout the country. “Today we took a significant step forward in the fight to ensure that rural customers get the same high-quality voice services that others take for granted,” said Chairman Walden. “I was pleased to hear the strong bipartisan support for this measure, and I’m optimistic that this can make a big difference in the way rural consumers receive their telephone calls.” Full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, “ Rural consumers in Southwest Michigan and around the country expect to receive dependable service, but the truth is that they are disproportionally plagued with failed calls and poor call quality. I have heard directly from providers in my district as well as local small businesses that this is an issue of great importance and demands action. Additionally, as our methods of communications evolve and innovate to the benefit of consumers, bad actors have also evolved to consumers’ detriment. I’m thankful my colleagues on both sides of the aisle joined in supporting and advancing these bipartisan, consumer-minded bills to the full committee.” For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click HERE. ###  Read More

Letter GAO Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro on Ticket Purchasing

2016/09/13

Excerpt: "The challenges facing onsumers purchasing tickets online for their favorite sports teams, artists, and shows have been well-documented and reported in the news. Consumers face a lack of transparency throughout the ticket-buying process as well as egregious acts by unscrupulous ticket brokers. Advancement in technology has brought new methods to cirumvent website security and produce fraudulent or speculative tickets." To read the letter, click here. Read More

New E&C Report Sounds Alarm Over Obamacare Exchange Stability

2016/09/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today released a new report chronicling the failures of state exchanges established under Obamacare. The report entitled, “Implementing Obamacare: A Review of CMS’ Management of the State-Based Exchanges,” was released ahead of Wednesday’s hearing examining the committee’s oversight and the future outlook of the health care law. The executive summary of the report explains, “By 2017, at least five of the original SBEs [state-based exchanges] will have closed, leaving only 12 remaining. These five SBEs alone represent hundreds of millions in wasted taxpayer dollars. … Neglecting to limit the dollars granted to SBEs and inadequate oversight of documented wasteful spending has cost the American taxpayer millions of dollars. Six years into the implementation of PPACA, it is time that the administration strengthen its measures to account for the significant waste of taxpayer dollars, and improve oversight on the SBE program.” Among the report’s findings are: CMS is not confident that the remaining SBEs will be sustainable in the long term. As of September 2016, every SBE still relies upon federal establishment grant funds – 20 months after SBEs were to be self-sustaining by law. The Government Accountability Office issued two reports in CMS oversight of the SBEs. All of the 6 recommendations for how CMS can improve its oversight of the SBEs remain "open," indicating that CMS has not implemented a single one. CMS eased the transition for failed SBEs to join HealthCare.gov by allowing them to keep user fees collected by insurance carriers intended to pay for the use of HealthCare.gov. To help address these and other concerning findings, the report includes five recommendations: [[{"fid":"1537","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"431","width":"462","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “Taxpayer dollars are going down the drain at an alarming rate, and yet the administration treats the hundreds of millions of dollars squandered as acceptable. There needs to be zero tolerance for such waste,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). “Mismanagement and lax oversight have come to define the state exchanges, and the marketplaces that Americans have come to rely on are on shaky ground. In the wake of this marketplace mess, we’ve got five thoughtful recommendations that will go a long way toward protecting taxpayers.”   Click here to access a copy of the report. ### Read More

E&C Republicans Continue to Press for Answers on EpiPen Costs

2016/09/13

Following up on a recent letter to FDA on the rising costs of EpiPens, 15 Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sent a letter to HHS’ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) on Monday. The letter requests the HHS OIG open an investigation examining CMS’ oversight of the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. [[{"fid":"1532","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"52","width":"311","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 12, 2016 E&C Republicans Question CMS on EpiPen Classification More than a dozen House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans questioned the Department of Health and Human Services about what they see as the misclassification of the EpiPen in the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program, sending a letter to the agency on Monday. The authors requested that the Office of the Inspector General open an independent inquiry into the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s oversight of the program. The letter comes amidst bipartisan outrage over the price of EpiPens, which increased from less than $100 in 2007 to more than $600 currently for a pack of two. There have been no significant changes to the product over that time period. One of the facets of this outrage is the fact that CMS classified the EpiPen as a generic drug, rather than a brand drug, in the Medicare rebate program. This means the maker of the EpiPen, Mylan Pharmaceuticals, had significantly lower rebate obligations. “Lax oversight by CMS appears to have resulted in increased program expenditures since the drug manufacturer paid a lower generic Medicaid rebate instead of the higher brand rebate — the latter of which also may have included an additional rebate if prices rose faster than inflation,” the lawmakers wrote. The committee Republicans said they raised concerns with this a year ago, but CMS did not directly answer their questions. Only now, with the heightened attention on EpiPens, has the agency responded, the letter said. Read the story online HERE. ###   Read More

CO-llapse: And Then There Were Six

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The news keeps getting worse by the day for Obamacare. The latest blow comes from Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey that announced today they too will shutter their doors, forcing their approximately 35,000 members to find new coverage for next year. New Jersey brings the total to 17 of the original 23 Obamacare CO-OPs that have failed, at a total cost to taxpayers of over $1.8 billion. "A lot of folks continue to have their health care disrupted by the administration's CO-OP mess,” said Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “This week, our Health Subcommittee and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee will hold a joint hearing examining the stability of the president's health law and the CO-OP fiasco will surely be a hot topic. Only six of 23 CO-OPs remain standing and the administration has still yet to blink at the over $1.8 billion in losses." While American's continue to he harmed by the countless broken promises, House Republicans have a Better Way. [[{"fid":"1531","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"277","width":"414","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] 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 – Oregon Cost: $56,656,900 Land of Lincoln Health – Illinois Cost: $160,154,812 Health Republic Insurance of New Jersey Cost: $109,074,550 TOTAL TAXPAYER DOLLARS: $1,820,114,940 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

#RecordOfSuccess: House Clears #SubEnergyPower Bill to Spur Advanced Nuclear Technology

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today unanimously passed committee members Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Jerry McNerney’s (D-CA) H.R. 4979, the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016, furthering the committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess.  H.R. 4979 would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to develop the regulatory framework needed for safe, advanced nuclear energy technologies and requires the Department of Energy and the NRC to collaborate, where appropriate, in order to develop advanced nuclear technology by maintaining technical expertise and shared facility usage. [[{"fid":"1526","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"175","width":"333","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “The next generation of the nuclear industry needs to start now, with Congress ensuring that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is able to provide the certainty that the private sector needs to invest in innovative technologies,” said Rep. Latta. “It is time for Congress to ensure that NRC provides a framework so that innovators and investors can prepare to apply for licensing. Passing this legislation is key to ensure that the United States remains a leader in the nuclear industry.” “This bill will help provide certainty for innovators and entrepreneurs who are seeking to develop and license the next generation of nuclear technologies,” said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “We should ensure that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has the expertise and resources to review and license the latest in advanced reactor technologies and this bill does just that.” ###  Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Passes Guthrie Sports Medicine Bill

2016/09/12

[[{"fid":"1524","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"196","width":"374","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – Building on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess, the House of Representatives today passed legislation by voice vote to ensure sports medicine professionals are covered by their malpractice insurance when providing care to their athletes or teams in other states. H.R. 921, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2016, is authored by Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY). “This commonsense bill will bring certainty to the health professionals tasked with taking care of our athletes,” said Rep. Guthrie. “It’s a win for everyone involved, and ensures those that know our athletes best are responsible for their care, even when playing and traveling out of state.” For more information on the seven Energy and Commerce Committee bills that passed the House today, click HERE. To learn more about the committee’s #RecordOfSuccess, click HERE. ### Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Clears #SubCommTech Bill to Protect Amateur Radio Operators

