Energy and Commerce

Committee on Energy and Commerce

Greg Walden

Self-Driving Vehicle Legislation

2017/06/27


Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs

2017/06/23

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

2017/06/22

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

2017/06/21

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

Defining and Mapping Broadband Coverage in America

2017/06/21

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

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

2017/06/21

[[{"fid":"2901","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"12":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"12"}}]] View full size HERE. WASHINGTON, DC – There’s no better way to see the country than by taking a road trip, right? This summer, you’ll want to head out to the counties in rural America that are poised to have zero Obamacare insurers next year. More than 40 counties are set to have no insurers available on their Obamacare exchange. And as many as 1,200 counties – 40 percent of counties nationwide – could have only one insurer in a state’s marketplace next year. This is a real problem, affecting real people, in real communities. And there are some important stories to be heard out on the road. So, if you’re getting outside of the beltway bubble to visit Washington state, Missouri, or Ohio this summer, be sure to check out some top roadside attractions in these ‘barren’ counties. Unfortunately, in these counties there are the same number of Acela stops as there are insurers: zero. [[{"fid":"2860","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Oldest Concrete Street in America Bellefontaine, OH (Logan County) Photo courtesy of RoadsideAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2861","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] The Paul A. Johnson Pencil Sharpener Museum Logan, OH (Hocking County) Photo courtesy of TourismOhio [[{"fid":"2862","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] First Oil Well in North America Caldwell, OH (Noble County) Photo courtesy of RoadsideAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2863","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"5"}}]] Ice Cream Cone Building (Kris and Kate’s Ice Cream) St. Joseph, MO (Buchanan County) Photo courtesy of Pinterest [[{"fid":"2864","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"6"}}]] Home of Sliced Bread Chillicothe, MO (Livingston County) Photo courtesy of SillyAmerica.com [[{"fid":"2865","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"7"}}]] "Big Mouth," World’s Largest Coal Shovel Rich Hill, MO (Bates County) Photo courtesy of Flickr [[{"fid":"2866","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"8"}}]] Almost Bavarian Town White Salmon, WA (Klickitat County) Photo courtesy of RoadsideAmerica.com ### Read More

THURSDAY: #SubEnergy to Consider Five Bills to Modernize Nation’s Energy Infrastructure & Promote Energy Security

2017/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today announced a markup for Thursday, June 22, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. #SubEnergy has been hard at work this Congress examining opportunities to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure. In February, the subcommittee held a hearing examining the country’s evolving energy infrastructure and barriers to innovation, modernization, and further job creation and economic growth. In March, the subcommittee examined ways to promote new infrastructure by improving the process to review and license hydropower projects. Building on these previous hearings, the subcommittee held a legislative hearing on several bills related to pipeline and hydropower infrastructure modernization in May. The legislation to be considered at Thursday’s markup was informed through the committee’s previous hearings. The subcommittee will consider the following bills: H.R. ____, Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017, would; Modernize federal policies by designating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for licensing hydropower projects. The legislation would promote affordable, reliable, and renewable hydropower energy. H.R.____, Enhancing State Energy Security Planning and Emergency Preparedness Act, would; Enhance the energy emergency planning requirements of the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to strengthen the capability of states to secure the energy infrastructure of the United States against physical and cybersecurity threats; and mitigate the risk of energy supply disruptions. H.R. 2786, to amend the Federal Power Act with respect to the criteria and process to qualify a qualifying conduit hydropower facility, authored by committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would; Promote the development of small conduit hydropower facilities, an emerging new source of renewable energy that can be added to existing infrastructure. H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, authored by Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), would; Establish a predictable and transparent process to permit the construction of cross-border pipelines and electric transmission facilities. H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act, authored by committee member Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), would; Promote better coordination among FERC and other agencies involved in siting interstate natural gas pipelines. H.R. 2910 also increases transparency and accountability by requiring more information be disclosed to the public. “Hydropower is responsible for providing almost 7 percent of the nation’s total energy needs and is one of the cleanest forms of energy. The regulatory environment for hydropower has become increasingly complex and mired in bureaucratic red tape and unfortunately the same can be said as it relates to the permitting process for natural gas pipelines and cross-border energy infrastructure,” said Chairman Upton. “Thursday’s markup is the next step in our work to modernize the nation’s energy infrastructure, increase access to affordable and reliable energy, create jobs, and lower prices for consumers.” Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted. ###  Read More

#SubDCCP to Discuss 14 Self-Driving Bills NEXT WEEK

2017/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, June 27, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Hearing on Self-Driving Vehicle Legislation.” In 2015, there were 35,092 traffic fatalities and approximately 2.44 million people injured on U.S. roadways. Early estimates lead us to believe that traffic fatalities in 2016 have increased by 6 percent to 40,200. If these estimates hold true, it will be the first time in almost a decade that more than 40,000 people have died in traffic accidents in a single year. There is more of a need than ever before to explore the safety potential of this technology as it can considerably decrease traffic-related fatalities, increase accessibility for those living in rural communities, and improve mobility. Next week’s hearing is an important step, as federal leadership on self-driving car safety will prevent a patchwork of state regulations and ensure that safe cars can continue to drive across the country without having to stop at the state line. Discussion Draft, “LEAD’R Act” - Establish federal and state roles in which the federal government is responsible for oversight of the design, construction, mechanical systems, software systems, or communications systems of highly automated vehicles and highly automated vehicle equipment. States or political subdivisions continue to regulate registration, licensing, [liability], driving education and training, insurance, or traffic laws. Discussion Draft, “PAVE Act” - Expands the number of vehicles the Secretary of Transportation is permitted to exempt from a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) from 2,500 to 100,000. Discussion Draft, “ROAD Act” - Expands the number of years that a manufacturer can maintain a FMVSS exemption (and request a renewal for an exemption) from 2 years to 5 years. Discussion Draft, “EXEMPT Act” - Authorizes vehicle manufacturers to obtain a FMVSS exemption in order to promote the public adoption and acceptance or facilitate meaningful commercial deployment of a new vehicle technology, and to promote transportation access for the disability community, that would provide an overall safety level at least equal to the overall safety level of nonexempt vehicles. Discussion Draft, “MORE Act” - Extends the authority created in the FAST Act to test vehicles not in compliance with FMVSS to equipment manufacturers, suppliers, universities, and new market entrants. Discussion Draft, “INFORM Act” - Directs the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to notify the appropriate state authority when a highly automated vehicle is exempted from FMVSS. Discussion Draft, “Disability Mobility Advisory Council Act” - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal Advisory Committee to undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary regarding advancing mobility access for the disabled community with respect to the deployment of highly automated vehicles. Discussion Draft, “Improving Mobility Access for Underserved Populations and Senior Advisory Council Act” - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal Advisory Committee to undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary on how to advance mobility access for seniors and populations underserved by traditional public transportation services with respect to the testing and deployment of highly automated vehicles. Discussion Draft, “Automated Driving System Cybersecurity Advisory Council Act” - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal Advisory Committee to undertake information gathering activities, develop technical advice, and present recommendations to the Secretary regarding cybersecurity for the testing, deployment, and updating of automated driving systems with respect to supply chain risk management, interactions with ISACs and ISAOs, and a framework for identifying and implementing recalls. Discussion Draft, “SHARES Act” - Directs the Secretary of Transportation to establish a Federal Advisory Committee within the NHTSA to develop a framework that allows for the sharing of relevant, situational information among highly automated vehicle manufacturers in a manner that does not risk the public dissemination or sharing of confidential business information. Discussion Draft, “HAV Prompt Act” - Establishes that the Secretary may not institute a pre-market approval or pre-certification process for highly automated vehicles. Discussion Draft, “GUARD Act” - Requires that certain information submitted to NHTSA by highly automated vehicle manufacturers or highly automated vehicle equipment manufacturers be treated as confidential business information. Discussion Draft, “MEMO Act” - Directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and NHTSA to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) regarding the agencies' oversight of highly automated vehicle privacy and cybersecurity. Discussion Draft, “DECAL Act” - Directs manufacturers to include a description of the level of driving automation for any highly automated vehicle on the Monroney label. “These discussion drafts are a significant step towards introduction of meaningful legislation that will ensure consumer safety and provide clarity for federal and state governments on their role in regulating self-driving vehicles,” said Chairman Latta. “Overtime, this technology has demonstrated its potential to transform the transportation industry and save thousands of lives, and this hearing provides an opportunity to start this critically important discussion here in the House. Next week, members will explore how this legislation can increase safety, improve access and mobility, and grow our understanding of self-driving cars.” Legislative text will be made available HERE. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available HERE as they are posted. Read More

Walden and Murphy Comment on Overdue Release of HHS’ Pandemic Influenza Plan

2017/06/20

WASHINGTON, DC – Following a letter from Energy and Commerce Committee leaders, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Pandemic Influenza Plan on Friday. The plan was scheduled to be released in late 2016. The April letter requesting information about the status of the plan was signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA). HHS’ Pandemic Influenza Plan identified seven areas of focus for 2017-2027: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Activities Community Mitigation Measures Medical Countermeasures: Diagnostic Devices, Vaccines, Therapeutics, and Respiratory Devices Health Care System Preparedness and Response Activities Communications and Public Outreach Scientific Infrastructure and Preparedness Domestic and International Response Policy, Incident Management, and Global Partnerships and Capacity Building The plan recognizes that while the update primarily addresses pandemic influenza, “the continually changing nature of influenza viruses that can lead to mismatches between vaccine strains and circulating viruses, as seen during the 2014-2015 influenza season, remind us that pandemic and seasonal influenza planning and improvement are interdependent.” The seasonal flu vaccine mismatch was a subject of two #SubOversight hearings in 2015 (February 2015 and November 2015), and this update is an acknowledgement of the committee’s findings at those hearings that we must elevate seasonal flu preparedness with pandemic flu preparedness. Chairmen Walden and Murphy commented on the release of the plan, citing additional threats abroad, saying, “The H7N9 avian flu virus that first appeared in China has grown, causing concern for a possible pandemic. Paired with a recent GAO report that said USDA needs to take additional action to reduce the risks of an avian flu outbreak, this plan is long overdue and essential in assessing our preparedness efforts.” ### Read More

RESCHEDULED: #SubHealth Hearing to Examine Funding for Safety Net Health Programs

2017/06/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced it has rescheduled its hearing titled, “Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs.” The hearing will now take place on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 9 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

DIGITAL RECAP

2017/06/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee started the week strong, clearing 10 committee bills through the House that will boost our nation’s energy infrastructure and improve energy efficiency. On Tuesday, #SubDCCP hosted a bipartisan #IoTShowcase with 21 businesses from across the country and later that morning, held a hearing to continue exploring how this innovation is changing the landscape for consumers and businesses. In the remainder of the week, #SubCommTech members examined cybersecurity risks to wireless technology, and the committee held a #SubEnvironment markup where members advanced three bills aiming to modernize the nation’s environmental laws. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"2883","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] On Tuesday, #SubCommTech kicked off the week with a hearing examining cybersecurity risks to wireless networks and mobile devices.    [[{"fid":"2884","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] During Tuesday’s #IoTShowcase, #SubDCCP Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) stops to discuss how IoT is being used by businesses to create, innovate and connect. [[{"fid":"2885","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) strolls through the #IoTShowcase to speak with business participants about how their technology is revolutionizing industries. [[{"fid":"2886","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) visits with representatives from Integra Devices – a business from her district that is transforming manufacturing technology. [[{"fid":"2887","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Full Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) learning about the benefits – including greater efficiency and convenience – that consumers can now experience because of internet-connected devices.   [[{"fid":"2888","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] Following the #IoTShowcase, representatives from six businesses served as witnesses to discuss the opportunities and challenges of IoT.   [[{"fid":"2891","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"9"}}]] Didn’t have time to swing by our #IoTShowcase? Check out this 2-minute recap video.   [[{"fid":"2889","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]] Thursday morning, #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) led a markup to advance three bills to the full committee that will modernize the nation’s environment laws and energy infrastructure. [[{"fid":"2890","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"8"}}]] We continue to hold E&C Member Steve Scalise in our thoughts and prayers. #TeamScalise #CongressionalBaseballGame   Read More

House Continues to Deliver on Reforms to Rebuild Broken Health Care System

2017/06/15

WASHINGTON, DC – The ill effects of Obamacare have left state marketplaces in disarray. While work continues to repeal the so-called ‘Affordable Care Act,’ House Republicans have been working to deliver reforms that will rebuild our health care system. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) is the first step in that effort. But make no mistake, it’s just the beginning. In addition to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with patient-focused reforms, there are a number of actions the administration can – and has – taken to stabilize the market, and Congress can pass meaningful legislation. Just this week, the House passed three bills that are a win for patients and our health care reform efforts. Here’s a look at these important bills, including two others that passed the House earlier this year. H.R. 2579, the Broader Options for Americans Act (BOAA), authored by Rep. Pat Tiberi (R-OH), will ensure that patients who recently lost their job have access to health care plans under the AHCA and its monthly tax credits. H.R. 2579 passed the House on June 15, 2017, by a vote of 267-144.   H.R. 2372, the VETERAN Act, authored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), will codify a regulation to better ensure America’s veterans have access to health care plans, and receiving the subsidies and tax credits they need. H.R. 2372 passed the House on June 15, 2017, by unanimously by voice vote.   H.R. 2581, the Verify First Act, authored by Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), will require a person’s eligibility for a tax credit be determined in advance of purchasing a health care plan. This serves as an important check to ensure tax credits are available to those who need them. H.R. 2581 passed the House on June 13, 2017, by a vote of 238-184.   H.R. 1101, the Small Business Health Fairness Act, authored by Rep. Sam Johnson (R-TX), will allow small businesses to come together, across state lines and negotiate a group health plan with insurance providers. H.R. 1101 passed the House on March 22, 2017, by a vote of 236-175.   H.R. 372, the Competitive Health Insurance Reform Act, authored by Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), will reform the McCarran-Ferguson Act to protect consumers from consolidation, which has increased under Obamacare, in the health care marketplace. This reform will boost competition in the marketplace. H.R. 372 passed the House on March 22, 2017, by a vote of 416-7. ### Read More

VIDEO RECAP: IoT Showcase

2017/06/15

[[{"fid":"2881","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click here or on the image above to watch the #IoTShowcase Recap. WASHINGTON, DC – Members of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), hosted a bipartisan Internet of Things (IoT) Showcase on Tuesday that featured 21 participants from across the country. Check out this video recap of companies displaying their products and services and discussing how this cutting-edge technology is transforming life for consumers and businesses. Click here to see photos of the IoT Showcase. Click here to read about the IoT hearing held by #SubDCCP on Tuesday. Read More

#SubEnvironment Advances Three Bills to the Full Committee

2017/06/15

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today advanced three bills to the full committee for consideration that modernize the nation’s environmental laws and energy infrastructure.  [[{"fid":"2879","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Chairman Shimkus discusses today’s legislation  #SubEnvironment advanced the following bills to the full committee: “Cleaning up contaminated sites is a priority for the administration and the Brownfields Program is great for the economy because grants can be directly leveraged into jobs, additional redevelopment funds, and increased residential and commercial property values,” said Chairman Shimkus. “This broadly bipartisan bill will further the goal of promoting infrastructure development and will result in direct economic benefits to all of our districts.” H.R.___, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017, unanimously passed the subcommittee by voice vote. Brownfields are often abandoned, closed, or under-utilized former industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory in a town, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry cleaning establishment or gas station. EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S., each of which has the potential for economic development through the Brownfields Program. The discussion draft makes improvements to the Brownfields Program, encourages EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, creates jobs, and provides for economic development. The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the discussion draft in April. Discussing the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act, Chairman Shimkus commented, “Nuclear waste management policy is not a partisan issue and there is an urgent need for Congress to address this challenge as taxpayer liability continues to skyrocket due to the federal government’s obligations. This committee has received testimony from scores of expert witnesses about challenges associated with managing spent nuclear fuel.” H.R.___, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017,  passed the subcommittee by voice vote.   Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste will be fulfilled. This legislation preserves Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal while authorizing interim storage, including private storage initiatives, to provide optionality until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments. The subcommittee held a legislative hearing in April of this year. For a full list of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work on nuclear waste management policy, click HERE. “This bill particularly supports our nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing agenda because it aligns air quality permitting for new sources with the extended ozone implementation schedule,” stated Chairman Shimkus. “This means manufacturing facilities can more quickly proceed to new construction or expansion, which will put economic growth on the fast track.” H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, passed the subcommittee by a vote of 12-8. In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 ozone standard following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. H.R. 806, reintroduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. This legislation will ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while maintaining improvements to air quality.  The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the legislation back in March of this year. [[{"fid":"2880","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Chairman Walden delivers his opening statement Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) concluded, “Today’s markup was an important step in our efforts to modernize our energy infrastructure and update our environmental laws for the 21st century. These bills are thoughtful solutions that will make a difference for consumers and communities across the country. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we fully intend to continue to work on these bills as we move towards a full committee markup.” Electronic copies of the legislation, a background memo, amendment text and votes can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. ###  Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R. 806, H.R. ___, Brownfields Enhancement, Economic Redevelopment, and Reauthorization Act of 2017, and H.R.___, Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017