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today added to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess by unanimously passing H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, sponsored by committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL). The bill, which originated out of the Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) would instruct the FCC to adopt rules that protect the rights of amateur radio operators to use radio equipment in deed-restricted communities. “During times of emergency service, such as following a hurricane or tornado, amateur radio operators are able to use their skills and equipment to create a network of communications for first responders when other wired or wireless networks are taken down. A vital and lifesaving function,” said Rep. Kinzinger. “This legislation would change current regulations hampering the ability of amateur radio operators to effectively communicate in certain areas, while respecting and maintaining the rights of local communities in which many of these operators reside.” [[{"fid":"1523","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"175","width":"333","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “Amateur radio plays an important role in emergency response, often being able to establish communication in disaster areas when traditional communication networks fail,” concluded full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “This bill is further testament of this committee’s ongoing bipartisan record of success.” ###  Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Passes Four E&C Bills to Protect Jobs and Consumers

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Building upon the Energy & Commerce Committee’s #RecordOfSuccess, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved four measures advanced by the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee to protect jobs and consumers. H.R. 5104, Better Online Ticket Sales Act, and H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, prioritize the protection of consumers – whether going online to purchase tickets for a live event or their ability to provide an honest review of a company, service or product. H.Res. 847 and H.Res. 835, seek to empower consumers and encourage the government to take advantage of developing technology and innovation. “I’m proud of the productivity of the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee. The policies advanced today encourage continued development and adoption of innovative technologies while working to protect consumers online through increased transparency and accountability,” said subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX). “These four measures today will support economic growth while ensuring that consumers are safeguarded from deceptive online practices and non-disparagement clauses.” Both consumer-protection bills today passed the House under suspension and previously passed out of the full committee by voice vote. [[{"fid":"1527","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"630","width":"1200","style":"width: 500px; height: 263px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] H.R. 5104, Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016, authored by full committee Vice Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), would empower the FTC to stop software used to buy up swaths of event tickets over defense measures put in place by ticket sellers. Passed by voice vote. “Scalpers have been taking unfair advantage of consumers for years through computer hacking software, making it difficult and expensive for many to find or afford tickets to live events. This deceptive practice of buying tickets and drastically marking them up has gone on for too long, and it’s time we put an end to it,” said Vice Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). “This commonsense legislation puts protections in place to prevent this manipulation while keeping live events affordable to fans everywhere.” [[{"fid":"1528","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"630","width":"1200","style":"width: 500px; height: 263px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, authored by Vice Chairman Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), prohibit gag clauses preventing consumers from publishing truthful reviews and authorize the FTC and states to enforce the Act with civil penalties. Passed by voice vote. “In the 21st Century, consumers have come to depend upon online reviews and ratings when making informed decisions about which business or services to purchase,” said Vice Chairman Leonard Lance (R-NJ). “Today’s legislation is about allowing consumers to exercise their First Amendment rights. They should be able to post or provide comments online regarding their experience with a product, business or service without fear of retribution.” Also passing the House were two resolutions that aim to boost commerce, increase business and empower consumers. [[{"fid":"1529","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"630","width":"1200","style":"width: 500px; height: 263px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] H.Res. 847, authored by Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), expresses the sense of the House of Representatives about a national strategy for the Internet of Things to promote economic growth and consumer empowerment. Passed 367-4-1 [[{"fid":"1530","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"630","width":"1200","style":"width: 500px; height: 263px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] H.Res. 835, authored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill), expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should adopt a national policy for technology to promote consumers' access to financial tools and online commerce that promote economic growth and consumer empowerment.. Passed 385-4-1. Read More

#CuresNow Will Bolster Medical Research

2016/09/12

The Conservative Reform Network (CRN) issued a new whitepaper making the case for increased investment here at home in the medical research fields. It’s an argument at the very heart of H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, which will accelerate the cycle of discovering, developing, and delivering new cures and treatments. “It is crucial that new investments in medical research be accompanied by reforms that reduce waste, and improve the efficiency and rate of return of taxpayers’ funds,” wrote Neil Bradley of CRN. “Reforms should improve the accountability of senior officials, increase transparency, break down the silos that dominate much of the existing research infrastructure, and utilize funding mechanisms that incentive high-risk, high reward research.” Among its many objectives, H.R. 6 will remove barriers to increase research collaboration, modernize clinical trials, and provide new incentives for the development of drugs for rare diseases. H.R. 6 is all about putting the patients first, and that begins by making research a priority. [[{"fid":"1520","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"128","width":"205","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] The Case for Increasing American Investment in Medical Research … Since the presidency of John Adams, the federal government has been involved in halting the spread of disease. And with good reason, medical advances further one of the most basic functions of government: the protection of its citizens. There is a broad and compelling case for increasing the federal government’s investment in medical research, including: Moral: Prior medical advances have cured once incurable diseases and saved millions of lives. It is imperative that we build on those successes to treat and cure today’s afflictions. Economic: Medical research not only contributes to the economy, but medical advances generate savings in health care and improve overall longevity, adding to economic growth. National Security: The ability to confront highly infectious natural diseases and bioterrorism is key to preserving order and advancing America’s national security. Global Leadership: Stagnant investment in medical research in the U.S. coupled with growing investments abroad threaten America’s position as the global leader in medical research. Further, the federal government has a unique and essential role in promoting and supporting basic research. As Congress and the president complete the fiscal year 2017 budget process and as the next president and Congress prepare their budgets, there are near- and medium-term opportunities to make significant investments in medical research. Policymakers should seize these opportunities, but they should also avoid a repeat of the problems created between 1998 and 2013 when funding for the National Institutes of Health was quickly doubled, then flat-lined, and then reduced. The lack of sustainable, predictable funding has made it difficult to invest in new research and new researchers. It is crucial that new investments in medical research be accompanied by reforms that reduce waste, and improve the efficiency and rate of return of taxpayers’ funds. Reforms should improve the accountability of senior officials, increase transparency, break down the silos that dominate much of the existing research infrastructure, and utilize funding mechanisms that incentive high-risk, high reward research. This white paper, which explores these issues and policies, is divided into three sections: (1) The Case for Investing in Medical Research, (2) Background and Outlook for Federal Investments in Medical Research, and (3) Reforms that Enhance Investments in Medical Research. Read the full report online HERE. ### Read More

Communications and Technology Subcommittee Vote on H.R. 2566 and H.R. 2669

2016/09/12

[[{"fid":"1516","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Markup Day 1","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1536","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Markup Day 2","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

Subcommittee Markup of H.R. 4365, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, and H.R. 2713

2016/09/12

[[{"fid":"1521","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Subcommittee on Health Markup Day 1","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] [[{"fid":"1542","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Subcommittee on Health Markup Day 2","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Read More

Committee Leaders Request NHTSA Convene Industry-Wide Effort to Develop a Plan of Action for OBD-II Ports within Vehicles

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today sent a letter to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Administrator Mark. R. Rosekind. Due in part to safety and security concerns with the On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) ports within vehicles, members requested that NHTSA convene an industry-wide effort to develop a plan of action for addressing risks associated with the OBD-II ports.   As part of the ongoing effort to protect America’s drivers, the committee leaders write, “In the past several years, information security researchers have discovered and demonstrated increasingly effective – and increasingly frequent – attacks on the internal networks of automobiles through the use of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) ports and the devices that connect to them. … Researchers have been able to leverage either a direct connection to the OBD-II port, or devices that connect to the port, to cause a range of effects, from nuisances like digitally engaging the windshield wipers or car horn, to more consequential exploits such as remotely unlocking a vehicle’s doors or cutting a vehicle’s brakes or power steering.” “We are keenly aware of the risks and disadvantages that may come from attempting to address the cybersecurity risks created by the existence of the OBD-II port,” continued Upton, Walden, Murphy, and Burgess. “We acknowledge that the port has grown beyond its original purpose, and appreciate the fact that there now exist industries and individuals that rely on its current design and the access it provides. … However, as the growing series of OBD-II based vulnerabilities shows, the OBD-II port as it currently exists creates a growing risk to the safety and security of passengers. As such, we are writing today to request that NHTSA convene an industry-wide effort to develop a plan of action for addressing the risk posed by the existence of the OBD-II port in the modern vehicle system.” To read the letter online, click here. ###  Read More

Letter to NHTSA Administrator Mark R. Rosekind Regarding OBD-II Ports in Vehicles

2016/09/12

Excerpt: “In the past several years, information security researchers have discovered and demonstrated increasingly effective – and increasingly frequent – attacks on the internal networks of automobiles through the use of On-Board Diagnostic (OBD-II) ports and the devices that connect to them. … Researchers have been able to leverage either a direct connection to the OBD-II port, or devices that connect to the port, to cause a range of effects, from nuisances like digitally engaging the windshield wipers or car horn, to more consequential exploits such as remotely unlocking a vehicle’s doors or cutting a vehicle’s brakes or power steering.” To read the letter online, click here.  Read More

#RecordOfSuccess: House Poised to Advance Seven Energy and Commerce Bills

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Building on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bipartisan #RecordOfSuccess, the House of Representatives today is poised to advance seven committee bills today. To date, over 100 bipartisan Energy and Commerce bills and provisions have cleared the House in the 114th Congress. "With these seven bills, we look to build upon our bipartisan record of success," said full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). "We've got a diverse collection of solutions - from spotlighting the Internet of Things and Fin Tech to ensuring consumer fairness and allowing folks the chance to see their favorite artist or sports team. Our important work to protect consumers, jobs, and the public health continues." The bills that the House will consider today are: #SubCommTech: H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015, introduced by committee member Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), would instruct the FCC to adopt rules that protect the rights of amateur radio operators to use radio equipment in deed-restricted communities. #SubEnergyPower: H.R. 4979, the Advanced Nuclear Technology Development Act of 2016, introduced by committee members Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH) and Rep. Jerry McNerney (D-CA), would require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to develop a regulatory framework for safe, advanced nuclear energy technologies. #SubCMT: H.R. 5111, the Consumer Review Fairness Act, authored by Vice Chairman Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ), would prohibit gag clauses that prevent consumers from publishing truthful reviews and would authorize the FTC, and states, to enforce the Act with civil penalties. H.R. 5104, Better Online Ticket Sales (BOTS) Act of 2016, authored by full committee Vice Chairman Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), would empower the FTC to stop software that is being used to buy swaths of event tickets over defense measures put in place by ticket sellers. H.Res. 847, authored by subcommittee Vice Chairman Lance, expresses the sense of the House of Representatives about a national strategy for the Internet of Things to promote economic growth and empower consumers. H.Res 835, authored by Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that the United States should adopt a national policy for technology to promote consumers' access to financial tools and online commerce that promote economic growth and consumer empowerment. #SubHealth: H.R. 921, the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act of 2016, authored by committee member and Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), would ensure that sports medicine professionals are covered by their malpractice insurance when providing care to their athletes or teams in other states. To learn more about the committee’s #RecordOfSuccess, click HERE. Read More

Letter to HHS Regarding EpiPen Classification

2016/09/12

Excerpt: "Lax oversight by CMS appears to have resulted in increased program expenditures since the drug manufacturer paid a lower generic Medicaid rebate instead of the higher brand rebate — the latter of which also may have included an additional rebate if prices rose faster than inflation." To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

BREAKING: Nonpartisan Gov’t Watchdog Warns Obamacare Marketplaces “Remain Vulnerable to Fraud”

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) today released two undercover reports of the Obamacare marketplace with testing results for the 2015 and 2016 coverage years. In the 2015 coverage year analysis, GAO found that “the federal Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace) or selected state marketplaces approved each of 10 fictitious applications GAO made for subsidized health plans.” Additionally, for eight additional fake applications, GAO was approved for subsidized insurance in all but one case. GAO summarized its 2016 findings by saying, “As previously reported for the 2014 and 2015 coverage years, GAO’s undercover testing for the 2016 coverage year found that the health-care marketplaces’ eligibility determination and enrollment processes remain vulnerable to fraud.” “When a fire is raging, the first thing you do is grab a hose – but there is no urgency by the administration. It’s déjà vu all over again as it seems the situation only continues to get worse, and we all are paying the price,” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “The nonpartisan watchdog reports underscore that there is still tremendous weakness in how the federal marketplace operates and immediate action must be taken to ensure all avenues for fraud are impossible.” “This report unfortunately tells us more of what we already know — that the Obamacare federal exchanges have been riddled with problems since day one,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX). “The fact that the exchanges are so susceptible to fraud is just further proof that the President’s health care law is not working as promised — and wasting billions of taxpayer dollars in the process. House Republicans have proposed a better, simpler way to help individuals and families access quality, affordable care and also protect taxpayer dollars.” “As if Obamacare’s recent headlines were not damning enough, we find out today that the Obama Administration continues to fail the test when it comes to enrollment verification,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “Continuing to leave taxpayers vulnerable, years after the system was implemented, is a disgraceful way for the administration to leave our healthcare system.   That the administration has been aware of this since 2014, and has failed to employ proper safeguards, is just the latest incompetence in the health law’s implementation.  It is no surprise examples like this have become the legacy of Obamacare.” GAO has issued eight recommendations to CMS to strengthen their oversight over the federal marketplace. ### Read More

House E&C and W&M, Senate Finance Leaders Call on CMS to Prevent Fraudulent Medicare Spending

2016/09/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways and Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee today sent a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acting Administrator Andrew Slavitt to express concerns about fraudulent Medicare spending despite the Agency's recent efforts to prevent improper payments before they are sent out the door. The letter was sent by House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT), House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA), House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH), and House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Peter Roskam (R-IL). Members explained that CMS still relies too heavily on the outdated “pay and chase” practice – paying a claim before investigating whether it was fraudulent. Expressing the need to end “pay and chase” and strengthen the Fraud Prevention System (FPS), the Members wrote: “The billions of dollars lost to Medicare fraud each year underscore the importance of stopping potentially fraudulent payments before they are made. … Each dollar lost to fraud is a dollar that is not used to benefit patients. This represents a significant burden on the program and taxpayers.” The Members specifically requested for CMS to clarify the Agency’s implementation of the FPS program, including details on fraud investigations and how the Agency monitors FPS’s effectiveness. Click HERE to read the letter. ### Read More

Letter to CMS on Preventing Fraudulent Medicare Spending

2016/09/12

Excerpt: “The billions of dollars lost to Medicare fraud each year underscore the importance of stopping potentially fraudulent payments before they are made. … Each dollar lost to fraud is a dollar that is not used to benefit patients. This represents a significant burden on the program and taxpayers.” To read a copy of the letter, click HERE. Read More

Special Update from the #Path2Cures: “I am a mother.”