2017/06/15

[[{"fid":"2858","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

#SubCommTech to Examine Challenges and Opportunities to Achieve Nationwide Broadband Coverage

2017/06/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today announced a hearing for Wednesday, June 21, 2017, at 10 a.m. in 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Defining and Mapping Broadband Coverage in America.” Earlier this year, the committee held a hearing examining barriers to broadband deployment and possible opportunities to improve permitting, siting, and permissions to access rights-of-way when it comes to broadband deployment. Next week #SubCommTech will continue its work and explore the challenges and opportunities involved in reaching nationwide broadband coverage. Members will look at the accuracy of data collection efforts when it comes to reaching unserved or underserved areas, as well as the robustness of available technologies. “As I’ve said before, broadband is a necessity for business in the 21st century. Unfortunately many folks in rural areas of Tennessee and across the country are being left behind due to a lack of broadband access,” said Chairman Blackburn. “It’s imperative that we accurately collect and aggregate data to update the National Broadband Map and next week’s hearing provides us an opportunity to examine that data. Doing this is an important step in ensuring investments are directed to the areas most in need, fostering job creation, and promoting economic growth.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

Statement from E&C Chairman Walden

2017/06/14

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) released the following statement after the attack on members of Congress, staff, and U.S. Capitol Police this morning: "I am horrified by this morning’s evil, cowardly attack and am keeping all those impacted in my prayers. The heroism of the U.S. Capitol Police and first responders undoubtedly saved lives. We are forever grateful for their bravery. “Whip Steve Scalise is a friend, a good man, a valued member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, and a true fighter. We pray for his quick and complete recovery, along with the others who are injured.” The Energy and Commerce Committee has postponed hearings in the Subcommittees on Health and Energy that were originally scheduled for today. ### Read More

States’ Perspectives on Energy Security Planning, Emergency Preparedness, and State Energy Programs

2017/06/14

[[{"fid":"2841","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Today’s #SubHealth and #SubEnergy Hearings Postponed

2017/06/14

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Greg Walden (R-OR), announced that the following committee activity has been postponed for today, Wednesday, June 14: The Health Subcommittee hearing, “Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs.” The Energy Subcommittee hearing, “States’ Perspectives on Energy Security Planning, Emergency Preparedness, and State Energy Programs.” Information about rescheduling the hearings will be posted here as it becomes available. ### Read More

THURSDAY: #SubEnvironment to Markup Three Bills to Modernize Nation’s Environmental Laws and Infrastructure

2017/06/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The Environment Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today announced a markup for Thursday, June 15, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. Building on the committee’s efforts to modernize our energy infrastructure and environmental laws, #SubEnvironment will consider several pieces of legislation including H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, a bill related to the management of our nation’s nuclear waste, and legislation related to Brownfields reauthorization.   The subcommittee will consider the following bills: H.R. 806, Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017 In October of 2015, while states and communities were just beginning to implement the 2008 ozone standard following long-overdue EPA guidance, EPA revised those standards and imposed additional new planning and compliance obligations on states. H.R. 806, reintroduced by #SubEnergy Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX), with Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), and House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA), among others, would provide states the flexibility needed to implement the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone on an efficient and realistic timeline. This legislation will ensure the nation’s infrastructure and manufacturing permitting continue while maintaining improvements to air quality.  The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the legislation back in March of this year. H.R.___, the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2017 Spent nuclear fuel sits idle in 121 communities across 39 states because the country lacks a permanent geologic repository. The Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act provides practical reforms to the nation’s nuclear waste management policy to ensure the federal government’s legal obligations to dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level waste will be fulfilled. This legislation preserves Yucca Mountain as the most expeditious path for spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste disposal while authorizing interim storage, including private storage initiatives, to provide optionality until Yucca Mountain is fully licensed and prepared to receive shipments. The subcommittee held a legislative hearing in April of this year. For a full list of the Energy and Commerce Committee’s work on nuclear waste management policy, click HERE. H.R.___, Brownfields Enhancement Economic Redevelopment and Reauthorization Act of 2017 Brownfields are often abandoned, closed, or under-utilized former industrial or commercial facilities, such as an abandoned factory in a town, a closed commercial building or warehouse, or a former dry cleaning establishment or gas station. EPA estimates that there are more than 450,000 brownfields in the U.S., each of which has the potential for economic development through the Brownfields Program. The discussion draft makes improvements to the Brownfields Program, encourages EPA, states, and local governments to work together to redevelop properties, creates jobs, and provides for economic development. The subcommittee held a legislative hearing on the discussion draft in April. “These bills represent our multi-year, multi-congress efforts to make targeted reforms to our environmental laws while modernizing them for the 21st century,” said Chairman Shimkus. “These bills are the culmination of multiple hearings and reflect much of the feedback we received during those hearings. Though this doesn’t mean our work is done. Thoughtful legislating often takes time and we need get these bills right so consumers and businesses reap the benefits while we remain good stewards of the environment.” Electronic copies of the legislation and a background memo can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. Amendment text and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.   ###  Read More

#SubDCCP Explores How IoT is Creating, Innovating, and Connecting

2017/06/13

[[{"fid":"2856","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a hearing to discuss how businesses are leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to create, innovate, and connect. Following the bipartisan IoT Showcase, witnesses discussed how various industries are capitalizing on network connectivity, what this means for consumers across the country, and challenges hampering advancement and further innovation in this space. “We are seeing IoT revolutionize a variety of industries and optimize everything from manufacturing and home appliances to automobiles and healthcare,” said Chairman Latta in his opening statement. “These connected devices offer consumers and businesses significant benefits. For businesses, IoT is improving efficiency and increasing productivity all while helping drive down overhead costs. For consumers, IoT provides quick responsive services, enhanced experiences and convenience.” [[{"fid":"2857","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Witnesses prepare opening statements ahead of the hearing. One of the biggest elements in the discussion of IoT is the idea of connectivity and the ways this alone is transforming industries. Testifying as to how connectivity positively disrupted the auto industry to save lives and improve consumer experience is Peter B. Kosak, the Executive Director for Urban Active Solutions at General Motors North America. “Twenty years ago, recognizing the value of and potential for embedded connectivity, General Motors pioneered automotive telematics with the founding of OnStar.” He added, “Since introduction in 1996, OnStar has responded to over 1.5 billion customer requests, from automatic crash response and stolen-vehicle recovery, to remote door unlock, vehicle diagnostics and more.” Speaking to the ways that public universities are creating new growth in the IoT realm, was Dr. Mark Bachman, the CTO and Co-Founder of Integra Devices. He offers that universities are able to stimulate growth in the IOT industry through “research, training, public outreach, and investment” as universities have the uncanny ability to “provide common ground for companies, government, and the public to work together on IoT Topics.” He concludes, “IoT is probably the most significant tech market of the 21st century and it is one that the U.S. can lead, if we commit to doing so.” Dr. William S. Marras, the Executive Director and Scientific Director of the Spine Research Institute at The Ohio State University (OSU) highlighted how OSU is “using technology associated with IOT” to prevent workplace injuries and improve patient outcomes. He states, “New developments in mobile computing and wearable technologies will connect our work in the laboratory with clinicians and patients in ways never before possible, while social media and app development make our research applications accessible to the masses where it can help the most people.” Touching on some of the challenges that will be faced by those in this industry was Dr. Gary D. Butler, the Founder, Chairman, and CEO at Camgian Microsystems Corporation. “Looking ahead, fueling this growth will be new innovations in advanced sensor and analytical processing technologies. With billions of industrial sensors deployed today and growing, exploiting the untapped value of the massive data sets generated from these devices will be the next big leap in IoT’s technology.” Suggesting where Congress can make a difference, he continued, “… I would urge members to promote the growth of industrial IoT through expanded federal research funding, adoption within federal agencies and the creation of a friendly regulatory environment.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.     Read More

#SubCommTech Examines Evolving Risks to Wireless Technologies

2017/06/13

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today held a hearing examining cybersecurity risks to wireless technologies with a particular focus on wireless networks and mobile devices. Cyber criminals often utilize a number of strategies to launch attacks on wireless technologies. Often times exploiting vulnerabilities within a network to gain unauthorized access to wireless networks or target mobile devices through malware and phishing attacks. “Mobile connectivity has become essential to our daily lives as a result of advances in technology and consumer demand,” said #SubCommTech Chairman Blackburn. “Increasing reliance on wireless devices and networks has provided more avenues for cyber criminals to compromise our security and harm consumers. Hackers are smart and they are adapting. The sophistication and frequency of cyberattacks against mobile devices continues to escalate and we must meet this challenge head on.”  [[{"fid":"2853","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Mr. Bill Wright, Director of Government Affairs and Senior Policy Counsel at Symantec, discussed how attackers are trending away from utilizing sophisticated attacks and instead focusing on simple, straightforward attacks with great success, commenting, “Yet despite this trend away from sophisticated attacks, the results were extraordinary, including: over 1.1 billion identities exposed; power outages in the Ukraine; over $800 million stolen through Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) scams over just a sixth month period; $81 million stolen in one bank heist alone; a tripling of the average ransomware demand… these shifting tactics demonstrate the resourcefulness of cyber criminals and attackers...”  Ms. Kiersten Todt, Managing Partner of Liberty Group Ventures, LLC, talked of the threats to mobile devices as our lives become more and more interconnected digitally, stating, “Mobile devices have rapidly become ground zero for a wide spectrum of risks that includes malicious targeted attacks to devices and network connections, a range of malware families, non-compliant apps that leak data, and vulnerabilities in device operating systems or apps. … Mobile devices are part of every supply chain – in your home and in your office. We need to treat mobile devices as an endpoint priority equal to, if not more important than, traditional endpoints, such as desktops and laptops.”  In his questioning, Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) asked Amit Yoran, Chairman and CEO of Tenable Network Security, to elaborate on the shortage of skilled labor in the cybersecurity workforce and what could be done to maintain the workforce. Mr. Yoran replied, “There’s two other critical aspects to attracting and retaining cybersecurity talent. One is in providing them intellectually stimulating work. It’s an exciting field and if you don’t give them exciting problems they will go elsewhere. The other is in creating a culture that’s dynamic and enjoyable to be a part of.” Dr. Charles Clancy, Director and Professor of the Hume Center for National Security and Technology at Virginia Tech, spoke of the difficulties of widespread regulation while speaking to the importance of maintaining collaboration, commenting, “Another side effect is that regulatory authority is distributed across the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, and various other sector-specific regulators. Without a single “belly button”, top-down approaches to achieving objective levels of security are infeasible. Consequently it is imperative that we develop mechanisms to foster continued collaboration. In the policy and regulatory arena, the NIST Cybersecuirty Framework and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act are both examples of activities that achieved broad support from both government and industry.” “Cyberspace is the battlefield of the 21st century. We must act now. Hard-working taxpayers are demanding leadership from Washington in the cyber arena and it is our duty to provide it,” concluded Chairman Blackburn. “Whether it is encryption, the use of authentication standards, updating operating systems, or rigorous implementation of anti-virus software – we must have an all of the above approach when it comes to forging defensive strategies that will defeat and deter cyber criminals.” A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE. ###  Read More

Disrupter Series: Update on IOT Opportunities and Challenges

2017/06/13

[[{"fid":"2840","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Promoting Security in Wireless Technology

2017/06/13

[[{"fid":"2839","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

House Clears Ten Energy and Commerce Committee Bills

2017/06/12

WASHINGTON, DC –The House of Representatives today advanced ten Energy and Commerce Committee bills aimed at boosting our nation’s energy infrastructure and improving energy efficiency. House passage of these ten bills comes on the heels of last week’s press conference in which Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) highlighted Congressional productivity this Congress. “As a Congress, we should capitalize on opportunities that would lower costs for ratepayers, reduce emissions, and allow for more domestic energy production. That’s what these bills aim to do and we're thankful they passed with such overwhelming bipartisan support,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI). “This legislation represents common sense solutions to help create jobs, break down barriers to innovation, and improve affordable, reliable electricity for consumers across the country." The House today approved the following #SubEnergy bills: 1) H.R. 338 - To promote a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce Authored by Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL) and committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), H.R. 338 would improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for women, veterans, and minorities. H.R. 338 passed the House by voice vote/XXX-XX. 2) H.R. 446 - To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project Authored by committee member Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), H.R. 446 would extend the license for the Flannagan hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 446 passed the House by voice vote. 3) H.R. 447 - To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project Also authored by Rep. Griffith, H.R. 447 would extend the licenses for the Gathright hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R 447 passed the House by voice vote. 4) H.R. 627 - Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017 Would make it easier for schools to take advantage of federal programs to help them cut down on energy use. H.R. 627 passed the House by voice vote. 5) H.R. 951 - To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project Would extend the license for the W. Kerr Scott hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 951 passed the House by voice vote. 6) H.R. 1109 - To amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act Authored by committee member Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), H.R. 1109 would amend the Federal Power Act to expressly include a minimum monetary threshold of $10,000,000 for mergers and acquisitions of facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). H.R. 1109 passed the House by voice vote. 7) H.R. 2122 - To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving Jennings Randolph Dam Authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV), H.R. 2122 would authorize FERC to extend the time period during which the licensee is required to commence the construction of the Jennings Randolph hydroelectric project. Construction of the project would create jobs and provide affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 2122 passed the House by voice vote. 8) H.R. 2274 – Hydropower Permit Extension (HYpe) Act Authored by committee member Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), H.R. 2274 would allow FERC to extend permits for construction of hydroelectric projects. H.R. 2274 passed the House by voice vote. 9) H.R. 2292 - To extend a project of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving the Cannonsville Dam Would extend the license of the Cannonsville hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 2292 passed the House by a vote of 400-1. 10) H.R. 2457 - J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Hydropower Extension Act of 2017 Would authorize FERC to extend the licenses for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway projects, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 2457 passed the House by a vote of 402-1. This Congress, the committee has been hard at work examining ways to modernize our energy and electricity delivery systems,  expand hydropower generation, and modernize our pipeline and hydropower infrastructure. The committee has also looked at Brownfields reauthorization, modernizing drinking water infrastructure, nuclear waste management, and opportunities to modernize our environmental laws.    ###  Read More

NEW REPORT: Patients Can’t Afford Obamacare, Drop Coverage

2017/06/12

WASHINGTON, DC – This afternoon, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) issued a report on effectuated 2017 Obamacare enrollment. CMS’ report shows that 3.6 million American patients selected a plan on the Obamacare exchange during 2016, but had dropped their coverage by the end of the year. Of those who dropped their plans, 46 percent attributed the decision to cost. Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), summarized the key findings, saying, “Under the failed individual mandate, roughly twice as many Americans have chosen to pay the penalty tax or claim a hardship exemption than those who have enrolled in Obamacare’s exchanges. And today’s report makes clear that higher premiums and fewer options are directly impacting patients’ decisions.” [[{"fid":"2845","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click HERE to view the infographic online. ### Read More

Walden and Burgess Comment on 2017 Obamacare Enrollment

2017/06/12

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today commented on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) announcement regarding the effectuated 2017 Obamacare enrollment. “Time and again, we’ve seen enrollment fall far below the Obama administration’s promises. Under the failed individual mandate, roughly twice as many Americans have chosen to pay the penalty tax or claim a hardship exemption than those who have enrolled in Obamacare’s exchanges. And today’s report makes clear that higher premiums and fewer options are directly impacting patients’ decisions. The truth is that Obamacare is not working. This is why the House passed a bill that would lead to double-digit premium reductions and more plans to choose from. The American Health Care Act (AHCA) proposes meaningful reforms that put patients first, grant states flexibility to do what’s best for their unique populations, and rebuild markets damaged by Obamacare,” said Chairmen Walden and Burgess. ### Read More

DIGITAL RECAP: Week of June 5, 2017

2017/06/09

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee covered a lot of ground this week, prepping for the IOT showcase, testing out self-driving vehicles, passing 15 bills (from #SubEnergy and #SubHealth), and holding hearings examining #FinTech and health care #cybersecurity. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.   [[{"fid":"2829","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairman Latta on IOT Showcase","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairman Latta on IOT Showcase","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Chairman Latta on IOT Showcase","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Watch #SubDCCP Chairman Latta (R-OH) announce the #IOT Showcase. #SubDCCP will explore #IOT the same day as the showcase in a hearing.  [[{"fid":"2830","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairmen Walden and Thune ","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairmen Walden and Thune ","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Chairmen Walden and Thune ","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Tuesday, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) got a firsthand look at Audi’s self-driving car, along with Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Chairman John Thune (R-SD). [[{"fid":"2831","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Experience the future of driving and autonomous vehicles with this video.   [[{"fid":"2832","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Members meet before the markup","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Members meet before the markup","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Members meet before the markup","class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"4"}}]] Committee members meet before the #FullCmte markup of #FDARA, three #PublicHealth bills, and 11 #SubEnergy bills.    [[{"fid":"2833","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"5"}}]] Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) speaks on the RACE for Children Act at Wednesday’s markup. [[{"fid":"2834","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"6"}}]] #SubCommTech Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) leans over to chat with a colleague during the markup. [[{"fid":"2835","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rep. Markwayne Mullin and son","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Rep. Markwayne Mullin and son","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Rep. Markwayne Mullin and son","class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"7"}}]] Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) invited his son to experience the markup firsthand.  [[{"fid":"2836","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"E&C Members on #FDARA","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"E&C Members on #FDARA","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"E&C Members on #FDARA","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"8"}}]] Watch as E&C committee members highlight the ways #FDARA is a win for everyone. [[{"fid":"2837","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"alt":"Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH)","class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"9"}}]] #SubDCCP Chairman Latta reads his opening statement after gaveling in the subcommittee hearing on how #FinTech is changing and improving the lives of consumers.  [[{"fid":"2838","view_mode":"teaser","fields":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"10":{"format":"teaser","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-teaser","data-delta":"10"}}]] Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) and Chairman Walden read over their notes during the #SubOversight hearing on HHS’ role in cybersecurity efforts within the health care sector.  ###   Read More