2016/09/10

[[{"fid":"1507","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"364","width":"269","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Max is in search of #CuresNow Our friend and all-star patient advocate Max Schill is back in the news. Max’s mom, Lisa, recently shared the poignant story of Max’s diagnosis and their journey on the #Path2Cures via the Sick Chicks blog. “In those first few moments of his life, I knew something was wrong. I only had a moment to touch him before he was whisked away to the NICU. After a year and a half, we finally had a diagnosis. A RASopathy called Noonan Syndrome. No treatment. No cure,” wrote Lisa. “I am a mother. My main goal in life is to make sure my children are healthy and happy. But what if you can’t keep them healthy? What if you don’t have the band-aids to fix their boo-boos? You dedicate your life to finding them.” [[{"fid":"1508","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"345","width":"357","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] And Max’s mom has done just that. Together, Max and his mom have gone hand in hand and visited every Congressional office they can get to. Just a few months ago, Max made news for dropping off some of his famous #CuresNow inspired artwork to Senate offices. CBS Philly reported, “Max visited 83 Senate offices across two days… A friend took care of the other 17, when Max’s legs gave out.” The push for #CuresNow may be personal to Lisa and Max, but as she writes for Sick Chicks, “Everyone will eventually be a patient one day.” [[{"fid":"1509","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"75","width":"524","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 2, 2016 #CuresNow By the People, For the People By Lisa Schill In those first few moments of his life, I knew something was wrong. I only had a moment to touch him before he was whisked away to the NICU. After a year and a half, we finally had a diagnosis. A RASopathy called Noonan Syndrome. No treatment. No cure. I am a mother. My main goal in life is to make sure my children are healthy and happy. But what if you can’t keep them healthy? What if you don’t have the band-aids to fix their boo-boos? You dedicate your life to finding them. 21st Century Cures was written by the people, for the people. It is legislation that will help reform the process of drug development by delivering treatments and cures to more families, safely and efficiently. An innovative bipartisan bill that was created after a year of discussions with patients, caregivers, researchers, physicians, and industry - ALL the stakeholders. Everyone in America had the opportunity to share their thoughts, feelings and concerns regarding how to ensure more treatments and cures could make it to the people who need them the most. One of the finest examples of our democratic process at work. It passed the Energy and Commerce Committee unanimously and passed the House by an overwhelming majority. What does the bill include? It includes more funding for the NIH and FDA, which is desperately needed. It encourages that the patient perspective is at the core of all aspects of the drug development process. The cherry on top – the OPEN ACT. The OPEN ACT was included in the House version of the bill, but separated in the Senate version. The OPEN ACT has the potential to double the number of treatments for rare disease patients. Just as our forefathers fought for democracy on the Freedom Trail, we are fighting for the health of every American. Everyone will eventually be a patient one day. When your time comes, are you going to want more and better band-aids in the medicine cabinet? Senate, we are calling on you to answer the needs of your constituents. The time is NOW for #CuresNOW. Every day, week, or month we wait to pass 21st Century Cures and the OPEN ACT are precious moments lost. Moments celebrating babies first steps, another candle in a cake, or a kiss confirming vows. Moments that should not be taken for granted. Senate, please help us pass 21st Century Cures and the OPEN ACT today. The longer we wait, the more lives we lose. This legislation is an opportunity to create meaningful change for people that we all know and love. Make it a point to make a difference in their lives and many others with a yes vote when the Cures and OPEN bills come to the floor in September. We need your support. #CuresNOW Read the column online HERE. Read More

#SubHealth Examines Federal Mental Health Parity Laws and Regulations

2016/09/09

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), today held a hearing examining federal mental health parity laws and regulations.   Members examined Title VIII of the Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, authored by Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), as well as additional mental health and substance use disorder parity laws, and relevant reporting from the president’s task force, and other legislation. “Since there seems to be ongoing discussions on protections as envisioned in the mental health parity laws previously enacted, it is timely for this committee to consider ways to streamline the mental health parity system,” Chairman Pitts commented. “With more than 11 million Americans who suffer with severe mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major depression, this issue is vitally important for individual patients as well as families seeking appropriate care for their loved ones.” [[{"fid":"1511","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"221","width":"372","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Among today’s witnesses was Pamela Greenberg, MPP, President and CEO of the Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness. Greenberg stated, “It is critical to recognize that differences do exist between behavioral health and physical health in order to ensure that the best quality, evidence based care is being provided to consumers. Parity is important, but so is quality; and we have to make sure that we are not so rigid with our implementation of parity that we end up compromising on quality care for consumers.” For more on today’s hearing, including witness testimony, an archived webcast, and background memo, click here. Read More

Look Ahead: Committee Announces Hearing and Vote Schedule for the Week of September 12

2016/09/09

[[{"fid":"1510","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"220","width":"339","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today announced its hearing schedule for the week of September 12. On Monday, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will convene a markup for opening statements only. The following bills will be considered: H.R. 2669 - Anti Spoofing Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Grace Meng (D-NY), and H.R. 2566 - Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. David Young (R-IA). 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. Also on Monday, the Subcommittee on Health will convene a markup for opening statements only. The following bills will be considered: H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, sponsored by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), H.R. 1192, National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act, sponsored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, sponsored by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid, sponsored by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), and H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, sponsored by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA). 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. On Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will reconvene its markup. Also on Tuesday, the Subcommittee on Health will reconvene its markup. On Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Health and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a joint hearing entitled “The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight.” Members will review the work of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office and HHS Office of the Inspector General in overseeing the law, as well as investigations conducted by the committee. The subcommittees will also discuss Republican solutions outlined in previous hearings, as well as House Republicans’ governing initiative, A Better Way. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. Also on Wednesday, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing entitled “Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics.” As the latest chapter in the ongoing Disrupter Series, which examines monumental emerging technologies, the hearing will examine the latest advances in robotics for industrial, medical, and consumer use. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. On Thursday, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing entitled “The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States.” Members will hear from Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz, and will examine the department’s continuing responsibility in strengthening national, economic, and energy security. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. Hearing and Markup Details Monday, September 12, 2016 5 PM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Markup of H.R. 2566 and H.R. 2669 (opening statements only) 5:30 PM (or 10 minutes after the conclusion of the #SubCommTech markup) 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Health Markup of H.R. 4365, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, and H.R. 2713 (opening statements only) Tuesday, September 13, 2016 10 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Reconvene Markup of H.R. 2566 and H.R. 2669 2 PM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Health Reconvene Markup of H.R. 4365, H.R. 1192, H.R. 1209, H.R. 1877, and H.R. 2713 Wednesday, September 14, 2016 10 AM HVC-210 Subcommittee on Health, Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Hearing on “The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight” 10:30 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Hearing on “Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics” Thursday, September 15, 2016 10 AM 2322 Rayburn HOB Subcommittee on Energy and Power Hearing on “The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States Read More

Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means Leaders Issue Statement on Increased Flexibility for MACRA

2016/09/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI), issued the following statement after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) announcement regarding the implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The announcement comes just days after the Members sent a letter to the Administration urging additional flexibility for all practitioners. “We’re pleased to see the Administration is including our recommendations in its implementation of MACRA. By providing flexibility for doctors and other health care providers, we are helping ensure this historic law delivers the quality, value-based care Medicare beneficiaries deserve. We’re committed to continuing our work with each other, stakeholders, and the Administration so that doctors can prioritize patient care instead of focusing on burdensome paperwork.”  ###  Read More

Upton, Hatch Highlight GAO Report Examining Ways to Reform Medicaid’s Financing

2016/09/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today highlighted a new report from the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) detailing policy considerations regarding per capita Medicaid caps as Congress explores possible approaches to reform and sustain the Medicaid program, which comprises an ever-increasing share of federal and state budgets.  The report, which was requested jointly by the chairmen, outlines how the design of per capita caps in Medicaid should consider coverage and flexibility, allocation of funds over time, accountability and other issues if such a reform was implemented.  In response, the chairmen issued the following statements: “Medicaid is a critical program that continues to be relied upon by our nation’s most vulnerable folks. About 20 years ago, then-President Clinton proposed reforming Medicaid’s financing with a per capita cap. Today’s program is about three times larger than it was in 1997, and the program’s outlays are set to roughly double over the coming decade. In order to ensure it meets the demands of those it currently serves, and those it will serve in the future, it is imperative we examine ways to improve the incentives and flexibilities in the program, while protecting the care of the people Medicaid serves,” said Chairman Upton. “This carefully researched report gives lawmakers useful considerations for further discussions about policies that could strengthen Medicaid for the most vulnerable.” “With Medicaid growing at an unprecedented rate, Congress will be forced to look for ways to reform the program as we look toward the future in order to uphold care for our nation’s vulnerable families,” Hatch said. “On the financing front, a per capita approach is a worthy option that could, when paired with other program reforms, set Medicaid on a fiscally responsible course while protecting beneficiaries from harsh, across the board cuts in the future.  The GAO’s work on this issue provides us with the information we need to explore this idea in greater detail as we continue the conversation on how to best finance the Medicaid program in our changing world.” Background: In 2013, Hatch and Upton authored a report, “Making Medicaid Work,” which included proposals to implement a per capita allotment in an effort to curb long-term increasing program growth while prioritizing the most vulnerable by giving States new tools and improving how Medicaid directs federal financing to provide care for the most vulnerable. Hatch and Upton’s Obamacare replacement plan, the Patient CARE Act, contains numerous Medicaid reforms, including a kind of per capita spending allotment for Medicaid spending. Click HERE to read the GAO report. Read More

An Examination of Federal Mental Health Parity Laws and Regulations

2016/09/09

[[{"fid":"1506","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"An Examination of Federal Mental Health Parity Laws & Regulations","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

MARKUP: #SubHealth to Vote on 5 Public Health Bills NEXT WEEK

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), has scheduled a markup convening on Monday, September 12, 2016, at 5:30 p.m., or 10 minutes after the conclusion of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology markup, whichever is later, in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building for opening statements only. The subcommittee will reconvene on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 at 2 p.m. in 2322 Rayburn House Office Building. The subcommittee will review the following bills:   H.R. 4365, Protecting Patient Access to Emergency Medications Act of 2016, introduced by Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would amend the Controlled Substances Act to enable paramedics and other emergency medical services (EMS) professionals to continue to administer controlled substances to patients pursuant to standing orders issued by their EMS agency’s medical director.      H.R. 1192, National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act, authored by Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), would establish a National Clinical Care Commission to evaluate and recommend solutions regarding better coordination and use of federal programs relating to supporting care for people with diabetes and related metabolic syndromes and disorders.   H.R. 1209, Improving Access to Maternity Care Act, introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX), increases data collection by HHS to help place maternal health professionals in more appropriate geographic regions and health professional shortages through their existing participating in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC). There is no new authorization of appropriations for this bill nor does it open or expand participation in the NHSC.   H.R. 1877, Mental Health First Aid, introduced by Rep. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), requires SAMSHA to award grants to initiate and sustain mental health awareness training grants. Individuals throughout a community would be eligible for inclusion in training such as first responders, law enforcement, teachers, faith leaders, nurses and other relevant personnel. The goal of these programs is to train individuals to accomplish safe de-escalation of crisis situations, recognition of the signs and symptoms of mental illness, and encourage timely referral to mental health services.   H.R. 2713, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act of 2015, introduced by Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA), reauthorizes grants and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate nursing education in specified areas of nursing. The legislation also amends the PHSA to include clinical nurse leaders as advanced education nurses making clinical nurse leader education programs eligible for advanced education nursing grants. “Building off of recent hearings, the Health Subcommittee will markup a series of bipartisan bills that will bolster the public health,” said Chairman Pitts. “From increased resources for health professionals to boosting critical research for disease, we will take another stride forward in our important work.” 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

#SubCommTech Examines Rural Call Completion

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today held a hearing examining H.R. 2566, Improving Rural Call Quality and Reliability Act, introduced by Rep. David Young (R-IA). Members examined the persistent problems many Americans living in rural areas have when it comes to receiving long distance or wireless calls on their landline telephones. Despite attempts made by the FCC to address the lingering issues problems still persist. H.R. 2566 would require intermediate providers to register with the FCC and comply with the service quality standards set by the agency.  [[{"fid":"1501","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"182","width":"278","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] In his testimony, Eric LeBeau, General Manager at Dakin Farms discussed the drawbacks of “least cost routing”, commenting, “The completion of calls should not be based on your location or a company’s need for greater profits. In the case of emergency a parent should not have issues getting ahold of the school or their child because of these practices. Business owners should not have their years of hard work affected by the same reckless practices.” Lance Miller, President of the McClure Telephone Company and testifying on behalf of the Rural Broadband Association threw his support behind H.R. 2566, stating, “The problem persists, so more must be done to ensure that call quality and reliability improves and that no entity may unreasonably discriminate against consumers and businesses in rural America. Congress should pass H.R. 2566 to require least-cost routers to register with the FCC and abide by minimum standards for call completion, and to ensure originating providers use registered least-cost routers.”  [[{"fid":"1504","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"189","width":"243","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] “As we continue our efforts to promote America’s technological leadership in so many spaces, we can’t ignore the day-to-day issues that continue to plague consumers,” said Chairman Walden. “This bipartisan, common-sense legislation ensures that rural consumers are not left behind.” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, “It has never been easier to pick up the phone and dial a number to be in touch with friends and loved ones, no matter where they are in the country. But for those living in rural areas in Southwest Michigan and across the country, this connection isn’t always guaranteed. It’s time we set higher standards for the integrity of our networks, but more importantly, for the benefit of our constituents.” The subcommittee will convene for a markup of H.R. 2566 and H.R. 2669, the Anti-Spoofing Act of 2015 next Monday, September 12, 2016, at 5 p.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building for opening statements only. Members will reconvene on Tuesday, September 13, at 10 a.m. in 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Information for next week’s markup, including electronic copies of H.R. 2566 and H.R. 2669 can be found on the Energy and Committee’s website HERE. A background memo, amendments, and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.  ###  Read More

#SubHealth Continues Work to Improve Public Health

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), today held a legislative hearing examining legislation to improve public health. [[{"fid":"1502","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"335","width":"368","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] The subcommittee reviewed five bipartisan bills seeking to advance public health: H.R. 1192, the National Diabetes Clinical Care Commission Act – Authored by committee member Rep. Pete Olson (R-TX), the legislation would establish a National Clinical Care Commission to evaluate and recommend solutions regarding better coordination and use of federal programs relating to supporting care for people with diabetes and related metabolic syndromes and disorders. “Total national costs associated with diabetes in 2012 according to the CDC exceeded $245 billion. One in three Medicare dollars is currently spent on people with diabetes” said Chairman Pitts. “There are 35 Federal departments, agencies, and offices involved with implementation of Federal diabetes activities. This legislation will establish a commission to evaluate and recommend solutions for better coordination of patient care and ways to control costs across all of these offices.” H.R. 1717, the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act – Authored by Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA), the bill would revise current reporting for states on underage drinking, directs grant making through SAMSHA, and improves public health surveillance on alcohol use and related conditions in those age 18-20.   H.R. 1807, the Sickle Cell Disease Research Surveillance, Prevention and Treatment Act of 2015 – Authored by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL), the bill would requires HHS to make grants to states to collect data on the prevalence and distribution of sickle cell disease, conduct outreach to improve access to care, and identify strategies to prevent and treat sickle cell disease complications.   H.R. 3119, the Palliative Care and Hospice Education and Training Act – Authored by committee member Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), the legislation would require HHS to award grants to improve the training of health professionals in palliative care and enhance federal research on palliative care and increases education and awareness through a national campaign on palliative care.   H.R. 3952, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2015 – Authored by committee member Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), the measure would direct the CDC to enhance and expand their research and surveillance infrastructure for congenital heart disease. NIH would be required to report on their ongoing research efforts in the field. For more on today’s hearing including witness testimony, an archived webcast, and background memo, click here. Read More

Upton Shares Important Message On #CuresNow

2016/09/08

[[{"fid":"1499","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":"Upton Message on #CuresNow"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"title":"Upton Message on #CuresNow","height":"808","width":"1333","style":"width: 450px; height: 273px;","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Click HERE to watch Upton’s message. Read More

HEARING: #SubEnergyPower to Examine DOE’s Role in National, Economic, and Energy Security

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy and Power has scheduled a hearing for Thursday, September 15, 2016, at 10 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “The Department of Energy’s Role in Advancing the National, Economic, and Energy Security of the United States.” Subcommittee Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX) will preside over the hearing. Energy Secretary Ernie Moniz is slated to testify. The world’s changing energy landscape offers the U.S. both challenges and opportunities.  In recent years, the U.S. has emerged as the leading producer of oil and gas and the second leading producer of coal in the world. Rising supplies and falling energy prices have benefited consumers and the economy, but it has also begun to strain the nation’s energy transmission, storage, and distribution systems. The hearing will focus on multiple legislative efforts that have been undertaken to update the nation’s energy policy and modernize energy infrastructure, including legislation that would reform infrastructure-permitting processes, promote energy exports, modernize the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve, improve emergency preparedness, and protect the electric grid. The hearing will also focus on DOE responsibilities related to ensuring energy security through system planning, physical- and cybersecurity, global supply chains, and international agreements. “It will be great to welcome Secretary Moniz back to Energy and Commerce for what surely will be a valuable discussion of our energy future,” said Vice Chair Olson. “Our energy landscape has changed dramatically and those changes have highlighted challenges and opportunities unique to the 21st century. Next week’s hearing will provide a valuable opportunity to take a deeper dive into DOE’s role in strengthening our national, economic, and energy security.” The Majority Memorandum and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

Senate and House Chairs Call for Administration to Reconsider ICANN Internet Transition

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune (R-S.D.), Senate Committee on the Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) today, in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, raised numerous concerns about plans for the Obama Administration to cede authority over the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions managed by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and called for reconsideration of the transition, currently set to occur on October 1, 2016.