CANCELLED: Examining H.R. 772, The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017

2017/06/09

[[{"fid":"2815","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

E&C Members Highlight #FDARA and Why it’s a Win for Everyone

2017/06/08

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee members voted yesterday 54-0 to advance H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017. Throughout the committee process to reauthorize FDA’s user fee programs, there’s been tremendous bipartisan support. We asked a few committee members why #FDARA is so important. Tune in below to see what they had to say. [[{"fid":"2828","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] #FDARA is a win for everyone. Click HERE to watch the video. ### Read More

#SubDCCP Discusses How FinTech Improves Consumers’ Financial Options

2017/06/08

[[{"fid":"2826","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a hearing to discuss how the financial services landscape has been disrupted by financial technology, also called “FinTech,” over the last decade and the impact this has had on consumers. By and large, technology available today has significantly changed the way consumers interact, manage, and audit their finances. Today’s hearing was an opportunity to better understand how financial technologies are impacting Americans’ everyday lives and what more can be done within this industry to further improve financial well-being. Chairman Latta kicked off today’s hearing with a discussion on the prevalence of FinTech in Americans’ everyday lives as well as the opportunities, and challenges, that coincide with it. “There are serious opportunities for companies to reach consumers with new products to help them create a rainy-day fund for the first time, pay their mortgage securely, rebuild their credit, budget and manage multiple income streams, and invest their earnings. One of the first questions that comes to mind in any conversation about money is security. Cybersecurity is an ongoing challenge, and one the Energy and Commerce Committee is tackling head on.” One of the major advantages of FinTech is its ability to improve financial literacy in areas of the country that are traditionally excluded or underserved. Speaking to this point, and elaborating on FinTech’s ability to drive economic and social change, was Javier Saade, Managing Director at Fenway Summer Ventures. He adds, “New technologies can also open up more efficient ways to manage money and control spending. We have seen mobile technology and innovations in distribution enable financial service firms to reach communities that were previously unserved because building a traditional brick-and-mortar presence was not economical.” Supplementing this same point, was Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), who relayed, “In Oregon, the percentage of people unbanked or underbanked is slightly higher than the national average. So, if there is an opportunity to help folks engage in commerce, start a savings account, and become more financially secure, we should be giving it serious consideration. FinTech could provide that opportunity.” [[{"fid":"2827","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Witnesses listen as Chairman Latta gavels in the hearing. Another discussion present throughout today’s hearing was in regard to the challenges faced by those within the industry. One of which is the barrier to entry for someone looking to capitalize on FinTech in order to create new opportunities. Peter Van Valkenburgh, Research Director at the Coin Center, elaborated on this, stating, “ [t]he state-by-state approach to money transmission licensing…jeopardizes not only permissionless innovation but also responsible innovation.” Providing an example, he relayed, “A young innovator dreaming of building the financial infrastructure of the future would be well-advised to leave the U.S. Not because she should try and avoid justifiable consumer protections, or do it on the cheap in a foreign state that will look the other way, but—instead—because simply determining what the U.S. regulatory landscape demands from her is a herculean undertaking.” Jeanne Hogarth, Vice President at Center for Financial Services Innovation noted some of the challenges because of how rapidly the FinTech industry evolves. “The rate of change in both technology and the services and products these technologies enable make “bright line” legislating and rulemaking an anachronism. Consumer protection is still very much needed, but policy makers need to identify the right tools to reshape the regulation of financial services to fit the innovations in the 21st century…” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.   ###  Read More

#SubOversight Examines Federal Health Care Cybersecurity Efforts in Wake of ‘WannaCry’

2017/06/08

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing examining the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) role in cybersecurity efforts within the health care sector. Discussed during the hearing were two reports that HHS was required to submit to Congress, following the implementation of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which became law in 2015. The reports outline the department’s internal cybersecurity processes and industry recommendations for what the federal government and industry can do to improve cybersecurity efforts in the health care sector. #SubOversight Chairman Murphy kicked off the hearing by referencing the recent ‘WannaCry’ infection that crippled thousands of computers in hundreds of countries. “The WannaCry infection was not the first widespread cyber incident, nor will it be the last,” said Chairman Murphy. “Therefore, a commitment to raising the bar, for all participants in the sector – no matter how large or small, needs to embraced. This is a collective responsibility and HHS has an opportunity to show leadership and to set the tone.” Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) stated, “As the opportunities for attackers proliferate, the potential consequences of their actions are becoming more severe. As more products, services, and industries become connected to the digital world, we must acknowledge that the threat is no longer just data and information – it is public health and safety.” In HHS’ written testimony, the agency addressed the recent release of the Health Care Industry Cybersecurity Task Force report, and highlighted six goals from the 21-person group, 17 of which are from private sector organizations. According to HHS’ testimony, those goals are to: define and streamline leadership and expectations, increase security of medical devices and health IT, develop a workforce capacity necessary to ensure awareness, increase education, identify ways to protect R&D efforts and intellectual property, and improve information sharing of threats. For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

Examining the Role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Health Care Cybersecurity

2017/06/08

[[{"fid":"2814","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Disrupter Series: Improving Consumer’s Financial Options With FinTech

2017/06/08

[[{"fid":"2813","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Extending Funding for Health Programs Strengthening the Safety Net

2017/06/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining the Extension of Safety Net Health Programs.” #SubHealth will examine the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), for which federal funding expires on September 30, 2017. The program, which turns 20 years old this year, is jointly financed by the federal government and the states. The subcommittee will also examine Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) and the Community Health Center Fund (CHCF), which supports grants to outpatient health care facilities – the nation’s largest source of comprehensive primary care for medically underserved populations. “CHIP is an important program with bipartisan support that helps ensure low- and middle-income children receive health coverage. This hearing comes at a time when we need to make some key decisions about the program, like how long to extend its federal funding and at what federal match rate,” said Chairman Burgess. “It is also critical we examine funding for these community health centers, which include comprehensive medical, dental, mental health, and reproductive care, and other primary care services for medically underserved populations." The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

ICYMI: Chairmen Walden and Thune Talk Potential of #SelfDriving Cars

2017/06/07

[[{"fid":"2818","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click here or on the image above to watch the video. WASHINGTON, DC – The Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee has been breaking new ground here in the House with its focus on self-driving cars. Throughout the year, the subcommittee has held hearings on the enormous safety potential of self-driving cars including its ability to save thousands of lives through advancements made in automated vehicle technology. To experience the potential of this technology firsthand, yesterday Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) of the Energy and Commerce Committee joined U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and rode in Audi’s A7 self-driving car. Check out more photos here. [[{"fid":"2819","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] June 6, 2017 U.S. Congress plans self-driving car legislation to speed rollout The U.S. Congress is working on national self-driving vehicle legislation that could replace state-by state rules and make it easier for automakers to test and deploy the technology, senior U.S. House and Senate lawmakers told Reuters on Tuesday. The chairman of the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee said he planned to unveil a package of legislation to overhaul federal rules governing self-driving vehicles. "We're getting very close. I think it's a good package. We've put a lot of work into it," Representative Greg Walden of Oregon said in an interview, adding that there was "good bipartisan agreeement" and he hoped to unveil and take up the package in the next month or two. Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the Senate Commerce Committee, is also working on a legislative self-driving proposal with Senator Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat. "We're not there yet but we are getting closer," Thune said. Thune and Walden spoke to Reuters on Tuesday after getting a ride in a self-driving Audi, a unit of Volkswagen AG. Companies such as Alphabet Inc and Ford Motor Co are aggressively pursuing automated technologies and want unified federal regulations to replace outdated rules and make it simpler to develop and eventually sell the technology across the country. This spring, Republican staff drafted a summary of 16 potential legislative proposals on federal reforms and regulations that they circulated to automakers and which was seen by Reuters. Among proposals under consideration is one to allow the U.S. Transportation Department to exempt up to 100,000 autonomous vehicles from current safety standards, which were written on the assumption responsibility for a car's operation rested with the human driver. The existing motor vehicle safety standards bar the sale of vehicles without steering wheels and gas pedals, for example. Alphabet Inc's Waymo unit has called for those rules be changed. Another proposal would prohibit a state from restricting testing by a manufacturer of up to 250 vehicles and comes as automakers have sparred with California over revisions to its self-driving car testing rules. Thune said he planned to hold a hearing on June 14 about self-driving car issues but did not put a specific timetable on introducing legislation. He said he wanted to avoid a "patchwork" of regulations from 50 different states on self-driving cars and look at cybersecurity and other issues. "The key thing is to make sure we stay in the lead on the innovation that there aren't unnecessary roadblocks in the way, balancing that with safety," Walden said. On Monday, the U.S. Transportation Department said it would unveil revised self-driving guidelines within the next few months, responding to automakers' calls for regulations to sanction costly efforts to put autonomous vehicles on the road. The voluntary guidelines would provide direction to states on self-driving cars as Congress works to set more permanent rules to oversee autonomous vehicles. But legislation might not be approved this year and states and automakers are eager for guidance from regulators in the interim. Vehicle crashes annually kill more than 35,000 people on U.S. roads and injure 2.4 million. Walden said the goal was to get self-driving cars on the roads in big numbers so in a generation people would say: "'What a bunch of barbarians - they drove themselves? Are you kidding me? And look at how many died every year and they thought that was acceptable?'" Click here to read the article online. Read More

#SubEnergy to Examine State Energy Programs, Energy Security Planning, and Emergency Preparedness Efforts

2017/06/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today announced a hearing for Wednesday, June 14, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “States’ Perspectives on Energy Security Planning, Emergency Preparedness, and State Energy Programs.” The Energy Policy and Conservation Act (EPCA) of 1975 authorized the State Energy Program, which provides federal and technical assistance to states who focused their efforts on energy conservation but has since expanded its scope to include energy assurance planning, technology development, and other related activities. However, the current State Energy Program’s authroized purpose and scope does not fully address today’s evolving energy landscape. Next week’s hearing will provide members an opportunity to examine the program and look at potential ways the committee can refocus the program on one of its core missions – energy security. “Our grid has changed immensely since the EPCA’s implementation in 1975 but so too have the threats and vulnerabilities. Cyberattacks and other emerging vulnerabilities could disrupt the operation of technology critical to reliability of our critical electrical infrastructure,” said Chairman Upton. “Next week’s hearing will provide us an opportunity to examine states’ current efforts as it relates to State Energy Assurance Plans and what we can do at the federal level to address energy assurance planning, energy infrastructure protection, and cybersecurity preparedness.” The hearing builds on the committee’s previous efforts as part of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act to make the Department of Energy the lead sector-specific agency for cybersecurity for the energy sector. Committee provisions included as part of the FAST Act grant the Secretary of Energy the authority to address grid security emergencies if the president provides a written directive or determination identifying a grid security emergency. Earlier this year, #SubEnergy held a hearing examining the electricity sector’s efforts to respond to current and future cybersecurity threats. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted.  ###  Read More

#FullCmte Advances #FDARA, Public Health Bills, and 11 #EnergyInfrastructure Bills

2017/06/07

[[{"fid":"2822","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), today held a markup on four bipartisan public bills, including H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017. The #FullCmte also passed 11 bills originating from #SubEnergy to advance the nation’s energy infrastructure and improve energy efficiency. #FullCmte advanced the following bills:  H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, authored by full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C.  Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), would reauthorize FDA’s critical user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. Six amendments to H.R. 2430 passed. Adopted amendments were offered by: Chairman Walden; Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) and Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), Rep. Peters and Rep. Costello; Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA); Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) #1; Rep. Schakowsky #2. H.R. 2430, as amended, passed by a unanimous vote of 54-0.   H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) would enhance research and surveillance at the CDC, award grants to further study Congenital Heart Disease, and direct the NIH to report on their ongoing research efforts. H.R. 1222 passed unanimously by voice vote.   H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention and Treatment Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), would reauthorize the sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program. H.R. 2410 passed unanimously by voice vote.   H.R. 1492, the Medical Controlled Substances Transportation Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), is a revised version of H.R. 3014 in the 114th Congress, which passed by voice vote out of the committee. H.R. 1492 would update the Drug Enforcement Administration registration process for mobile medical practitioners like EMS personnel and team physicians to ensure these health care providers can administer controlled substances at locations other than their principal places of business while complying with new limitations on the timing of transport and related recordkeeping requirements. H.R. 1492 passed unanimously by voice vote. “FDARA would reauthorize the agency’s critically important drug and medical device user fee programs, making improvements to each of them based on lengthy deliberations involving FDA, industry, patient groups, and other stakeholders,” said Chairman Walden. “As I have said before in this room, if we do not have this bill to the President’s desk in July, not only will thousands of FDA employees be seeking new employment, but desperately needed treatments and cures will not reach patients. We cannot – and will not – stand for that.” For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click here. ### Read More

Energy and Commerce Clears Eleven Energy Infrastructure and Efficiency Bills

2017/06/07

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee today passed eleven #SubEnergy bills aimed at advancing the nation’s energy infrastructure and improving energy efficiency. The bills now move to the full House of Representatives for consideration.    “When Congress can take steps that allow for more domestic energy output, lower costs for ratepayers, reduced emissions, and more jobs, it should not hesitate to do so,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “These bills all lead us towards the common goal of smarter energy use. They are also job creators and can be done at little or no cost to the taxpayers. I’m thankful for the committee’s dedication to enact solutions that put consumers first.” The committee passed the following bills by unanimous consent: H.R. 338, to promote a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce; Authored by Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL) and committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for women, veterans, and minorities.  H.R. 446, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project and H.R. 447, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydro electric project; Authored by committee member Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), H.R. 446 and 447 would extend the licenses for the Gathright and Flannagan Dams, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to their respective communities.  H.R. 627, Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017; Would make it easier for schools to take advantage of federal programs to help them cut down on energy use. H.R. 723, Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2017; Authored by committee members Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), H.R. 723 would facilitate the use of energy savings contracts to encourage private sector investment to upgrade the energy and water efficiency of federal facilities.  H.R. 951, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project; Would extend the license for the W. Kerr Scott Dam, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 1109, to amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act; Authored by committee member Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) would amend the Federal Power Act to expressly include a minimum monetary threshold of $10,000,000 for mergers and acquisitions of facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  H.R. 2122, to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Jennings Randolph Dam; Authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV), H.R. 2122 would authorize FERC to extend the time period during which the licensee is required to commence the construction of the Jennings Randolph hydroelectric project. Construction of the project would create jobs and provide affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community.  H.R. 2274, HYdropower Permit Extension (HYPE) Act; Authored by committee member Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), H.R. 2274 would allow FERC to extend permits for construction of hydroelectric projects. H.R. 2292, to extend a project of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving the Cannonsville Dam; Would extend the license of the Cannonsville hydroelectric project, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 2457, J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Hydropower Extension Act of 2017; Would authorize FERC to extend the licenses for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway projects, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community.  This Congress, the committee has been hard at work examining ways to modernize our energy and electricity delivery systems,  expand hydropower generation, and modernize our pipeline and hydropower infrastructure. The committee has also looked at Brownfields reauthorization, modernizing drinking water infrastructure, nuclear waste management, and opportunities to modernize our environmental laws.  For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click here.   ###  Read More

Energy and Commerce Committee Vote on H.R. 338, H.R. 627, H.R. 723, H.R. 1109, H.R. 446, H.R. 447, H.R. 951, H.R. 2122, H.R. 2274, H.R. 2292, H.R. 2457, H.R. 1222, H.R. 2410, H.R. 2430, and H.R. 1492

2017/06/07

[[{"fid":"2816","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Burgess & Guthrie Ahead of FDARA #FullCmte Markup: “FDARA will help patients live better and healthier lives.”