 “The transition of the IANA functions to the global multi-stakeholder community is a serious, groundbreaking, and potentially unalterable action,” said the four chairmen in the letter to Lynch and Pritzker. “We have closely examined the arguments for and against the proposed transition, including concerns about whether the transition could enhance the role of authoritarian regimes in Internet governance. In particular, we have heard from witnesses testifying to concerns that important accountability measures have yet to be fully fleshed out, tested, or proven, because they will not have been implemented prior to September 30, 2016.”

 In addition to concerns about the status of accountability reforms inside ICANN, the four chairmen also cited recent violations of ICANN’s own bylaws by board members, questions about the application of anti-trust laws, the potential for an independent ICANN to move outside the jurisdiction of the United States, and unfinished work by the non-partisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) in determining the legal authority for the federal government to relinquish its current role in IANA functions without express authorization from Congress. “There is a broad range of important questions on both law and policy that remain outstanding with respect to the proposed transfer of the IANA functions to ICANN and the global multi-stakeholder community. We call on you to address the questions and concerns detailed above and to reconsider the Administration’s current plans to transition the IANA functions on October 1, 2016.”    The IANA functions of the internet include the process for resolving domain names and helping to keep the internet running smoothly. ICANN, which manages the IANA functions, currently works under contract for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), an agency within the Department of Commerce. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce exercise principal jurisdiction over the Department of Commerce. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary and the House Judiciary Committee exercise jurisdiction over the Department of Justice. Click here for a copy of the letter from Thune, Grassley, Upton, and Goodlatte to Lynch and Pritzker. ###  Read More

Rural Call Quality and Reliability

2016/09/08

[[{"fid":"1498","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Rural Call Quality and Reliability","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] Read More

A #BetterWay on Energy Policy

2016/09/08

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today outlined an American energy success story in Morning Consult – the committee’s work to lift the 40-year-old ban on crude oil exports. Lifting the ban has helped create jobs, kept prices at the pump relatively flat, and helped balance supply and demand realities. As Chairman Upton notes, “Free markets, technological advancement, and smarter congressional actions powered this transformation – not Middle Eastern cartels or centralized government planning.” Regulatory reform and these principles are also the key principles embodied in Speaker Ryan and House Republicans’ “Better Way” agenda. [[{"fid":"1496","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"49","width":"286","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] September 8, 2016 A Better Way on Energy Policy: An American Success Story By Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) In a world often confronted with bad news, positive developments are welcome. Our nation’s energy situation is providing such relief to what’s often a drought of good news. Abundant supply, new technologies, market forces, and wise congressional action are all helping write a new chapter in our nation’s energy story. It’s a narrative the American people need to better understand because it represents a better way to power our nation. We are currently experiencing a North American energy supply renaissance. Gone are the days of snaking gasoline lines and fears about petro-potentate price gouging. America and our Canadian neighbors have discovered vast new storehouses of oil and natural gas we never knew existed. These immense new supplies span the continent like an energy security belt, stretching from Pennsylvania to North Dakota, from Texas to Canada. Our country is now like a super tanker in the ocean of world oil supply. These abundant resources keep consumer prices stable as our domestic supplies have continued to grow in recent years.  According to the Energy Information Administration, from 2011 to 2015 the cost of gasoline at the pump bumped around between $3.25 and almost $4.00 per gallon on average nationally. More recently prices have dipped toward $2 per gallon, not cheap, but certainly welcome relief and stability compared to the price from the higher costs and volatility of the past. It wasn’t always this way. During the late-1970s and early-1980s our energy world was almost as unstable as a banana republic. Petroleum supplies and prices depended on the whims of brash dictators, hostile regimes, and Washington bureaucrats. Our energy policy was a blend of risky business, arrogant government micro management, and naïve hope, a volatile brew that consistently burned consumers in the process. But times have changed. New technologies, super computers, and enhanced recovery techniques have been the keys to unlock game changing reserves previously hidden deep in the rocks of planet earth. American businesses also wisely grabbed the wheel when it comes to steering our crude oil future, developing these new sources of supply. We now produce more domestic oil and gas than ever, particularly on state and private lands where the tourniquet of federal regulations has not choked off these sources of economic freedom and growth. We have also taken important steps to fortify our pipeline safety laws. And as a result, our exports are at record levels and imports are at 20-year lows. Despite this economically encouraging supply news, most Americans’ real touchstone to energy comes back to the price at the pump. How much it costs to fill up our tanks, to take the kids to school, drive to work, or to buy groceries. Every good energy report card begins with reliable and affordable grades when it comes to the cost of the fuel to power our economy. Smart congressional policies, like modernizing outmoded laws and rules also helped exploit the transformations in the energy world for the benefit of consumers and the U.S. economy. Lifting the ban on crude oil exports is a good example. The 1970s era prohibition on exports was imposed at a time when we believed we had drained the barrel in terms of domestic energy. But disco-era policies no longer make sense. Congress wisely lifted the ban on exports at the end of 2015, modernizing our laws to fit the rhythms of our new energy playlist. Opening new export opportunities helped balance supply and demand realities created by the expansions in domestic energy production. The surge in exports helped protect American energy jobs while keeping prices at the pump relatively flat. According to EIA, we now export over 250,000 barrels of oils a day to countries other than Canada — an all time high. While at the same time gasoline prices in August of 2016 are about where they were at the end of 2015 — good news for both producers and consumers. The American energy world has come a long way since the uncertain days of gasoline lines and OPEC world dominance. We used to fret about running out of oil and natural gas. Now the bigger questions are how to transport, store, and best use our abundant resources. Free markets, technological advancement, and smarter congressional actions powered this transformation — not Middle Eastern cartels or centralized government planning. Those are the key principles embodied in House Republicans “Better Way” agenda for the economy. It’s regulatory reform that has already brought about welcome change and benefits for consumers, jobs, and our energy sector. And we can continue this good news if we stay on the right path. That’s a story worth repeating. Read the column online HERE. Read More

Examining Legislation to Improve Public Health

2016/09/08

[[{"fid":"1491","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Examining Legislation to Improve Public Health","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Read More

Meeting of Senate and House Conferees on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016

2016/09/08

[[{"fid":"1492","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Senate Bicameral Energy Bill Conference","height":"380","width":"640","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Read More