2017/06/07

Ahead of today’s #FullCmte markup of H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Health Subcommittee Vice Chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY) took to The Hill to explain what the reauthorization of the FDA’s user fee programs means for the delivery of much-needed treatments and once-unimaginable cures. Chairman Burgess and Vice Chairman Guthrie write, “The user fee programs – GDUFA, PDUFA, BsUFA, MDUFA – may look and sound like wonky acronyms, but they are critical to patients, drug and device manufacturers, and the millions of Americans who work to deliver new treatments and cures to Americans.” Learn more about FDARA below, and by clicking HERE to watch four short videos. And don’t forget to tune in HERE at 10am EST. [[{"fid":"2820","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] June 7, 2017 Working Together for Patients By Reps. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Brett Guthrie (R-KY) Over the last few months, the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Health has held a series of hearings on the FDA’s vitally important user fee programs. In these hearings, bipartisan support for a timely reauthorization of these programs has been clear. Our colleagues have spoken at length about their reauthorization being an important next step following passage of the game-changing 21st Century Cures Act, which became law in December. We could not agree more. The user fee programs – GDUFA, PDUFA, BsUFA, MDUFA – may look and sound like wonky acronyms, but they are critical to patients, drug and device manufacturers, and the millions of Americans who work to deliver new treatments and cures to Americans. It’s important to know what each user fee program does. The Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) improve the fee structure to support small businesses, and provide goal dates for all outstanding generic drug applications. GDUFA also establishes priority review timelines for generic drugs. These reforms will help get lower-cost generic alternatives to patients faster. The Prescription Drug User Fee Amendments (PDUFA) enhance the drug development process by making it more patient-focused and modernize the clinical trial process. PDUFA also dedicates staff to assist in the development and review of rare disease medications. These advances will improve the process for getting new drugs to market – ultimately delivering new and innovative therapies to patients more quickly. The Biosimilar User Fee Amendments (BsUFA) continue to build the biosimilars program and support guidance for product developers. Getting more biosimilars on the market will help lower health care costs. The Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA) enhance the patient voice in the device development process and support the collection of real world data. MDUFA also improves the review process for low- to moderate-risk devices that are the first of their kind. These changes will help ensure the United States maintains its leadership role in advancing new medical devices to the market. H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) will reauthorize each of these important programs.  Packaged together, it’s easy to see how these policies can help deliver results for patients and retain our status as the global leader in medical innovation. After 21st Century Cures, we know all too well that disease knows no bounds and that one way or another it touches us all. FDARA continues the important work outlined in Cures, delivering hope for patients by modernizing clinical trials, relying on real world data, and dedicating staff to assist in the development and review of medications for patients with rare diseases. FDARA will also allow our medical innovations to continue to soar to new heights. All too often we hear stories about how laws or regulations have prevented these amazing medical advancements from being implemented. FDARA will help these ground-breaking treatments, drugs, and devices reach patients sooner, while also increasing competition in the marketplace. Quite simply, FDARA will help patients live better and healthier lives. In recent weeks, our subcommittee took an important step toward reauthorizing these important programs by advancing FDARA unanimously. Today, FDARA will come before the full Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration. This is an important win for not just our country – but our communities, families, friends, and neighbors. It’s imperative we continue to work in the spirit of bipartisanship on this and other initiatives. Patients are depending on it. To read the column online, click HERE. ###   Read More

NEXT WEEK: #DCCP Explores How the Internet of Things Creates, Innovates and Connects

2017/06/06

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Disrupter Series: Update on IOT Opportunities and Challenges.” The Internet of Things (IOT) is rapidly revolutionizing industries and everyday life for Americans. These smart devices are optimizing everything from manufacturing and home appliances to health care and automobiles. Perhaps most notable for consumers; however, is that IOT offers consumers a variety of benefits, such as increased productivity and on-demand accurate information. Next week’s hearing allows our members to learn more about how businesses and consumers can benefit from innovative technology while also discussing the challenges ahead. “The Internet of Things has been a monumental innovation for the economy – changing how companies conduct business operations and how consumers go about their day to day lives,” said Chairman Latta. “Integrating connected devices has helped a myriad of industries like healthcare, manufacturing and retail to share data in real time so they can increase efficiency and improve customer service. We are fortunate to have dozens of IOT-based businesses with us next week for the IOT Showcase, and I look forward to hearing from them about the opportunity and potential of this next-generation technology. Next week also allows for us to check in and ensure that industry is focusing on critical issues like cybersecurity.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. Read More

NEXT WEEK: #SubCommTech to Examine Cybersecurity Risks to Wireless Technologies

2017/06/06

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, June 13, 2017, at 10 a.m. in 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Promoting Security in Wireless Technology.” Next week, #SubCommTech will examine cybersecurity risks to wireless technologies with a particular focus on wireless networks and mobile devices. Cyber criminals often utilize a number of strategies to launch attacks on wireless technologies. Often times they exploit vulnerabilities within a network to gain unauthorized access to wireless networks or target mobile devices through malware and phishing attacks. “In today’s increasingly digital and wireless world, cyber criminals continue to adapt, discover, and exploit vulnerabilities in our networks to gain unauthorized access and cause harm to consumers and businesses around the country,” said Chairman Blackburn. “Next week’s hearing will provide our members an opportunity to learn more about these threats, what stakeholders are doing to combat and prevent these attacks, and what policies could be helpful in furthering the resiliency of our wireless networks and devices.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

VIDEO: Latta Announces Bipartisan IOT Showcase and Reveals Business Participants

2017/06/06

[[{"fid":"2817","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click here or on the image above to watch Chairman Latta’s announcement. WASHINGTON, DC – Next week, members of the Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), will host a Showcase to explore the possibilities of the latest technology wave called the Internet of Things (IOT). “IOT” refers to the growing network of connected objects that are able to collect and exchange data using sensors. Throughout the last decade, we have seen how transformative this technology has been in the U.S. economy as Americans have steadily begun using Internet-connected devices to improve convenience, increase efficiency, and boost productivity. To demonstrate the benefits of IOT, and further understand its application in the business sector, #SubDCCP members have invited companies from their districts to display their products and services and discuss how adoption of this this cutting-edge technology is changing the way they do business. The event kicks off next Tuesday, June 13th, at 9 a.m. in the Rayburn Foyer. Tune into Facebook Live to check out the event in action. List of Participants*: Spine Research Institute, The Ohio State University Camgian Whirlpool Qualcomm Inc. Panasonic General Motors Big Ass Solutions Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, West Virginia University All World Machinery Supply, Inc. Honeywell BoxUp Oklahoma Gas and Electric Integra Devices Fujitsu Frontech PTC Inc. HERE The Garage, Northwestern University Louroe Electronics Siemens Vermont Energy Control Systems *List is subject to change   Read More

MARKUP: #FullCmte to Vote on Bipartisan FDA User Fee Reauthorization WEDNESDAY

2017/06/05

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR), has scheduled a full committee markup on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building to consider H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, as well as additional legislation. In April, bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizing FDA’s user fee agreements. The draft followed hearings examining the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA), the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA). #SubHealth favorably reported H.R. 2430, as amended, on May 18, 2017, by voice vote. “From the patients desperately awaiting new treatments and cures to the countless employees working in these vital health care sectors, time is of the essence as we seek to advance FDARA,” said Chairman Walden. “In addition to this critically important bill, we’ll also examine some important public health initiatives that can have an important effect in our communities.” The #FullCmte will also markup two public health bills that passed by voice vote in the #SubHealth markup in May, and one additional bill: H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) would enhance research and surveillance at the CDC, award grants to further study Congenital Heart Disease, and direct the NIH to report on their ongoing research efforts. H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, prevention and Treatment Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), would reauthorize the sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program. H.R. 1492, the Medical Controlled Substances Transportation Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), is a revised version of H.R. 3014 in the 114th Congress, which passed by voice vote out of the committee. H.R. 1492 would update the Drug Enforcement Administration registration process for mobile medical practitioners like EMS personnel and team physicians to ensure these health care providers can administer controlled substances at locations other than their principal places of business while complying with new limitations on the timing of transport and related recordkeeping requirements. The #FullCmte will also consider 11 bills related to promoting energy infrastructure and improving energy efficiency, which originated from #SubEnergy. 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

WEDNESDAY: #FullCmte to Vote on Eleven Energy Infrastructure and Efficiency Bills

2017/06/05

WASHINGTON, DC – In addition to the four #SubHealth bills the Energy and Commerce Committee plans to markup on Wednesday, June 7, 2017, at 10 a.m., the full committee will also consider eleven #SubEnergy bills aimed at advancing the nation’s energy infrastructure and improving energy efficiency. “This Wednesday, the Energy and Commerce Committee continues our work on legislation to harness our nation’s energy abundance, modernize our energy infrastructure, and promote domestic manufacturing and job growth,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Our goal is to break down barriers to innovation, promote new energy infrastructure, further job creation, and improve affordability, security, and safety for consumers. These bills represent solid, bipartisan efforts to put consumers first and find common sense solutions to the problems facing too many of our constituents." The committee will consider the following bills: H.R. 338, to promote a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce; Authored by Energy Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby Rush (D-IL) and committee member Rep. Richard Hudson (R-NC), would improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs, with an emphasis on increasing opportunities for women, veterans, and minorities.  H.R. 446, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project and H.R. 447, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydro electric project; Authored by committee member Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), H.R. 446 and 447 would extend the licenses for the Gathright and Flannagan Dams. Construction of the dams would create jobs and provide affordable, and reliable electricity to their respective communities.  H.R. 627, Streamlining Energy Efficiency for Schools Act of 2017; Would make it easier for schools to take advantage of federal programs to help them cut down on energy use. H.R. 723, Energy Savings Through Public-Private Partnerships Act of 2017; Authored by committee members Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT), H.R. 723 would facilitate the use of energy savings contracts to encourage private sector investment to upgrade the energy and water efficiency of federal facilities.  H.R. 951, to extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project; Would extend the license for the W. Kerr Scott Dam, creating jobs and providing affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community. H.R. 1109, to amend section 203 of the Federal Power Act; Authored by committee member Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) would amend the Federal Power Act to expressly include a minimum monetary threshold of $10,000,000 for mergers and acquisitions of facilities subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  H.R. 2122, to reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project involving the Jennings Randolph Dam; Authored by #SubEnvironment Vice Chairman David McKinley (R-WV), H.R. 2122 would authorize FERC to extend the time period during which the licensee is required to commence the construction of the Jennings Randolph Dam. Construction of the dam would create jobs and provide affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community.  H.R. 2274, HYdropower Permit Extension (HYPE) Act; Authored by committee member Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA), H.R. 2274 would allow FERC to extend permits for construction of hydroelectric projects. H.R. 2292, to extend a project of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission involving the Cannonsville Dam; Would extend the license of the Cannonsville Dam. Construction of the dam would create jobs and provide affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community.  H.R. 2457, J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Hydropower Extension Act of 2017; Would authorize FERC to extend the license of construction for the J. Bennett Johnston Waterway Dam. Construction of the dam would create jobs and provide affordable, reliable electricity to the respective community.  This Congress, the committee has been hard at work examining ways to modernize our energy and electricity delivery systems,  expand hydropower generation, and modernize our pipeline and hydropower infrastructure. The committee has also looked at Brownfields reauthorization, modernizing drinking water infrastructure, nuclear waste management, and opportunities to modernize our environmental laws.  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

HEARING: #SubHealth to Examine Common Sense Solution to Menu-Labeling Regulations

2017/06/02

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a hearing for Friday, June 9, 2017, at 9 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining H.R. 772, The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017.” #SubHealth will examine committee member and House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ (R-WA), H.R. 772, the Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2017, legislation to provide clarity and flexibility for small businesses from costly and burdensome regulations. “The Trump administration’s announcement last month to delay the rule and reopen the FDA’s comment period was an important step for small businesses that have felt the burdens of the mandate. It also gives us an opportunity to reexamine how we best empower consumers with information,” said Chairman Burgess. “Next week’s hearing is an important opportunity to further discuss Rep. McMorris Rodgers’ bill and the FDA’s efforts in moving toward a more reasonable standard that works for both consumers and small businesses.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

Committee Leaders Request Audit Documents About 340B Program

2017/06/02

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) yesterday, regarding the 340B program and requested audit documents from the last two fiscal years to assist with the committee’s oversight of the program. The leaders cite multiple concerns with the program, including entities billing for duplicate discounts on the same medication, and that uninsured or underinsured patients may be paying the full price of a drug even though they are getting it through an entity within the 340B program. “The Committee is concerned about the 340B program’s rapid growth without additional and proportional oversight,” write Walden, Murphy, and Burgess. “Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) expanded the definition of eligible entities to include ‘free-standing cancer, community and critical access hospitals on the basis of their disproportionate share hospital (DSH) percentage,’ which has increased program enrollment substantially. 340B drug sales more than doubled between 2010 and 2015 and expanded by 66 percent between 2013 and 2015 alone. As of 2011, nearly a third of all U.S. hospitals participated in the program.”  Click HERE to read a copy of the letter. [[{"fid":"2812","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Republicans Probing Drug Discount Program’s Rapid Growth June 1, 2017 Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are investigating the recent expansion of a federal drug pricing program that offers discounts to hospitals and other providers. The lawmakers June 1 sent a letter to the Health Resources and Services Administration, saying they are concerned about the 340B drug pricing program's “rapid growth without additional oversight” and asked HRSA to provide information on its audits of the hospitals and other covered providers participating in the program. HRSA is the part of the Health and Human Services Department that administers the 340B program. The lawmakers, including committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-Ore.), noted that drug sales under 340B more than doubled from 2010 to 2015. The 340B program requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible safety-net hospitals and other health-care providers at reduced prices. Drugmakers must provide the discounts in order to remain eligible for reimbursements through Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act expanded the 340B program to include new types of providers, including free-standing cancer, community, and critical access hospitals. … The lawmakers said HRSA doesn't always follow up on audits of covered entities when it finds violations. “HRSA's lack of follow-up audits when it finds violations is troubling, and combined with the high rate of noncompliance, indicates a need for additional oversight of this program,” the letter said. … The House lawmakers also said they are concerned that HRSA doesn't track how much covered entities make through the 340B program and how the covered entities use program savings. “Given the program's ability to generate revenue for covered entities, HRSA has a vested interest in ensuring that those funds are used to benefit patients,” the letter said. “The committee is concerned about reports that uninsured and underinsured patients at 340B hospitals often pay the full list price for a drug while the hospital receives that same drug at a severely discounted price.” Another concern the lawmakers cited is when covered entities receive duplicate discounts on the same drug. Duplicate discounts occur when a covered entity purchases a drug with a 340B discount and is credited with a Medicaid rebate. HRSA found that about 23 percent of covered entities audited had duplicate discounts each year from 2012 to 2016, the letter said. HRSA's audits also found that covered entities violated program requirements by reselling or transferring 340B drugs to ineligible patients. … To read the full article online, click HERE. ### Read More

HEARING: #SubOversight to Further Examine Federal Cybersecurity Efforts in Health Care Sector

2017/06/01

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), announced a hearing for Thursday, June 8, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining the Role of the Department of Health and Human Services in Health Care Cybersecurity.” #SubOversight will examine the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) role in cybersecurity efforts within the health care sector. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which became law in 2015, required HHS to submit two reports to Congress about its internal cybersecurity processes and industry recommendations for what the federal government and industry can do to improve cybersecurity efforts in the health care sector. “While health care information technologies have greatly improved patient care and increased patient involvement in their treatment, recent incidents like the ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware outbreak have reinforced the fact that these technologies, and the health care sector as a whole, are vulnerable to cybersecurity threats and in some cases, are ill prepared,” said Chairman Murphy. “This hearing will provide an opportunity to explore what HHS can do to more effectively address cybersecurity vulnerabilities and ensure that we are proactive in protecting against these similar incidents.” Next week’s hearing builds on #SubOversight’s April hearing examining public-private partnerships for health care cybersecurity and will further examine HHS’s role and effectiveness in addressing this rapidly evolving challenge for the health care sector.   The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

NEXT WEEK #DCCP Continues #DisrupterSeries by Examining Potential of the FinTech Industry

2017/06/01

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today announced a hearing for Thursday, June 8, 2017, at 10:00 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Disrupter Series: Improving Consumer’s Financial Options With FinTech.” Consumers have an unprecedented amount of information available at their fingertips today. However, there are still millions of Americans with limited access to banking services who are desperately in need of a way to engage in commerce, invest in savings, and manage their day to day financial health. The answer to this problem may come in the form of a digital revolution better known as “FinTech.” This term is most often used to describe a variety of banking and financial services offered to consumers online. FinTech is widely celebrated for its ability to be both convenient and accessible. For example, with the push of a button via mobile device, consumers can move money to their savings account, pay a bill online, or outline a budget for monthly expenses. While this industry has skyrocketed in popularity over the last several years – and the number of companies developing FinTech products has surged as well— some reports in recent quarters have noted a plateau in U.S. investment. This hearing is an opportunity to learn about the state of play in the FinTech industry: what consumers actually want and whether FinTech offers consumers products and services that meet their needs. “The FinTech revolution is one that has taken the digital world by storm – disrupting the traditional aspects of the finance industry and transforming commerce as we know it. In turn, it has opened up a new realm of possibilities for consumers and businesses: increasing convenience, improving accessibility, and helping folks to track and cut costs,” said Chairman Latta. “The FinTech industry has allowed the average American to have more control over their financial well-being while simultaneously promoting greater financial literacy. Next week’s hearing is an important opportunity for us to hear from companies on barriers they face in the market and learn how Congress can continue investing in its potential.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. Read More

Chairman Walden on Administration’s Paris Decision

2017/06/01

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today issued the following statement after President Trump announced his intention to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accords. “The United States leads the world in energy innovation, driven by a robust and competitive free market that is producing more affordable, reliable, and efficient energy than ever before. Technological developments in all forms of energy generation, combined with new information and communication technologies have the ability to produce even better outcomes for consumers and the environment. These innovations and increased domestic energy production are among the reasons that our CO2 emissions are in steady decline and lower today than they were in 1994. “The technologies creating these benefits will continue to be driven by consumer demand and market forces, and the Energy and Commerce Committee will seek to ensure that states and regulators utilize their proper authorities to deliver energy that is affordable, reliable, secure, and efficient. We remain committed to modernizing our energy infrastructure, updating energy programs of the past, and putting consumer interests first. Doing this, we can develop solid, sustainable public policy that supports both a strong economy and clean environment." ###  Read More

#SubEnergy Chairman Upton and #SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus Comment on GAO’s Yucca Mountain Report

2017/05/26

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Environment Subcommittee Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) today issued the following statement in response to a committee requested report from the nonpartisan government watchdog Government Accountability Office (GAO) regarding the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Yucca Mountain Restart Plans.  The committee leaders requested the report in February of 2016 asking GAO to assess DOE’s ability to complete the Yucca Mountain License Application. In their report, GAO outlined a series of four steps that would be needed for the licensing process to resume and be completed. In GAO’s response they write, “The steps include actions by, among others, NRC’s five-member Commission and the adjudication’s parties: DOE, NRC staff, and 17 non-federal parties likely to be affected by this proceeding. The likely key steps GAO identified are: The Commission and parties receiving direction to resume the licensing process, and the Commission deciding on the timing and other details, so NRC and parties can identify their funding needs for the adjudication Rebuilding organizational capacity, including, as needed, recruiting personnel to recreate DOE's, NRC's, and nonfederal parties' project offices; obtaining legal, scientific, or other experts for the adjudication; and rebuilding physical infrastructure. Also at this step, DOE and NRC may need to update key documents used for the licensing process. Reconvening the parties and completing the remaining phases of the adjudication, including witness depositions and evidentiary hearings. Carrying out the process's remaining steps, including the Commission's final decision on whether to authorize construction of the repository.” “While some challenges remain, this report provides DOE and NRC a roadmap to take the necessary steps to complete the Yucca Mountain license. Completing the licensing process is of critical importance because it provides the state of Nevada the opportunity to publicly make their case in front of independent NRC judges,” said Upton and Shimkus. “As the committee works toward comprehensive legislation regarding our nuclear waste policy, we will work in coordination with DOE to address the issues outlined in this report.” To view the GAO report, click here. To view the letter sent by the committee to GAO in February 2016, click here. For a comprehensive list of the committee’s work as it relates to Yucca Mountain, click here. ###  Read More

Walden and Blackburn Announce Staff Additions to the Communications and Technology Subcommittee

2017/05/26

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today announced the following staff announcements for the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. Robin C. Colwell, Chief Counsel, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Colwell will serve as Chief Counsel for the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology beginning in July. She has served as FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly’s Chief of Staff and Senior Legal Advisor since December of 2014. Prior to that Robin served as a Legislative Counsel for Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) and as a Counsel at the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation’s Subcommittee on Tourism, Competitiveness, and Innovation. Timothy J. Kurth, Senior Professional Staff, Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Kurth returns to Capitol Hill after a career in the private sector. Kurth worked in Congress from 1995 - 2004, including as the senior advisor on technology and telecommunications issues for the Speaker of the House, Congressman J. Dennis Hastert (R–IL), and prior to that as Hastert’s legislative assistant during his time on the House Commerce Committee. Kurth began his career in Washington with stints at the U.S. Department of State, as well as interning in the leadership office of Congressman Bob Michel (R-IL). “We’re excited to have Robin and Tim join our already stellar team at the Communications and Technology Subcommittee,” said Walden and Blackburn. “Their breadth of knowledge on communications policy will play an integral role as the committee works towards boosting broadband deployment, Next Generation 911 reauthorization, spectrum allocation and availability, and FCC oversight. We’re looking forward to them joining our team and getting to work on these important issues.” FCC Commissioner Mike O’Rielly added, "I will truly miss Robin because her professionalism and mastery of communications policy is only exceeded by her sound judgment, political acumen and ability to work well with everyone she meets. While she maintains sound conservative principles, she is able and willing to reach a deal when appropriate. There is no doubt in my mind that Robin will do very well in the new role." Current Chief Counsel David Redl was nominated for the position of Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration and will remain on staff until confirmed. Deputy Chief Counsel Grace Koh departed the committee earlier this year to serve as Special Assistant to the President for Technology, Telecom, and Cyber-Security Policy. Kelsey Guyselman, Gene Fullano, Lauren McCarty, and Giulia Giannangeli will continue to serve the Communications and Technology Subcommittee in their current roles. ###  Read More

Committee Leaders Press NIH for Updates Following Past Contamination and Inspection Issues

2017/05/25

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) today sent a letter to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following up on the committee’s oversight of incidents at the NIH Clinical Center in 2015. Stemming from whistleblower concerns, an FDA inspection of the NIH Clinical Center Pharmacy found a series of deficiencies in the facility itself, as well as two vials of a drug that had fungal contamination. It was determined that the contamination could have potentially affected hundreds of participants in more than 40 studies, and that six patients had been administered drugs from the contaminated batch. “After about a year since the NIH announced reforms to the NIH Clinical Center, it’s imperative the committee have an understanding of additional action taken to address our concerns, and ensure that NIH’s efforts to ensure safety and compliance of their work are effective,” said Chairmen Walden and Murphy. Click HERE to read the letter. [[{"fid":"2807","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] NIH Probe by House Panel Expands May 25, 2017 The National Institutes of Health is in hot water again with the House Energy and Commerce Committee over a scandal that occurred nearly two years ago at one of the agency’s main research institutions. On Thursday, the panel broadened its probe into safety and compliance issues at the NIH Clinical Center, a research hospital located on the agency’s campus in Bethesda, Md. In a letter sent to Director Francis Collins and obtained by Roll Call, the committee requested a larger swath of documents not yet provided by the agency. The inquiry — which stems in-part from new information uncovered by the committee — resurfaces a scandal the NIH has tried vigorously to move past. But despite assuring congressional leaders that immediate corrective action was taken, the agency has yet to implement several of the key recommendations included in a report issued over a year ago. In an emailed statement to Roll Call, Energy and Commerce Chairman Greg Walden of Oregon and Rep. Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, chairman of the panel’s Oversight Subcommittee, said they have received “substantial information” from the agency so far.  “After about a year since the NIH announced reforms to the NIH Clinical Center, it’s imperative the committee have an understanding of additional action taken to address our concerns, and ensure that NIH’s efforts to ensure safety and compliance of their work are effective,” the lawmakers wrote. … Click HERE to read the full story online. ### Read More

Walden and Burgess on CBO Score of American Health Care Act

2017/05/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement regarding the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) score of the American Health Care Act. “The American Health Care Act is the first step in our efforts to repeal Obamacare and rebuild our broken health care system. CBO continues to find that through our patient-focused bill, premiums will go down and that our reforms will help stabilize the market,” said chairmen Walden and Burgess. “Our plan puts states and patients in the driver's seat, creating an innovative fund to help lower premiums and other out-of-pocket costs. As the Senate continues its work on this vital bill, we encourage them to further these critical principles.” ### Read More

New Report Shows ACA Spiked Premiums by 105% Between 2013 and 2017

2017/05/24

[[{"fid":"2721","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – A new report from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) details the #RateShock Americans across the country have experienced under the so-called “Affordable Care Act.” According to the report, which uses the data the Obama administration relied on, “average exchange premiums were 105 percent higher in the 39 states using Healthcare.gov in 2017 than average individual market premiums in 2013.” The report includes data from 2013, a benefit year that has not been captured in analyses. In addition to this previously unreported data, Americans now have a more complete picture of just how catastrophic Obamacare has been for patients on the exchanges. In regards to premiums, “average monthly premiums increased from $224 in 2013 to $476 in 2017.” Of the 39 states using Healthcare.gov, 62 percent saw 2017 exchange premiums that at least doubled the 2013 average. Why does 2013 matter so much? It paints a fuller picture of the Obamacare landscape – where premiums first began under the law. Today’s premiums are starkly higher, and they’re only amplified by fleeing insurers. Don’t even mention the CO-OPs (there’s only five left, in case you’re not counting). The data reflects the real stories of patients under Obamacare. Like those in Alaska with an average monthly premium of $1,041 this year – up from $314 in 2013 – a 203 percent increase. Or patients in Oklahoma, who will only have one insurance provider next year, saw an average monthly premium of $620 this year – up from $206 in 2013 – a 201 percent increase. Remember when President Obama promised the health care law would lower premiums by $2,500 per household? His own data tells another story – families are paying radically more. House Republicans have passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a bill to repeal Obamacare’s most onerous mandates and rebuild our health care system, based on a plan that will lower premiums and other out-of-pocket costs that have come to weigh on patients. It’s time to put patients first. ### Read More

VIDEO: Chairman Burgess on FDA Reauthorization Act

2017/05/24

WASHINGTON, DC – Fresh off #SubHealth’s unanimous passage of the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 last week, Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) recorded a brief video about what the important bill will do and next steps. [[{"fid":"2710","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Click HERE to watch #SubHealth Chairman Burgess’ message. ### Read More

#SubDCCP Discusses Benefits of Innovative Technology Used by Businesses in Delivery Industry

2017/05/23

[[{"fid":"2708","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today held a hearing to discuss how businesses are adopting the latest trends in technology to transform the delivery process for consumers. Witnesses provided testimony about how their businesses are leveraging technology to provide same-day delivery services to consumers. To begin the hearing, Chairman Latta discussed how emerging technologies and cutting-edge innovation are disrupting the delivery service industry as we know it. “In today’s digital, on-demand economy, consumers have come to expect flexibility and quick delivery. In fact, a 2016 survey indicates that same-day delivery is a priority for consumers and that consumers want to have options for where their deliveries go - whether that be their office or some other personalized pickup point.” Co-Founder and CEO of Postmates, Bastian Lehmann, discussed how on-demand platforms are disrupting delivery networks to benefit consumers. He spoke about how his company is integrating the newest technologies, such as robotics, to capitalize on short-distance deliveries and reduce cost for consumers. He stated, “Our thesis then, is that since both human hands, and robotic operators [are] now on the ground, commerce across a given town is able to move at even higher rates, with more functional ways to make deliveries in a given city. In the long term, this could ultimately help drive down the overall cost of delivery, as the supply of couriers increases.” [[{"fid":"2709","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Witnesses listen as Dr. Harry Holzer reads his prepared testimony. Offering another perspective on the benefits of delivery and transportation systems, was Brian Wynne, President and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International. He offered, “From inspecting pipelines to newsgathering to mapping flood zones, UAS [Unammed Aircraft System] help save time, save money and, most importantly, save lives. It is no wonder why thousands of businesses – small and large–have already embraced this technology, and many more are considering integrating it into their future operations.” With regard to UAS’ role in delivery services, Mr. Wynne noted that many big-name companies like UPS and Amazon are “already testing and discovering the possibilities of UAS” through technology like drones and have successfully “transform[ed] deliveries over water and on the ground.” Providing testimony as to how drones are changing the delivery landscape, was Shyam Chidamber, Chief Evangelist and Senior Advisor at Flirtey. “Most people are no doubt familiar with the military applications of drone technology. But I am here to suggest to you that drones are a game changing commercial and civilian technology –one, we believe can save lives and enhance lifestyles.” He concludes by stating, “This brings me to the larger point, that drones save lives, increase blue collar productivity, create new jobs, enhance worker and community safety.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE.   Read More

#SubOversight Examines Federal Public Health Response Preparedness for Zika Virus and Other Potential Outbreaks

2017/05/23

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), today held a hearing examining current challenges and concerns with the U.S. public health response to the Zika virus outbreak, including the ability to determine the link between Zika and other illnesses, the efficacy and limits of available diagnostic testing, the status of vaccine development, and the federal government’s plan to respond to the potential future spread of the virus. Dr. Timothy M. Persons, Chief Scientist, U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), shared with subcommittee members a new report on the federal government’s response to the virus that says more actions are needed to improve our response to the Zika virus, as well as other possible outbreaks. The report issued five recommendations to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how to have a more transparent process. Dr. Persons detailed the GAO report’s findings, stating, “…many unknowns about the Zika virus remain, including (1) the total number of people with symptomatic and asymptomatic infections, (2) the biological mechanisms, risks, reasons for geographic differences, and the full spectrum of outcomes associated with maternal-fetal transmission, (3) the presence and duration of the virus in different bodily fluids, and (4) the role of prior exposure to Zika and other closely related viruses in risk and severity of Zika virus disease outbreaks, and (5) the full spectrum of outcomes associated with Zika virus infection.” “This is not the first time GAO has done such an analysis in response to emerging infectious diseases,” stated #SubOversight Chairman Murphy. “And each time, GAO has found that HHS was reactive in its response to outbreak prevention, preparedness, detection, and response. Once again, GAO has shown that we were not fully prepared at the outset of the outbreak.” [[{"fid":"2707","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Dr. Fauci offers his testimony. Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, spoke about the hope of a vaccine for the Zika virus, saying, “While we have begun clinical testing of several Zika vaccine candidates, a safe, effective, and fully licensed vaccine likely will not be available for several years.” Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, CDC, spoke to some of the challenges with diagnostic tests, saying, “One of our first challenges was that while Zika infection typically causes a mild illness or no symptoms at all, the impact of Zika on pregnancies can nonetheless be significant. Therefore, CDC currently recommends testing for all pregnant women who live in or travel to an area with risk of Zika that has a CDC Zika travel notice.” Dr. Luciana Borio, Acting Chief Scientist, FDA, cited proactive, positive action taken by FDA to help advance diagnostic tests for the virus, like working “interactively with Zika virus diagnostic manufacturers throughout the product development process to address scientific challenges, review data, and provide feedback based on the latest available scientific information.” Dr. Rick A. Bright, Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, stressed that BARDA has been “working closely with our government and industry partners to identify and develop Zika vaccine candidates.” Dr. Bright also gave status updates about the current vaccine candidates that are supported by BARDA. “Last year, this subcommittee held a hearing on the report of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense, which presented several concerns and expert recommendations to improve U.S. biodefense,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “The experts on the panel made it quite clear that we need to stop thinking of disease preparedness and response as occasional, episodic events – a reactive approach that has left us constantly lagging in our response efforts. Instead, we must shift our mindsets and strategies towards a broader, more comprehensive, and proactive approach – one that considers the larger context of our preparedness for future infectious diseases and outbreaks.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden on Administration's Budget Request

2017/05/23

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today issued the following statement after the administration released their fiscal year 2018 budget request.  “This budget proposal demonstrates President Trump’s commitment to balancing the budget and responsibly prioritizing taxpayer dollars. The initiatives modernizing our energy infrastructure and promoting our nation’s energy abundance would undoubtedly make positive impacts on our constituents’ lives. The president’s proposals show the difficult choices facing the country as we work to reduce the deficit, protect our security, and grow jobs.”  ### Read More

Disrupter Series: Delivering to Consumers

2017/05/23

[[{"fid":"2711","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Read More

U.S. Public Health Response to the Zika Virus: Continuing Challenges

2017/05/23

[[{"fid":"2692","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Letter to the CPSC Regarding Upcoming Vacancy

2017/05/22

Excerpt: "For the next five months, the five-seat CPSC will operate with three Democratic Commissioners outnumbering the two Republican Commissioners. In October 2017, the Senate will be able to confirm your administration’s nominee for an expiring seat on the Commission. Without such action, the Democratic Commissioner will remain in a one-year holdover term exacerbating the current imbalance." To read the letter, click here. Read More

Walden & Latta Urge Trump Administration to Fill Upcoming CPSC Vacancy

2017/05/22

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH) today sent a letter to President Donald Trump urging him to prioritize the nomination process for a soon-to-be vacant seat at the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Appointing a Republican to this seat when the vacancy opens in October will provide a functioning majority to the five-seat CPSC. The leaders write, “For the next five months, the five-seat CPSC will operate with three Democratic Commissioners outnumbering the two Republican Commissioners. In October 2017, the Senate will be able to confirm your administration’s nominee for an expiring seat on the Commission. Without such action, the Democratic Commissioner will remain in a one-year holdover term exacerbating the current imbalance.” They conclude, “We urge you to identify and nominate a commissioner to the CPSC as soon as practicable.” To read the letter online, click here. Read More

FACT CHECKED: News Organizations Dispel Democrats’ False Claims about the American Health Care Act