Upton Delivers Remarks as House-Senate Energy Conference Officially Kicks Off

2016/09/08

WASHINGTON, DC –Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) delivered the following remarks at today’s meeting of the Senate and House Conferees on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. Included in the House amendment to S. 2012 were several committee provisions that have already passed the House, including H.R. 8, the North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act. H.R. 8 originated out of the committee and is a comprehensive energy bill aimed at modernizing our energy laws for the 21st century. More information on committee provisions within S.2012 can be found online HERE. For a list of all Energy and Commerce Committee members on the Conference Committee, click HERE. [[{"fid":"1494","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"258","width":"333","class":"media-element file-full"}}]] (Remarks as prepared for delivery) Today marks an important milestone in the ongoing effort to advance a comprehensive energy package that says yes to energy and yes to jobs. I would like to thank all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol for their hard work that has laid the groundwork. We are moving in the right direction for sure. Fortunately, this energy bill conference is unlike previous ones - we are not here trying to address concerns about energy scarcity, high prices, and dependence on imports. Thanks to private sector innovations leading to increased domestic oil and gas output, the script has been flipped, and Congress can now approach energy issues from a position of strength.  But that is not to say that there aren’t problems that need to be addressed. We need to update existing federal energy programs that reflect the state of energy markets and technology today. Many policies based on energy scarcity are simply no longer appropriate, and efforts to expand the nation’s energy infrastructure have run up against old permitting regimes that are not up to the task.  This Congress, we’ve seen one such successful energy policy update in lifting the 40-year-old ban on oil exports. Provisions ending the obsolete ban on exports of American oil were originally part of the House energy bill, but were signed into law separately late last year. And now we’re beginning to see the benefits of those exports through the creation of  jobs, improvement in our balance of trade, and competition with Russia and Iran and others who used to dominate oil markets. We can extend that success to LNG exports in this energy bill by including provisions streamlining the approval of natural gas export facilities. But energy exports are only one facet of our national energy policy that needs to be brought into the 21st century. We must ensure that any package recognizes the need for responsible development of needed infrastructure and contains permit reforms that will bring accountability to the federal and state decision makers who are tasked with approving new and modified projects. We also need to balance new efficiency provisions with the market’s ability to meet consumer demands for more efficient and affordable products.   Some folks said we’d never make it to sitting around the table together, yet here we are. Let’s continue the momentum. ###  Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth and #SubOversight to Hold Joint Hearing on Obamacare NEXT WEEK

2016/09/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joseph Pitts (R-PA), and the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), have announced a joint hearing for Wednesday, September 14, 2016, at 10 a.m. in room HVC-210 of the Capitol Visitor Center. The hearing is entitled, “The Affordable Care Act on Shaky Ground: Outlook and Oversight.” Six years after the president signed Obamacare and three years since the law was enacted, patients sadly continue to experience fewer plan choices and face higher premium costs. On the eve of the fourth open enrollment period, the subcommittees will review the work of the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office and HHS Office of the Inspector General in overseeing the law, as well as investigations conducted by the committee. The subcommittees will also discuss Republican solutions outlined in previous hearings, as well as House Republicans’ governing initiative, A Better Way. “Six years into this law, we still have basic questions about the stability of these health care exchanges,” said Chairman Pitts. “Next week’s hearing will serve as a check up on the various ways this misguided law has fallen short. In it, we will explore how we can help patients get – and keep – the health care they want and deserve.” “With every passing year, there is more and more concern about the stability of these exchanges,” said Chairman Murphy. “When it comes to health care nowadays, American families continue to face higher costs, yet have fewer choices. They deserve better. I look forward to next week’s hearing to highlight our concerns regarding the stability of the exchanges and ensure that the Administration accounts for misspent taxpayer dollars.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

Moon Shot = #CuresNow

2016/09/07

Earlier today, the Cancer Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel presented 10 recommendations for accelerating cancer research to the President’s National Cancer Advisory Board, at the request of Vice President Joe Biden. We’ve said time and time again that the overwhelmingly bipartisan H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, would enact all of the goals of the administration's moon shot initiative. Take a look for yourself: Network for Direct Patient Engagement – Enters cancer patients into a national network that will help them pre-register for clinical trials, making it easier to find one, for which they are eligible. 21st Century Cures WILL remove barriers to increase research collaboration and modernize clinical trials, allowing greater use of patient generated registries to speed the recruitment of participants. Cancer Immunotherapy Clinical Trials Network – Establish clinical trial networks specifically for immunotherapies for both pediatric and adult cancers. 21st Century Cures WILL make it easier to deploy the most modern data and tools, and design more targeted clinical trials to producer faster and cheaper results. Therapeutic Target Identification to Overcome Drug Resistance – Establish multidisciplinary research teams to better understand various drug resistance, how it develops, and ways to prevent tumors from becoming resistant to treatments. 21st Century Cures WILL emphasize personalized medicine, a critical component in learning more about drug resistance and why a patient’s body resists various types of treatment. National Center Data Ecosystem for Sharing and Analysis – Link the nation’s largest data centers to one central hub, granting free access to researchers, doctors, and patients. 21st Century Cures WILL break down barriers so that sharing and analyzing health data from research and clinical settings is more accessible. Fusion Oncoproteins in Childhood Cancers – Boost research in cell biology, genomics, proteomics, and drug development to learn more about new therapies to target the rogue proteins behind many of today’s childhood cancers. 21st Century Cures WILL create a new coordinating mechanism to accelerate the connections between scientific discovery, drug and device development, and how these therapies are approved and made available to patients. Symptom Management Research – Establish guidelines for managing patient-reported symptoms and side effects of treatments, to help patients continue on their drug regimens. 21st Century Cures WILL enable patients to play a more meaningful role in regulatory decision-making, including through patient-reported outcomes. Prevention and Early Detection: Implementation of Evidence-Based Approaches – Increase research on preventing cancer, seeking new ways to share these new strategies in medically underserved populations. 21st Century Cures WILL create new economic incentives for the development of therapies for serious and life-threatening conditions. New incentives mean more, faster cures. Retrospective Analysis of Biospecimens from Patients Treated with Standard of Care – Review tumor tissue from patients for potential new discoveries. 21st Century Cures WILL accelerate the critical cycle of discovering, developing, and delivering cures. When we increase and encourage research, we are able to discover and develop more cures. Generation of Human Tumor Atlases – The creation of a web-based catalog chronicling genetic lesions and patient treatment decisions. Researchers could then develop models to predict progression, better equipping doctors to make treatment decisions for their patients. 21st Century Cures WILL make it easier for researchers to perform cutting-edge research. Development of New Enabling Cancer Technologies – Encouraging great public-private sector collaboration to find and implement new tools and technologies to bring new therapies to patients. 21st Century Cures WILL break down today’s barriers so more information can be shared – leading to faster cures and therapies. Click HERE to learn more about the 21st Century Cures Act. ### Read More

#SubEnergyPower Examines Historical Perspectives of the Federal Power Act

2016/09/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Power Subcommittee, chaired by Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), today held a hearing examining the historical perspectives of the Federal Power Act. The hearing builds on a June committee letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Norman Bay requesting information on the current and future state of electricity markets. Members today examined FERC’s deregulation of electricity in the 1980s and 1990s and how the changes of the past have shaped wholesale electricity markets today. “We won’t solve the serious problems facing markets overnight. We won’t sort out the difference between the real problems and empty allegations today either. Rather, this hearing will set the stage for our work on all these topics,” said Vice Chairman Olson. “This could be a great opportunity for this committee. We can bring new-and much-needed- focus to today’s power markets.”  [[{"fid":"1487","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"180","width":"261","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Watch Rep. Shimkus’ comments HERE. Environment and the Economy Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) stated his enthusiasm for the panel of witnesses, stating, “I’m really enjoying this panel. This is a great topic cause there’s issues in evolution and processes. … We’ve been burnt too much by vagueness of law and there’s really a desire by many of us to be more specific because in other agencies we feel they’ve overstepped.” [[{"fid":"1489","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"height":"228","width":"342","class":"media-element file-full"},"link_text":null}]] Witnesses testify during today’s hearing In his testimony, Doug Smith, Partner at Van Ness Feldman LLP, stated, “Although Part II of the Federal Power Act has been amended over the years since its enactment in 1935, its core provisions on FERC jurisdiction and its core standards for reviewing rates, terms and conditions of transmission service and wholesale sales have remained largely the same. The Commission has deployed these flexible authorities, with targeted statutory amendments by Congress, to adjust the Federal regulatory approach in the face of changes in the power sector’s organization and changes in technology.” Former Deputy Secretary of the Department of Energy Linda Stuntz noted in her testimony that a review of the Federal Power Act may be necessary as market changes occur, stating, “As our economy becomes more electrified, and ever more dependent on reliable and affordable electricity, and as the demand increases for ever cleaner sources of electricity, consideration of whether the policies and lines of jurisdiction embodied in the Federal Power Act remain appropriate is wise and necessary.” Former General Counsel at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Susan Tomasky added, “Although the industry has changed considerably in the last twenty years, we find ourselves in some regions with good systems for operating short term markets. … Other regions continue to operate within the state-based regulatory constructs that are largely unchanged from twenty years ago. … Between these two sets of challenges there are many committed, creative individuals, Federal and state regulators, entrepreneurs and market participants who are fully capable of shaping an excellent future for this industry, if a framework for decision-making around these broader issues can be agreed upon.” Clifford M. Naeve, Former Commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission discussed FERC’s changing role, “In the course of transforming wholesale energy markets FERC also has transformed itself. FERC has moved from being an agency primarily focused on regulating rates and services, supported by an army of accountants and engineers, to an agency intent on protecting competition, so that wholesale market prices accurately reflect the balance between supply and demand.” Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, “Today’s hearing laid the foundation for a new effort to take a more comprehensive look at recent developments in the way we generate, transmit, and consume electricity in the United States, and how that system had evolved under the Federal Power Act. Modern electricity markets are unprecedented in scope and scale, allowing us to send electrical energy across the nation both quickly and efficiently. Today, power generated by windmills in Kanas will energize lights and toasters from Georgia to Michigan. Both the committee and FERC have the important responsibility of ensuring that electricity markets function in a reliable and efficient manner.” For more on today’s hearing including witness testimony, and archived webcast, and background memo, click HERE. ###    Read More