2017/05/22

As Republicans in Congress work with the Trump Administration to fix our broken health care system and improve lives for the American people, fact checkers across the country are exposing Democrats’ false claims about the American Health Care Act. False Claim: 129 million people with preexisting conditions ‘could be denied coverage’ under the GOP health bill. Fact Checked by the Washington Post: “We initially rated this claim as Three Pinocchios. Considering the totality of Harris’s statement, claiming that as many as 129 million could be denied coverage, we are changing the rating on this fact check to Four Pinocchios.” [[{"fid":"2694","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"65","width":"262","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] False Claim: The GOP health bill classifies rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition. Fact Check by the Washington Post: “The notion that AHCA classifies rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition, or that survivors would be denied coverage, is false.” [[{"fid":"2695","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"67","width":"270","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] False Claim: Congress is exempt from the G.O.P. health bill. Fact Checked by the New York Times: “A separate bill offered by Representative Martha E. McSally, Republican of Arizona, eliminated the congressional exemption from the House health plan. Her bill was overwhelmingly approved by the House — meaning that Congress will live by the same health care rules as other Americans.” False Claim: Seven million veterans will lose their tax credit under the GOP health bill. Fact Checked by the Washington Post: “Republicans have stressed that they want current protections to remain, even if Obamacare is repealed; it’s an issue only because of the parliamentary tactics they have chosen. They’re now taking steps to turn the current IRS protections into law.” [[{"fid":"2696","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"78","width":"211","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] False Claim: Insurance companies will be able to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions. Fact Checked by FactCheck.org: “Insurers would still be required to offer plans to anyone regardless of preexisting conditions.” CLICK HERE to learn more about how the American Health Care Act will fix our broken health care system and help all Americans access quality, affordable care. Read More

DIGITAL RECAP

2017/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee packed in quite a bit this week, holding three hearings and a subcommittee markup. #SubCommTech kicked off the week with a hearing Wednesday morning where members examined the country’s emergency alerting systems. That same day, #SubHealth reviewed four bipartisan bills to advance public health ranging from anti-human trafficking measures to the creation of a registry to collect data about the incidence of cancer in our nation’s firefighters. On Thursday, #SubHealth advanced the FDA User Fee Reauthorization Act and two other bipartisan public health bills. In case you missed it, E&C released a series of videos recapping the importance of the FDA’s user fee programs and what it means for patients everywhere. Check it out here. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"2683","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Freshmen committee members Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) settle in ahead of Wednesday’s #SubCommTech hearing on the country’s emergency alerting systems. [[{"fid":"2684","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) leans over to talk with a staffer during Wednesday’s #SubHealth hearing on four bipartisan bills. [[{"fid":"2685","view_mode":"default","fields":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) has a lighthearted moment with committee staff before the start of the #SubHealth markup. [[{"fid":"2686","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and full committee Vice Chairman Joe Barton (R-TX) laugh at a joke Thursday morning. [[{"fid":"2687","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Members review notes and amendments while #SubHealth Chairman Burgess gavels in the Thursday morning markup. [[{"fid":"2688","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) shares a smile with seatmate, and #SubCommTech Chairman, Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). [[{"fid":"2689","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]] Dr. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) before voting on H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017. [[{"fid":"2690","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"8"}}]] #SubEnvironment Chairman John Shimkus (R-IL) and #SubEnergy Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) chat during Thursday’s #SubHealth markup. [[{"fid":"2691","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"9":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"9"}}]] Witnesses for Friday morning’s #SubEnvironment hearing ready their opening statements in preparation for the start of the hearing on our nation’s drinking water infrastructure.   Read More

#SubEnvironment Examines Draft Legislation Related to Improving Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure

2017/05/19

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today held a hearing examining a discussion draft of legislation that aims to bring greater investment and improvements to the nation’s drinking water infrastructure.  [[{"fid":"2681","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) delivers his opening statement “In March, our committee began a review of the financial needs of our entire nation’s drinking water infrastructure. We spoke about the need to think broadly about all the things that can affect water, affordability, reliability, and safety,” said Chairman Walden. “Today we took the next steps in our deliberative process by reviewing a discussion draft and related ideas from stakeholders to formulate policy on drinking water state revolving loan funding and public water system supervision grants.” Martin Kropelnicki, President and CEO of the California Water Service Group, testifying on behalf of the National Association of Water Companies, discussed the important role of private investment in the nation’s drinking water systems, stating, “Private water systems have existed in the United States for more than 200 years. … The private sector is already helping overcome water infrastructure challenges facing the country. … The private water utility sector stands able, ready, and willing to partner with local and state governments, as well as the federal government, to help meet the challenges our nation’s water infrastructure will face in the coming years and decades. … The discussion draft in front of the Committee today is a good first step to addressing this crisis.” Scott Potter, Director of Nashville Water Services, Nashville, TN, on behalf of the Association of Metropolitan Water Agencies (AMWA), spoke of AMWA’s support for certain provisions in the discussion draft, commenting, "AMWA supports provisions in the legislation that would reauthorize DWSRF appropriations, encourages states to promote asset management planning, reduce duplicative regulatory requirements, and facilitate cooperative partnerships to help public water systems maintain compliance with SDWA standards. … AMWA believes the Drinking Water System Improvement Act is a strong bill that makes meaningful progress toward solidifying the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund for success in the coming years. AMWA looks forward to continuing to work with members of the subcommittee on this legislation.”  [[{"fid":"2682","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Chairman Shimkus recognizes a member of the subcommittee for their questioning “The discussion draft is not a finite universe of the issues that the committee is open to considering. It is a true baseline for conversation and an invitation for feedback on refinements or suggested alternative approaches; and an opportunity to make the case for including additional issues,” concluded #SubEnvironment Chairman Shimkus. “This will not be easy – some of these conversations will be very difficult, but we will have to have them in an open and honest manner. But, this is not new. Anyone who has been around our subcommittee for a while knows we have a reputation for tackling challenging issues.” To view the text of the discussion draft, click HERE. A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found online HERE. ###  Read More

H.R.__, Drinking Water System Improvement Act and Related Issues of Funding, Management, and Compliance Assistance under the Safe Drinking Water Act

2017/05/19

[[{"fid":"2662","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

#SubHealth Advances FDA User Fee Reauthorization, Two Bipartisan Public Health Bills

2017/05/18

[[{"fid":"2677","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a markup examining two bipartisan public health bills, and legislation to reauthorize the FDA’s user fee programs. The subcommittee advanced the following bills:  H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), would enhance research and surveillance at the CDC, award grants to further study Congenital Heart Disease, and direct the NIH to report on their ongoing research efforts. H.R. 1222 passed the subcommittee as amended, by voice vote.   H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), would reauthorize the sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program. H.R. 2410 passed the subcommittee by voice vote.   H.R. 2430, the FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017, authored by full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Chairman Burgess, and Health Subcommittee Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX), would reauthorize FDA’s critical user fee programs, ensuring the agency has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective drugs, devices, and treatments, to patients more swiftly. Four amendments to H.R. 2430 passed by voice. The amendments were offered by: Reps. Joseph P. Kennedy, III (D-MA), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN); Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), and Susan Brooks (R-IN); Reps. Burgess, Gene Green (D-TX), and Leonard Lance (R-NJ); and Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) and Bilirakis. H.R. 2430 passed the subcommittee as amended, by voice vote. “Today’s markup is just the latest step in nearly two years of work by the biopharmaceutical and medical device industry, the Food and Drug Administration, and Congress,” said #SubHealth Chairman Burgess. “It is a bipartisan and bicameral priority to complete this work and reauthorize the user fee programs in a timely manner.” “Let me be clear: if we do not have this bill to the President’s desk in July, not only will thousands of FDA employees be seeking new employment, but desperately needed treatments and cures will not reach patients,” said full committee Chairman Walden, echoing Chairman Burgess’ comments regarding the importance of FDARA. “We cannot – and will not – stand for that.” For more information on today’s markup, including a background memo, archived webcast, and text of the legislation, click here. ### Read More

#SubCommTech Chair Blackburn on FCC’s NPRM Vote

2017/05/18

WASHINGTON, DC – Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) today issued the following statement following the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) vote on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that begins the process of returning the internet to its previous Title I classification. “Today the FCC took an important step to roll back the Obama administration’s efforts to subject the internet to heavy-handed government regulation. Now the public has the opportunity to weigh in on the FCC’s proposed rule before the FCC begins to draft their final order,” said Chairman Blackburn. “I remain hopeful that Republicans and Democrats, internet service providers, edge providers and the internet community as a whole can come together and work towards a solution. I thank Chairman Pai and Commissioner O’Reilly for their leadership to begin rolling back this Depression-era, utility-style regulatory structure for the internet.” ###  Read More

Subcommittee Vote on H.R. 1222, H.R. 2410, and H.R. ____, FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017

2017/05/18

[[{"fid":"2663","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Walden & Pallone Announce Bipartisan Task Force to Examine Indian Health Service

2017/05/18

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) today announced the creation of the Indian Health Service (IHS) Task Force. Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Raul Ruiz (D-CA) will co-chair the bipartisan task force, which is composed of 14 members both on and off the committee. The working group will review the health care delivery system for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), inform policy makers on the current state of IHS and public health programs that serve the AI/AN population, and identify ways to ensure IHS is best serving the needs of those who rely on it. “The Indian Health Service is an important program that often flies under the radar. It’s imperative that members have a thorough understanding of the IHS and the work it does,” said co-chairs Mullin and Ruiz. “We look forward to beginning our work to raise awareness for this important issue among our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and identify ways we can work together.” “This is an important opportunity for a wide-ranging group of House Republicans and Democrats to learn more about the work the IHS does in our very own communities,” said Chairman Walden and Ranking Member Pallone. “We look forward to kicking off our work this week to explore ways to ensure American Indian and Alaska Native communities have access to quality health care.” The following members will serve on the task force: Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), co-chairman Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-CA), co-chairman Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) Rep. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI) Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM) Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI) Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) ### Read More

#SubHealth Reviews Four Bipartisan Bills to Advance Public Health

2017/05/17

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), today held a hearing examining four bipartisan bills to advance public health. [[{"fid":"2674","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) speaks in support of H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, which he authored. Mr. Kevin B. O’Connor, Assistant to the General President, International Association of Fire Fighters, spoke in support of H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, which would require the CDC to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. Talking about his own experience as a fire fighter and his battle with prostate cancer, Mr. O’Connor said, “I have suspicions that my cancer is the direct result of my years within the fire service. My father is healthy at 85 and has never experienced cancer. …Today, I am happy to report that my prostate cancer was surgically removed and I am healthy. …Collecting data on a national basis will permit scientists to conduct more comprehensive studies correcting the shortcomings of previous studies, and I am confident that this registry will be the catalyst to better cancer prevention measures in the future.” Full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) highlighted the important work of his local firefighters. “In Oregon, we know the bravery of our first responders not only for traditional firefighting, but also in the west for the kind of fires we get in the summers in our forest where they face intense smoke and flames, and are frequently breathing in dangerous fumes and carcinogens on the job. This is really important legislation and while we know somewhat about the cancer risks, we don’t know everything we need to know.” Dr. Martin S. Levine, Interim Clinical Dean, Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, spoke in support of H.R. 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2017, saying that it would “help provide professional health care volunteers with much-needed certainty when serving as volunteers during federally-declared disasters.” Recalling his work as a volunteer in the Elite Athlete Recovery Area at the Boston Marathon for the last 18 years, he highlighted the April 2013 bombing. Dr. Levine recalled, “As one of the first responders at the site of the first blast, I saw blood everywhere and dozens of victims on the ground with severe wounds, mostly below the waist. Many of the victims were missing lower limbs and bleeding profusely, so I and the other responders improvised tourniquets with our belts and identification badge lanyards to staunch the bleeding. … In seconds, we had gone from helping runners recover from the race, to treating spectators with severe trauma – horrific injuries inflicted by a bomb. The medical team at the Boston Marathon is always prepared to treat mass casualties, just not with the type of wounds we saw on that day.” [[{"fid":"2673","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Dr. Levine gives his opening statement as the other #SubHealth witnesses listen. Dr. Jordan Greenbaum, Medical Director, Institute for Healthcare and Human Trafficking, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, spoke in support of H.R. 767, the SOAR to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, saying, the bill “would address the critical need for training of health care providers, enabling them to recognize victims and provide culturally appropriate, trauma-informed, and victim-centered care.” Chairman Burgess echoed Dr. Greenbaum’s comments, stating, “A reported 68 percent of trafficking victims end up in a health care setting at some point, and this can serve as an important chance for providers to step in and help. Having spent nearly three decades practicing medicine, I know that feeling prepared to handle such a difficult situation requires adequate training and protocols. However, the vast majority of providers do not have access to such resources.” Further explaining the need for the bill, Dr. Greenbaum stated, “Despite the criminal nature of human trafficking and the desire of traffickers to elude detection, research consistently shows that victims do have contact with medical professionals. …But we also know that victims rarely self-identify when seeking medical care and may even deny victimization out of fear of the trafficker, lack of perception of their victim status, shame, or humiliation.” Dr. Cheryl D. Watson-Lowry, DDS, American Dental Association, spoke in support of H.R. 2422, the Action for Dental Health (ADH) Act of 2017 stating, “the bill will allow organizations to qualify for oral health grants to support activities that improve oral health education and dental disease prevention and develop and expand outreach programs that facilitate establishing dental homes for children and adults, including the elderly, blind and disabled.” For more information on today’s hearing, including a background memo, witness testimony, and archived webcast, click HERE. ### Read More

#SubCommTech Examines the Future of Emergency Alerting

2017/05/17

WASHINGTON, DC – The Communications and Technology Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today held a hearing examining the country’s emergency alerting systems. #SubCommTech examined technological developments and how they relate to the future of emergency alerting. Members considered the possibilities and challenges related to new methods of alerting the public of impending severe weather, natural disasters, and other emergency situations. [[{"fid":"2671","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] #SubCommTech Chair Blackburn listens to opening statements “Outfitting first responders with the robust capabilities of broadband communications is essential,” said Chairman Blackburn. “In those times when catastrophe looms and the lives of hundreds, thousands, even millions – are at risk or a child is missing, the necessity of ensuring the best available tools are available to local, state, and federal authorities to alert the public cannot be understated.” [[{"fid":"2672","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Witnesses deliver testimony during today’s hearing Christopher Guttman-McCabe, CEO of CGM Advisors, LLC, and testifying on behalf of Advanced Computer and Communications, LLC, discussed software that allows for targeted delivery of emergency alerts. Mr. Guttman-McCabe commented, “The solution allows alert originators and wireless providers to geo-fence messages to any shape and size. As a device-based upgrade, the PG Alert solution leverages the key components of cell broadcast technology to push information into the general alert area and the device’s location awareness to decide who the alert is relevant for and how the alert is displayed on the device.” Dr. Farrokh Khatibi, Director of Engineering at Qualcomm Technology, spoke of the work the wireless industry has done to enhance emergency alerting capabilities, stating, “For example, after careful coordination with alert originators and our federal partners, the wireless industry is taking steps to offer capabilities that will: extend the alert message length from 90 to 360 characters for 4G LTE; improve geographical-targeting; Include embedded references (URLS and phone numbers) in WEA messages; Add a new alert category of Public Safety Information messages; Add Spanish language alerts; Provide state/local alert originators the ability to conduct individual tests of the WEA system in their jurisdictions.” Sam Matheny, Chief Technology Officer at the National Association of Broadcasters, discussed the important role broadcasters play in times of emergency, commenting, “Broadcasters invest heavily to ensure they remain on the air in times of disaster… Because of the strength of the broadcast infrastructure and the power of the airwaves, local radio and TV stations are often the only available communications medium during disaster situations…Broadcasters are willing and ready to make the necessary investments in our infrastructure to provide what we believe will be truly groundbreaking improvements to free, over-the-air television for the benefit of viewers across the country.” “This committee’s commitment to advancing public safety communications is well established. The committee examined Next Generation 911 services and listened to testimony regarding challenges and benefits of bringing the robust capabilities of IP-based technology to our nation’s Public Safety Answering Points. Today’s hearing provided us the opportunity to hear about a third critical component of public safety communications – emergency alerting,” concluded Chairman Blackburn. A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast of the hearing can be found online HERE. ###  Read More

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

2017/05/17

WASHINGTON, DC – With medical innovations on the rise, there’s plenty of reason for patients and their loved ones to have hope for new treatments and cures. The FDA Reauthorization Act (FDARA) of 2017 will boost these innovations, delivering for patients and manufacturers. Watch the videos below to learn more about FDARA. [[{"fid":"2667","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] All too often, our laws and regulations don’t allow medical advancements to be implemented soon enough. FDARA will help these important innovations reach patients sooner and increase competition in the marketplace. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"2668","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] More than two million Americans work in the medical device sector and more than 4 million Americans work in the biopharmaceutical industry. These are important jobs that we need to keep – and grow – here at home. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"2669","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] FDARA improves the process of reviewing and approving innovative new drugs, which increases competition and helps lower costs across the marketplace. Click HERE to watch the video. [[{"fid":"2670","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] Anything is possible with today’s medical advancements. From the idea of an artificial pancreas to reality, FDARA boosts these important efforts enabling patients to live better and healthier lives. Click HERE to watch the video. #SubHealth announced yesterday that it will markup FDARA tomorrow at 10 a.m. Click HERE for more information. ###   Read More

Examining Initiatives to Advance Public Health

2017/05/17

[[{"fid":"2661","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Future of Emergency Alerting

2017/05/17

[[{"fid":"2660","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full"},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full"}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Read More

Committee Leaders Comment on David Redl’s Nomination to Head NTIA

2017/05/17

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), former Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today issued the following statement after President Donald J. Trump announced that the nomination of Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chief Counsel David Redl for the position of Administrator at the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). “David has been with the committee since 2011 and in that time he has been a valuable member of our team. David worked diligently to improve federal and commercial use of spectrum to meet the needs of ever-growing consumer demand for broadband services,” said Walden, Upton, and Blackburn. “David’s experience with the committee and his vast knowledge of communications law and policy makes him well suited to head the agency that will be at the forefront of promoting safe, secure communications networks, broadband deployment, and the efficient use of federally held spectrum.” ### Read More

HEARING: #SubOversight to Examine Zika Virus and State of Public Health Response for Potential Outbreaks

2017/05/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, chaired by Rep. Tim Murphy, M.D. (R-PA), announced a hearing for Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “U.S. Public Health Response to the Zika Virus: Continuing Challenges.” #SubOversight will examine challenges and concerns with the U.S. public health response to the Zika virus outbreak, including the ability to determine the link between Zika and other illnesses, the efficacy and limits of available diagnostic testing, the status of vaccine development, and the federal government’s plan to respond to the potential future spread of the virus. Confirmed to testify are: Timothy Persons, Ph.D., Chief Scientist, U.S. Government Accountability Office Lyle R. Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Division of Vector-Borne Diseases, National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Luciana Borio, M.D., Acting Chief Scientist, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Anthony Fauci, M.D., Director, National Institutes of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health Rick A. Bright, Ph.D., Director, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority; Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services “The Zika virus is still a threat and as we head into the summer months, it’s critical we examine whether our public health agencies are adequately prepared to respond to any Zika outbreaks in the U.S. this year,” said Chairman Murphy. “As we continue this important work, and build on our March 2016 hearing, I look forward to guidance from these experts in helping to identify areas for improvement so our public health agencies are better equipped for future outbreaks – Zika or otherwise.” In addition to the March 2016 hearing examining our preparedness for the Zika virus, #SubOversight also held a February 2016 hearing examining shortfalls in preparedness of our biodefense programs. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

NEXT WEEK #SubDCCP Continues #DisrupterSeries by Examining Business Delivery Services

2017/05/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection, chaired by Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH), today announced a hearing for Tuesday, May 23, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Disrupter Series: Delivering to Consumers.” The variety and choice in the consumer and business-delivery market is rapidly increasing. As technology develops and becomes more readily accessible, the expectation for reaching consumers and businesses in a real-time on-demand economy has grown exponentially. Whether it’s the on-demand delivery of groceries, takeout, formal ware, dry cleaning, or packages, businesses are navigating the complexities of how to disrupt the marketplace in such a way that products and services are delivered much faster, more efficiently, and cheaper than ever before. Next week’s hearing will examine the challenges and opportunities facing companies in this space and the potential this industry holds. “The digital economy has opened up an entirely new realm of possibilities for consumers. Instant downloads, immediate purchases, and at-home deliveries are no longer considered a luxury– it’s now an expectation, as this technology has become ingrained in Americans’ everyday routines,” said Chairman Latta. “Over the last decade, we’ve seen the delivery service industry explode in popularity and disrupt the marketplace to save consumers time, reduce spending, and increase convenience. Next week’s hearing is an opportunity to hear more about the challenges faced by those in the delivery service industry and discuss how Congress can work to ensure these technologies safely deliver benefits to the consumer.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. Read More

#SubHealth to Markup Bipartisan FDA User Fee Reauthorization THURSDAY

2017/05/16

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), has announced it will markup the FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. In April, bipartisan leaders of the Energy and Commerce Committee, along with bipartisan leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, released a discussion draft of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Reauthorization Act of 2017, reauthorizing FDA’s user fee agreements. The draft followed hearings examining the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments (GDUFA) and the Biosimilar User Fee Act (BsUFA), the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA), and the Medical Device User Fee Amendments (MDUFA). “After an informative series of hearings on the individual user fee agreements, we’re ready to advance the underlying bill and proceed with the timely reauthorization of these important programs,” said Chairman Burgess. “The FDA Reauthorization Act of 2017 will ensure that FDA has the tools they need to deliver safe and effective products to patients more quickly.” #SubHealth will also markup two public health bills that the committee held hearings on last Congress – H.R. 1222, the Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2017 and H.R. 2410, the Sickle Cell Disease Research, Surveillance, prevention and Treatment Act of 2017. H.R. 1222 would enhance research and surveillance at the CDC, award grants to further study Congenital Heart Disease, and direct the NIH to report on their ongoing research efforts. H.R. 2410 reauthorizes the sickle cell disease prevention and treatment demonstration program. 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

Committee Leaders Comment on ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware Infection

2017/05/15

WASHINGTON, DC – Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), and Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairman Bob Latta (R-OH), today issued the following statement regarding the ongoing “WannaCry” global ransomware infection crippling thousands of computers in hundreds of countries. “We continue to closely monitor the events surrounding the global ransomware infection and have been in contact with the various agencies and people with knowledge of the situation,” said Murphy, Blackburn, Burgess, and Latta. “We understand the gravity of the situation as this infection has affected businesses, hospitals, and universities across the globe and poses a significant risk to consumer safety, privacy, and data security. We look forward to receiving updates on the situation and eagerly await additional information as it becomes available.” In March, the committee sent letters to the Department of Homeland Security and MITRE Corporation seeking to evaluate the management and performance of the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures program, a government-funded database that tracks cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Last month, #SubOversight held a hearing examining ways to bolster cybersecurity efforts in the health care sector. The hearing struck a unifying theme that regardless of the size or scope of a health facility, everyone faces the risk of an attack and must be prepared. ###  Read More

HEARING: #SubEnvironment to Examine Legislation Related to Nation’s Drinking Water Infrastructure

2017/05/12

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today announced a hearing for Friday, May 19, 2017, at 9:30 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “H.R.___, Drinking Water System Improvement Act and related issues of funding, management, and compliance assistance under the Safe Drinking Water Act.” Building on the subcommittee’s previous work examining drinking water infrastructure needs across the country, #SubEnvironment will hold a legislative hearing examining a discussion draft of legislation that aims to bring greater investment and improvements to our drinking water infrastructure.   “Every American should have access to safe, clean drinking water and this committee has a long track record of examining ways to improve drinking water delivery systems throughout our country,” said Chairman Shimkus. “This discussion draft represents a true starting point, and I’m excited to receive feedback from all stakeholders involved as we work to build on this draft and improve our nation’s drinking water infrastructure.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the legislative hearing will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

Committee Leaders Comment on Administration’s Cybersecurity Executive Order

2017/05/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chairman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), today issued the following statement after President Trump issued an executive order relating to cybersecurity. “Given the importance cybersecurity plays in our daily lives, our economic well being, and its integral role in our nation’s infrastructure, we have to ensure that all federal agencies are adequately prepared and actively working to mitigate the actions of malicious actors across the country and around the globe,” said Blackburn and Upton. “We welcome this review and are looking forward to working with the administration to fortify the nation’s cyber infrastructure.” ###  Read More

NEW REPORT: GAO Says USDA Needs to Take More Action to Reduce Risks of Avian Flu Outbreak

2017/05/11

WASHINGTON, DC – A new report from the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has taken some actions to reduce the risks of an avian flu outbreak, a plan is needed to properly evaluate its efforts. While avian flu rarely infects humans, health experts have been concerned that if a subtype of avian flu develops the capacity to spread easily from person to person, a pandemic could occur. A spike in human cases getting H7N9 avian flu in China in recent weeks is raising such concerns. Another concern with avian flu is the threat to chickens that are needed to produce the eggs used in making critical human flu vaccines, particularly those that would be used against pandemic flu. GAO notes that USDA has “identified 15 areas with lessons learned from its responses to the 2014 and 2016 outbreaks of avian influenza and 308 associated corrective actions,” but USDA does not have a mechanism in place to review their actions. “GAO has previously found that agencies may use evaluations to ascertain the success of corrective actions, and that a well-developed plan for conducting evaluations can help ensure that agencies obtain the information necessary to make effective program and policy decisions.” Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO) told The Washington Post, “We know the devastating impacts of a global pandemic. Now it’s up to the Department of Agriculture to make sure we are prepared and have a plan to combat this threat. Further, ensuring the effectiveness of their plans and procedures are just as important as the plans and procedures themselves.” Click HERE to read the GAO report. [[{"fid":"2659","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] With bird flu surging, U.S. needs to do more to prevent possible pandemic, GAO says May 11, 2017 If the United States were suddenly facing a potential avian influenza pandemic, just one U.S. manufacturer could be counted on to make human pandemic flu vaccine here. And although the chickens that lay the eggs used in the process are themselves susceptible to the virus, until an emergency arises only voluntary and often inadequate measures by poultry producers are in place to protect flocks, according to a new Government Accountability Office report. The report, scheduled for release next week, comes at a time of heightened public health worries about bird flu. One of the deadliest strains, H7N9, is causing a surge in human infections in China this season. Of the nearly 200 people who have died, most had direct contact with poultry or poultry markets. Health officials worldwide are closely monitoring the disease's spread because of the big increase in cases and worrisome changes in the virus. Of all emerging influenza viruses, this strain of H7N9 has the greatest potential to cause a pandemic if it evolves to spread easily from human to human. It also poses the greatest risk to cause serious disease. Controlling the virus in poultry is the main way to reduce human infection and prevent a pandemic, the GAO report says. It focuses primarily on Agriculture Department actions after bird flu outbreaks in 2014 and 2016, which resulted in the deaths of millions of domesticated poultry in 15 states and $2 billion in costs to the federal government and U.S. economy. Despite the lessons learned, the report concludes that federal agencies face “ongoing challenges and associated issues” in mitigating the potential harm of avian influenza. Bird flu outbreaks this spring in Tennessee, Alabama and Kentucky have led officials to euthanize more than 200,000 animals. They are different from the strain of the H7N9 virus currently spreading in Asia, according to Agriculture officials. … Click HERE to read the full article online. ### Read More

Aetna Runs – Not Walks – Away From All Obamacare Markets

2017/05/11

WASHINGTON, DC – Fresh off the heels of last week’s #RateShock headlines in Iowa, Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., Aetna announced that it will not sell plans in any Obamacare marketplaces for the 2018 benefit year. Just last week, Aetna announced it would pull out of Iowa and Virginia. Yesterday’s announcement was to leave the remaining Nebraska and Delaware marketplaces. CNN Money reports on Aetna’s latest news, writing, “The company said it expects to lose more than $200 million in its individual business line this year, on top of nearly $700 million in losses between 2014 and 2016. Aetna withdrew from 11 of its 15 markets for 2017. It has 255,000 Obamacare policyholders this year, down from 964,000 at the end of last year.” With Aetna’s latest departures, Virginians in 27 counties will have only one health care provider to choose from in 2018, and Nebraskans and Delawareans will be left with one insurer each (Medica and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, respectively). And a recent report by the Urban Institute confirms the obvious: the reduction of choices and competition leads to increased costs for patients. Seven years in, the so-called “Affordable Care Act” continues to let people down. Patients want reform, stability, and access to quality and affordable health care. House Republicans have passed a bill that will reduce premiums by double digits and help states fix markets that have been damaged by Obamacare. Even CBO has declared that the state grants through the American Health Care Act’s (AHCA) Patient and State Stability Fund “would reduce the costs to insurers of people with high health care expenditures.” ### Read More

Fact Checks Dispel Hyperbolic Rhetoric Around AHCA

2017/05/11

WASHINGTON, DC – In the aftermath of the House’s passage of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the rumor mill has been hard at work churning out irresponsible claims that simply aren’t true. Below are a few fact checks squashing some of the most outrageous claims. [[{"fid":"2649","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Kamala D. Harris’ claim that 129 million people with preexisting conditions ‘could be denied coverage’ May 10, 2017 …As currently drafted, the provision affects a relatively small portion of the health insurance market — and even then several factors would need to play out before a person faced an issue. Moreover, the Republican plan specifically sets aside billions of dollars to help states create high-risk or invisible health pools to assist people if their health condition results in higher premiums or loss of coverage during the one-year transition period. It’s a valid question about whether the funding is adequate, but that’s different than assuming there is no funding at all. Yet Harris uses a very high figure to suggest that everyone with a preexisting condition is at risk. The gap between her number and the reality of who might be affected is too large to ignore. Update: We initially rated this claim as Three Pinocchios. Considering the totality of Harris’s statement, claiming that as many as 129 million could be denied coverage, we are changing the rating on this fact check to Four Pinocchios. [[{"fid":"2650","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"75","width":"306","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"2"}}]] Click HERE to read the full fact check online. [[{"fid":"2651","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"3"}}]] Despite critics claims, the GOP health bill doesn’t classify rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition May 6, 2017 …The notion that AHCA classifies rape or sexual assault as a preexisting condition, or that survivors would be denied coverage, is false. At least 45 states prohibit insurance discrimination like this. Then, it takes several leaps of imagination to assume that survivors of rape and sexual assault will face higher premiums as a result of conditions relating to their abuse. A person would need to be in the individual or small-group market (most Americans under 65 are on employer-provided plans), in a state that sought waivers, and in one of two to five states that did not prohibit insurance-company discrimination against survivors of sexual abuse. In other words, this claim relies on so many factors — including unknown decisions by a handful of states and insurance companies — that this talking point becomes almost meaningless. We always say at The Fact Checker that the more complicated the topic, the more susceptible it is to spin. Both media coverage and hyperbole among advocates are at fault for creating a misleading representation of the House GOP health bill. We wavered between Three and Four Pinocchios, but the out-of-control rhetoric and the numerous assumptions pushed us to Four Pinocchios. [[{"fid":"2652","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"height":"76","width":"310","class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"4"}}]] Click HERE to read the full fact check online. [[{"fid":"2653","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"5"}}]] Fact Check: Is Congress Exempt From the G.O.P. Health Bill? May 4, 2017 Accusations of hypocrisy greeted the House passage of the amended American Health Care Act on Thursday, as people were outraged — erroneously — by claims that the bill does not apply to Congress. It is true that the bill exempted lawmakers from its provisions. But a subsequent piece of legislation, which the House approved, eliminated the exemption, effectively nullifying that claim. The Senate now will consider both bills. … Click HERE to read the full fact check online. ### Read More

HEARING: #SubHealth to Review Four Bipartisan Public Health Bills

2017/05/10

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX), announced a legislative hearing for Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 10:15 a.m. in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Examining Initiatives to Advance Public Health.” #SubHealth will consider four bipartisan bills seeking to advance public health: H.R. 931, the Firefighter Cancer Registry Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), requires the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and maintain a registry to collect data regarding the incidence of cancer in firefighters. H.R. 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act, authored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) would shield health care professionals from liability under federal or state law when they volunteer their services during a federally declared disaster.  H.R. 767, the Stop, Observe, Ask and Respond (SOAR) to Health and Wellness Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) would provide health care professionals training on how to identify and appropriately treat human trafficking victims. H.R. __, the Action for Dental Health Act of 2017, authored by Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL), would reauthorize CDC oral health promotion and disease prevention programs. The bill would also permit the CDC to award grants or enter into contracts with stakeholders to develop and implement initiatives to improve oral health education, and increase access to dental services. “This subcommittee has a rich history of developing important bills to advance public health and we’ll continue in that effort next week by examining this first set of bills,” said Chairman Burgess. “These bills will make important strides in caring for our first responders, providing critical training for health professionals, and maintaining important resources for oral health and disease prevention.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony for the hearing will be available here as they are posted. ### Read More

#SubCommTech to Examine Nation’s Emergency Alerting Systems

2017/05/10

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, chaired by Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), today announced a hearing for Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at 10 a.m. in room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The hearing is entitled, “Future of Emergency Alerting.”   As the nation’s technology evolves and improves, the subcommittee will take a look at the future of emergency alerting throughout the country. #SubCommTech will consider the possibilities and challenges of new methods of alerting the public of impending severe weather, natural disasters, and other emergency situations.    “Our communications networks are becoming more advanced and providers are taking advantage of technological innovation and advancements with better targeted, more informative emergency alerts,” said Chairman Blackburn. “I’m looking forward to hearing from a variety of stakeholders as to what improvements have been made and what more can be done to ensure the American public is promptly notified of an emergency situation.” The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be available here as they are posted. ###  Read More

Chairman Walden Requests DOE Briefing on Hanford Site

2017/05/10

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) today issued the following statement regarding the tunnel cave-in at the Hanford Site containing contaminated materials and equipment from Cold War operations. "The Energy and Commerce Committee has been in contact with the Department of Energy (DOE) regarding a tunnel cave-in at the Hanford Site.  While there have been no reports of injuries, and no indication of a release of contamination, as Chairman of the committee, I have asked DOE to provide a bipartisan briefing for Members and staff on the situation.  I am continuing to monitor the situation as the facts develop, and I look forward to DOE assisting the committee in understanding the circumstances that contributed to the cave-in and regarding concerns related to operations at the Hanford Site." Read More