DISRUPTER SERIES: #SubCMT to Examine Advanced Robotics NEXT WEEK

2016/09/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday, September 14, at 10:30 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled “Disrupter Series: Advanced Robotics.” The Disrupter Series continues next week with an examination of advanced robotics, exploring the way this field is modernizing our economy, improving safety and efficiency, and boosting trade and commerce. The modern workplace has transformed as advanced robotic technology evolves. For example, voice command and facial recognition technology has enabled devices to perform everyday tasks – such as adding meetings to calendars or sending texts to family – to completing more advanced assignments like performing medical procedures on injured veterans. “Advanced robotic technology has been a game-changer for the U.S. economy. The integration of these technologies into the economy – whether on the farm, in a factory, or in the board room, has reduced costs while increasing possibilities and safety for businesses and consumers,” said Chairman Burgess. “Advanced robotic automation has disrupted the American marketplace and reshaped our economy by simplifying basic daily conveniences to executing complex military missions. I look forward to next week’s hearing and learning from panelists how these technologies will benefit our economy and what consumer protections should be considered moving forward.” “We’ve come a long way since Mr. Roboto topped the charts,” added full committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “Without question, advanced robotics is disrupting the global economy as we know it. Automation technology has ushered in a new era of possibilities previously considered science fiction until a few years ago. It’s also providing students in Southwest Michigan and across the country the opportunity to participate in robotics programs that teach the value of science, engineering, teamwork, and technology in a fun environment. Next week will provide a great opportunity to explore ways that advanced robotics can create new opportunities for business and commerce while also improving the quality of life for Americans with disabilities and chronic illness.”  Throughout the last year, the subcommittee’s Disrupter Series has provided an opportunity for the committee to better understand how federal policies both help and hinder economic growth of emerging technologies. The series has helped shaped the drafting of thoughtful, targeted legislation to ensure our policies are modernized for the 21st century and put innovation first. Next week’s hearing builds upon previous discussions of mobile health care apps, the Internet of Things, sharing economy, drones, mobile payments, 3D printing, and digital currency. The Majority Memorandum, a witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted.    Read More

Administration Drags Feet on Off-Label Changes

2016/09/07

At the end of August, the FDA announced plans to hold a public hearing in November regarding off-label communications. The agency’s willingness to publicly discuss these issues is a welcome yet long overdue development, and the recent string of FDA losses in the courts should expedite – not further delay – clarifying the rules of the road. “This announcement comes in the wake of increased pressure from lawmakers, public interest groups, and regulated industry for FDA to issue guidance or propose regulatory changes to address recent litigation clarifying commercial speech protections for pharmaceutical and medical devices manufacturers under the First Amendment,” wrote The National Law Review. The House Energy and Commerce Committee has led the charge for certainty by proposing statutory clarifications last year and writing to HHS on the issue at the end of May 2016, after FDA lost several high-profile legal battles. Committee leaders declared a willingness to work together with the agency in finding responsible, Constitutionally-sound solutions and hopefully avoid continued litigation. “The committee is open to considering alternative approaches to address such an important issue. However, Congress needs a willing partner that will engage seriously in modernizing law to reflect the intersection of off-label use and 21st century medicine,” wrote Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Joseph Pitts (R-PA). Unfortunately, the reply received by Chairman Pitts over three months later was not serious. This administration has claimed to be “engaging in a comprehensive review of its regulatory framework” and working on draft guidance documents since at least 2014. So why hold a public hearing? The National Law Review suggests FDA is continuing to kick the can down the road, writing, “While FDA’s notice and request for comments is a step in the right direction, it likely signals a further delay in the issuance of guidance that is needed to bring greater clarity to the currently unsettled regulatory framework for FDA’s oversight of manufacturers’ off-label communications, and a punting of these important decisions to the next administration.” Let’s end the continued delays and pursue thoughtful, Constitutionally-sound solutions that will provide certainty for the future. ### Read More

Federal Power Act: Historical Perspectives

2016/09/07

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Letter to HHS Regarding Implementation of MACRA

2016/09/06

Excerpt: “The Congressional intent for MACRA was twofold: to consolidate, streamline and ease the burden of the various quality reporting programs for physicians and practitioners and to incentivize quality, value-based care through aligned payment bonuses and reductions for physicians and practitioners. With these principles, we urge the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to ensure that all physicians and practitioners have an equal opportunity to succeed under the Quality Payment Program.” To read a copy of the letter, click here. Read More

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Membership

Joe Barton

TEXAS' 6th DISTRICT

Gus Bilirakis

FLORIDA's 12th DISTRICT

Marsha Blackburn

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Susan Brooks

INDIANA's 5th DISTRICT

Larry Bucshon

INDIANA's 8th DISTRICT

Michael Burgess

TEXAS' 26th DISTRICT

Chris Collins

NEW YORK's 27th DISTRICT

Kevin Cramer

NORTH DAKOTA

Renee Ellmers

NORTH CAROLINA's 2nd DISTRICT

Bill Flores

TEXAS' 17th DISTRICT

Morgan Griffith

VIRGINIA's 9th DISTRICT

Brett Guthrie

KENTUCKY's 2nd DISTRICT

Gregg Harper

MISSISSIPPI's 3rd DISTRICT

Richard Hudson

NORTH CAROLINA's 8th DISTRICT

Bill Johnson

OHIO's 6th DISTRICT

Adam Kinzinger

ILLINOIS' 16th DISTRICT

Leonard Lance

NEW JERSEY's 7th DISTRICT

Bob Latta

OHIO's 5th DISTRICT

Billy Long

MISSOURI's 7th DISTRICT

David McKinley

WEST VIRGINIA's 1st DISTRICT

Cathy McMorris Rodgers

WASHINGTON's 5th DISTRICT

Markwayne Mullin

OKLAHOMA's 2nd DISTRICT

Tim Murphy

PENNSYLVANIA's 18th DISTRICT

Pete Olson

TEXAS' 22nd DISTRICT

Joe Pitts

PENNSYLVANIA's 16th DISTRICT

Mike Pompeo

KANSAS' 4th DISTRICT

Steve Scalise

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John Shimkus

ILLINOIS' 15th DISTRICT

Fred Upton

MICHIGAN's 6th DISTRICT

Greg Walden

OREGON's 2nd DISTRICT

Ed Whitfield

KENTUCKY's 1st DISTRICT

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