Walden and Burgess Comment on Scott Gottlieb’s Confirmation as FDA Commissioner

2017/05/09

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement after the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Scott Gottlieb as the next U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner. “The confirmation of Scott Gottlieb to be the next FDA Commissioner is an important appointment, particularly as we work to reauthorize the agency’s user fees. We are at a critical juncture in the effort to help accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments, and Scott will be an important ally in that journey. We can think of no one better to be at the helm than Scott. He’s a trusted physician, former FDA official, and cancer survivor. Scott’s experiences in all of those capacities make him well-equipped for the vast challenges that await him.” ### Read More

ICYMI: Bipartisan E&C Leaders Press for Information Regarding Amount of Opioids Distributed in West Virginia

2017/05/09

The opioid epidemic has devastated families across the country. The state of West Virginia has the highest drug overdose rate in the nation. In a series of letters to the leading wholesale drug distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), bipartisan committee leaders request detailed information about the shipments of opioids to West Virginia. The Charleston Gazette-Mail reports, “In December, the Gazette-Mail reported that drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia pharmacies over six years. A small pharmacy in Kermit, a Southern West Virginia town with a population of 392, received nearly 9 million hydrocodone pills in just two years, DEA records show.” Energy and commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) told the Gazette-Mail, “These reports shine a light on a problem that many people have wondered about privately and publicly — how are opioids flooding into some of our communities and pharmacies? As we work to combat this epidemic head-on, it’s critical we get answers to why such extremely high numbers of these powerful and addictive painkillers were distributed in small communities in West Virginia and if similar situations are happening elsewhere.” To read the letters, click HERE. [[{"fid":"2632","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] Congress probes WV opioid shipments May 9, 2017 A congressional committee has started an investigation into prescription painkiller shipments to West Virginia. The probe targets the nation’s three largest wholesale drug distributors — McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen. The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee also is looking into whether the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration shirked its responsibility to curtail the flow of highly addictive pain pills into West Virginia. In letters sent Monday, the committee directed the companies and the DEA to turn over records that detail pain pill shipments. The letters cite reports by the Charleston Gazette-Mail, The Washington Post, CNN and MSNBC about prescription opioid sales and lax enforcement. “These reports shine a light on a problem that many people have wondered about privately and publicly — how are opioids flooding into some of our communities and pharmacies?” said House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., and U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., D-N.J., in a joint statement. “As we work to combat this epidemic head-on, it’s critical we get answers to why such extremely high numbers of these powerful and addictive painkillers were distributed in small communities in West Virginia and if similar situations are happening elsewhere.” In December, the Gazette-Mail reported that drug wholesalers shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia pharmacies over six years. A small pharmacy in Kermit, a Southern West Virginia town with a population of 392, received nearly 9 million hydrocodone pills in just two years, DEA records show. “If these reports are true, it would appear that the state of West Virginia may have received extraordinary amounts of opioids from distributors beyond what that population could safely use,” according to the commitee’s letter signed by Walden, Pallone, and U.S. Reps. David McKinley, R-W.Va., Tim Murphy, R-Pa., and Diana DeGette, D-Colo. The committee members added that the reported “possible oversupply” of powerful painkillers suggests “such practices may have exacerbated the opioid problem in the state” as many addicts have switched from prescription pain pills to street drugs like heroin and fentanyl. West Virginia has the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation — and the deaths are rising. At last count, 864 people fatally overdosed on drugs in 2016 — a record number. “The opioid crisis in West Virginia has led to numerous deaths and social challenges for its residents,” committee members said in the letter to distributors. “The state and federal government also have incurred costs of important social and addiction treatment services.” Read the full article online HERE. ###   Read More

Upton Applauds Administration’s Moves to Fill FERC Vacancies

2017/05/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy Subcommittee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), today issued the following statement after the administration nominated two of three appointees to fill the vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). “I applaud the administration’s move nominating Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to fill the open seats at FERC, and I remain hopeful further nominees are on the horizon. From interstate natural gas pipelines and liquefied natural gas terminals to hydropower projects, FERC plays a vital role overseeing and modernizing our nation’s infrastructure,” said #SubEnergy Chairman Upton. “I urge the Senate to consider the nominees as quickly as possible so FERC can return to its mission of providing affordable, reliable, and efficient energy to American consumers.” Earlier this year, full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Subcommittee Chair Upton sent a letter to President Trump urging him to fill the existing vacancies at FERC. ###  Read More

Bipartisan Committee Leaders Demand Answers About Alleged Pill Dumping in Midst of Opioid Crisis

2017/05/09

WASHINGTON, DC – Bipartisan committee leaders sent a series of letters on Monday to pill distributors and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) following recent reports of extremely high amounts of opioids being distributed in the state of West Virginia. The letters were sent by full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR), full committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Oversight, Investigations Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), and Rep. David McKinley (R-WV). Reports by the Charleston Gazette-Mail and The Washington Post tell the tale of an unusually large opioid presence in the state of West Virginia. “For example, in the small community of Kermit, West Virginia, with a population of 392, a single pharmacy received nearly nine million hydrocodone pills over two years,” wrote Walden, Pallone, Murphy, DeGette, and McKinley to the distributors. “The Gazette-Mail’s reporting also cited another example of what they called a ‘mom-and-pop pharmacy’ in the small town of Oceana, West Virginia that received an unusually high level of prescription medicines relative to a nearby pharmacy. In that case, the Gazette-Mail reported this single pharmacy ‘received 600 times as many oxycodone pills’ than a Rite Aid drugstore that was ‘just eight blocks away.’” The committee leaders continued, “If these reports are true, it would appear that the state of West Virginia may have received extraordinary amounts of opioids from distributors beyond what that population could safely use.” In the letter to the acting administrator of the DEA, the leaders requested information about what the DEA knew about the large quantities of opioids being distributed in West Virginia. Committee leaders wrote, “All players in the health care and enforcement community have a responsibility to help prevent opioid abuse, addiction, and diversion, and DEA has been at the forefront of these efforts. With the collective data that DEA has access to, the agency can help identify and respond to suspicious order trends for addictive opioids that appear problematic or excessive. Federal regulation requires distributors to report suspicious orders of narcotics to DEA, which include ‘orders of unusual size, orders deviating substantially from a normal pattern, and orders of unusual frequency.’” The letters are the latest action in the committee’s ongoing opioid investigation, which served as a catalyst for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (now law). Click HERE to read a copy of the letters. ### Read More

Letters to Distributors and the DEA Regarding Alleged Pill Dumping in West Virginia

2017/05/09

Excerpt: "For example, in the small community of Kermit, West Virginia, with a population of 392, a single pharmacy received nearly nine million hydrocodone pills over two years. The Gazette-Mail’s reporting also cited another example of what they called a 'mom-and-pop pharmacy' in the small town of Oceana, West Virginia that received an unusually high level of prescription medicines relative to a nearby pharmacy. In that case, the Gazette-Mail reported this single pharmacy 'received 600 times as many oxycodone pills' than a Rite Aid drugstore that was ‘just eight blocks away.'" To read the letter to AmerisourceBergen Corporation, click here. To read the letter to CardinalHealth, click here. To read the letter to McKesson Corporation, click here. To read the letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration, click here. Read More

DIGITAL RECAP

2017/05/05

WASHINGTON, DC – The Energy & Commerce Committee covered a lot of ground this week, including legislative and oversight hearings in addition to passing major legislation that included committee-led initiatives. #SubHealth kicked off the week holding a bipartisan hearing examining additional medical device provisions in the midst of the user fee process. That same day, #SubOversight examined efforts to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within Medicaid’s Personal Care Services (PCS) program. To wrap up a week of hearings, Wednesday’s #SubEnergy legislative hearing reviewed 10 bills that promote and modernize the nation’s #EnergyInfrastructure. Capping the week off on a high note, the House passed the American Health Care Act which is a monumental step forward in Republicans’ efforts to rebuild our health care system. For more updates on the committee’s activities, be sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. [[{"fid":"2614","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] #SubHealth Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) cracks a smile at a joke made by Ranking Member Gene Green (D-TX) during opening statements. [[{"fid":"2615","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] During Tuesday’s #SubHealth hearing, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) shares his support for the committee’s bipartisan work reviewing the regulation of medical devices in the FDA user fee reauthorization process.   [[{"fid":"2616","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"3":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"3"}}]] #SubOversight Chairman Tim Murphy (R-PA), Rep. Mimi Walters (R-CA) and Chris Collins (R-NY) listen intently as witnesses during Tuesday’s hearing discuss the work they are doing to uncover instances of waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicaid’s PCS program.  [[{"fid":"2617","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"4":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"4"}}]] Tuesday afternoon, Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) met with T-Mobile executives including CEO, John LeGere. [[{"fid":"2618","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"5":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"5"}}]] Seatmates Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and David McKinley (R-WV) laugh ahead of the #SubEnergy hearing examining legislation to modernize pipeline and hydropower infrastructure in the U.S.   [[{"fid":"2619","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"6":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"6"}}]] Reps. Richard Hudson (R-NC), Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) and Bill Flores (R-TX) talk through their questions during Wednesday’s #SubEnergy hearing on strengthening our nation’s #EnergyInfrastructure. [[{"fid":"2621","view_mode":"default","fields":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"8":{"field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"8"}}]] Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) chairs the #SubEnergy hearing during a portion of Wednesday’s legislative hearing examining 10 bills [[{"fid":"2620","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"7":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"7"}}]] Chairman Greg Walden and Health Subcommittee Chairman had an early start to their Thursday morning. The chairmen kicked off their day in the Capitol conducting interviews with MSNBC’s Morning Joe and CNN’s New Day to discuss the groundbreaking American Health Care Act that passed the House floor later that day.       Read More

Three More Strikes for Obamacare

2017/05/05

[[{"fid":"2613","view_mode":"full","fields":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"full","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-full","data-delta":"1"}}]] WASHINGTON, DC – It was another bad week for Obamacare with headlines of possible and confirmed insurer exoduses in states like Iowa and Virginia, and massive double-digit #RateShock for CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield plans in Maryland, D.C., and Virginia. “Medica’s announcement comes on the heels of word last month that Aetna and Wellmark Blue Cross & Blue Shield would pull out of Iowa’s individual health insurance market for 2018. Those are the only three choices for individual health insurance in most areas of the state this year,” writes The Des Moines Register. Making matters worse for Iowans, Gunderson Health Plan, which currently offers health care plans in only five counties in the state, has indicated they are not sure if they will continue to offer plans. CNN Money reports on Aetna’s latest news, writing, “The company said Wednesday that it won't participate in the state's individual market -- either on the Obamacare exchange or outside of it -- in 2018. Though it has greatly downsized its participation in Obamacare, Aetna said it could still lose more than $200 million in its individual market products this year. That's on top of the nearly $700 million it's lost in the three years after the exchanges opened in 2014.” Aetna’s departure in Virginia will leave 27 counties with only one health care provider to choose from in 2018. The Washington Post writes, “Projecting that by year's end the company will have lost a total of $600 million since it started selling plans in the marketplaces four years ago, CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield is requesting a greater than 50 percent rate increase in Maryland, a 35 percent increase in northern Virginia and a 29 percent increase in D.C.” CareFirst’s chief executive cited not enough younger, healthier individuals entering the market to help bring down costs for the older, sicker individuals already in the market. Seven years in, the so-called “Affordable Care Act” continues to let people down. Patients want reform, stability, and access to quality and affordable health care. House Republicans took a big step yesterday to rescue patients from this failing law by passing real solutions to lower costs and expand choice. ### Read More

Walden and Burgess on House Passage of American Health Care Act

2017/05/04

WASHINGTON, DC – House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) and Health Subcommittee Chairman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) today issued the following statement after the House passed H.R. 1628, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), legislation to repeal Obamacare and begin rebuilding our health care system. “For seven years, our constituents, patients, friends, and family have suffered under a one-size-fits-all law that is collapsing under its own weight,” said Chairman Walden and Chairman Burgess. “The American Health Care Act will put patients, families, and their doctors first. It will protect those with pre-existing conditions and provides states with the flexibility they need to help meet the unique needs of their citizens. Simply put, the American people deserve better than what they received under Obamacare and the American Health Care Act delivers on our commitment to rebuild our health insurance markets and provide relief to the American people. We want to thank President Trump, Vice President Pence, and our colleagues in the House who have worked so hard to get this bill over the finish line today. There’s more work to be done, and we know we are up to the task.” ### Read More

Walden Praises Passage of Vital Spending Bill with Committee Priorities

2017/05/03

WASHINGTON, DC – The House of Representatives today passed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017, funding the government and other key priorities through September. Also included in the bill were a number of committee legislative priorities. “I applaud the House for passing this government funding bill through September. It’s important that the agencies and programs under the committee’s jurisdiction remain adequately funded in order to carry out their missions,” said full committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR). “Included in this bill are resources to address some of the most critical issues facing our country, and I’m especially pleased by the inclusion of $801 million to combat the opioid crisis.” The money headed to HHS to combat the opioid epidemic includes $500 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act for the creation of the State Response to Opioid Abuse program, and $20 million for critical programs as authorized in the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), two major committee initiatives. Also included in the spending bill was a $2 billion increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), funding that will help implement the game-changing 21st Century Cures Act. ### Read More

#SubEnergy Examines Legislation Related to Pipeline and Hydropower Infrastructure Modernization

2017/05/03

WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Energy, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), today held a legislative hearing examining 10 bills to promote and modernize the nation’s hydropower and pipeline infrastructure.   The bills #SubEnergy examined today were informed through previous hearings in which the subcommittee reviewed the federal licensing process and recommendations to improve coordination between government agencies, promote new infrastructure, and ensure consumers have access to affordable, reliable electricity generated from hydropower. The subcommittee also held a hearing in February examining the state of America’s evolving energy infrastructure and barriers to innovation, modernization, job creation, and economic growth. The subcommittee examined the following bills at today’s hearing. Discussion Draft, “Hydropower Policy Modernization Act of 2017” Discussion Draft, “Promoting Hydropower Development at Existing Non-Powered Dams Act” Discussion Draft, “Promoting Closed Loop Pumped Storage Hydropower Act”  Discussion Draft, “Promoting Small Conduit Hydropower Facilities Act of 2017” H.R. 1538, “Supporting Home Owners Rights Enforcement Act” H.R. 446, “To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project” H.R. 447, “To extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project” H.R. 2122, “To reinstate and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of a hydroelectric project” Discussion Draft, “Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act”    Discussion Draft, “Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act”   [[{"fid":"2610","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]] Witnesses deliver their opening statements Jeffrey Soth, Legislative and Political Director at the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE), discussed IUOE’s support of the committee’s efforts to improve pipeline permitting and siting, stating, “Regulatory uncertainty and procedural delays during environmental reviews have hindered the growth of jobs related to the pipeline industry. There needs to be an updated, streamlined permitting and regulatory framework ensuring that domestic oil and gas industry flourishes in a safe predictable way…The IUOE supports the ‘Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act’ and the ‘Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act’.” Andrew Black, President and CEO of the Association of Oil Pipelines, discussed his support of the cross-border discussion draft, commenting, “Key to meaningful reform are the discussion draft provisions to: 1) provide a statutory time limit for permit review after any applicable environmental reviews are complete, 2) a presumption of approval reflecting the benefit of reducing dependence on unstable and overseas energy suppliers, 3) limit the border crossing permit scope of review to border crossing issues and impacts, and 4) exemption modifications to existing cross-border facilities because they have no impact on the environment at the border crossing.” Jeffrey Leahey, Deputy Executive Director at the National Hydropower Association, talked about the importance of hydropower as Congress works on modernizing the nation’s energy infrastructure and drafting legislation, stating, “Both the existing system and new hydropower projects have a critical role to play in meeting our nation’s energy, environment, and economic development objectives and much is at stake for hydropower and the families, businesses, and communities that rely on its low-cost, reliable, renewable generation. … A greater recognition that our hydropower infrastructure is incredibly valuable is needed, and continued investment and re-investment in the system is critical to our energy future and national security.” Donald Santa, President and CEO of the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, talked to the importance a quorum being restored at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to speed the up the pipeline approval process, commenting “Allow me to emphasize that a critical element to the timely approval of pipeline infrastructure will be restoring the quorum at the FERC. This is a place where your input with the president and your colleagues in the Senate can do great good. I appreciate the leadership of members of the Committee on Energy and Commerce in urging nomination of candidates as members of the FERC and encourage you to continue doing so.” [[{"fid":"2611","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"2":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"link_text":null,"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"2"}}]] Rep. Olson listening to witness testimony “We began this Congress by picking up where we left off last year, with hearings on the challenges we face to expand hydro and pipeline infrastructure. We’ve heard from job creators, contractors, labor, tribal interest, consumers and private citizens,” said Energy Subcommittee Vice Chairman Pete Olson (R-TX). “As we move forward we will continue to work with states and other federal agencies that have a role to ensure that we balance the need to modernize our infrastructure with important safety, environmental, and consumer protections. Together, these 10 bills represent the beginning of an effort to modernize our energy infrastructure, improve access to affordable and reliable energy, and lower prices for consumers.” A background memo, witness testimony, and an archived webcast can be found online HERE. ###  Read More

Contact Information

2125 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Phone 202-225-2927
Fax 202-225-1919
energycommerce.house.gov


Membership

Greg Walden

OREGON's 2nd DISTRICT

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