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Feb 3, 2023

Chairs Rodgers & Bilirakis Notice Subcommittee Markup of Five Bills

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) today noticed a subcommittee markup of five bills.  “It’s no secret the Chinese Communist Party wants to replace the U.S. as a global economic and technological power. China will do whatever it takes to embed its malevolence into next generation technologies. We look forward to marking up legislation that will ensure the technologies of tomorrow are developed in an ecosystem that promotes America’s values and protects American data from CCP influence.”  WHAT : An Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee markup of five bills DATE: Tuesday, February 7, 2023  TIME: 2PM ET (or 15 minutes after the Energy and Environment Joint Legislative Hearing concludes)  LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The markup will be open to the public and press, and will be livestreamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the markup, please contact Jessica Herron with the Committee staff at Jessica.Herron@mail.house.gov .   Legislation to be considered includes:  H.R. 750 , the “Chinese-owned Applications Using The Information of Our Nation Act of 2023” or the “CAUTION Act of 2023” (Reps. Cammack (R-FL) and Soto (D-FL) introduced on 02.02.2023).   H.R. 784 , the “Internet Application Integrity and Disclosure Act” or the “Internet Application I.D. Act” (Reps. Fulcher (R-ID) and Pappas (D-NH) introduced on 02.02.2023).  H.R. 742 , the “Telling Everyone the Location of data Leaving the U.S. Act” or the “TELL Act” (Reps. Duncan (R-SC), Kaptur (D-OH), and Perry (R-PA) introduced on 02.02.2023).  H.R. 813 , the “ Global Investment in American Jobs Act of 2023” (Rep. Pence (R-IN) introduced on 02.02.2023).  H.R. 752 , the “Securing Semiconductor Supply Chains Act of 2023” (Reps. Eshoo (D-CA) and Pence (R-IN) introduced on 02.02.2023). 



Feb 2, 2023
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Remarks on the Evolving Satellite Communications Industry

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing titled “ Launching Into the State of the Satellite Marketplace .” Excerpts and highlights below: DRASTIC CHANGES IN SATELLITE TECHNOLOGY “It has been over a decade since this subcommittee held a hearing dedicated to understanding the satellite communications marketplace and the FCC’s role in licensing commercial satellite communications systems. “Since then, how satellite technology is used has changed drastically. “Our esteemed panel before us has experience across the full range of satellite communications technologies. “Satellite technology offers a variety of services spanning high-speed broadband and video delivery, to data services that enable precision agriculture and global financial transactions. “This hearing today is the first step this Committee is taking as we look at these novel issues. “In recent years, satellite communications capabilities have dramatically advanced, and satellite operators have identified new ways to serve customers with greater speed and reliability. “Many satellite operators currently operate, or are seeking to operate, different types of satellite constellations. “Some satellite systems operate in geostationary orbit, while others operate closer to Earth in non-geostationary orbit. “Satellite operations are also global in nature, which adds an additional layer of complexity when developing and operating systems. “Because satellite systems rely on radio spectrum to operate, the use of this spectrum raises complex challenges that U.S. and international regulators must address. “In the last few months, satellite operators and cellular carriers have announced partnerships to stretch connectivity further into rural and remote areas. “International standards bodies are also making progress in identifying technical specifications for greater integration of 5G with satellite communications technologies. “These are significant developments that may provide new or enhanced opportunities to connect unserved Americans.” ENSURING AMERICAN LEADERSHIP “We must also ensure continued American leadership in advanced communications services. “In order to do that, our regulations must foster an environment of innovation and certainty. “As countries like China seek to dominate the technologies of the future, we must make the United States an attractive place to invest in cutting edge developments that align with American values and guarantee the availability of trusted satellite communications. “The FCC plays an important role in licensing new or enhanced satellite communications systems, and it is important we understand the current licensing and regulatory process and the impact these rules have on our international competitiveness.”



Feb 2, 2023
Hearings

Chair Rodgers: Next-gen Satellite Technologies Must be Developed in America, not China

Washington, D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA) delivered opening remarks at today’s Communication and Technology subcommittee hearing titled “Launching Into the State of the Satellite Marketplace.” E xcerpts and highlights below: “I would like to congratulate you, Bob Latta, on leading the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology this Congress and to Buddy Carter for becoming the Vice Chair. “Congratulations to you, Ranking Member Matsui, on your new role too. “Under your leadership, I know this subcommittee will lead to help close the digital divide and ensure America leads a new era of innovation and entrepreneurship. “Finally, welcome to all our new members joining the Communications and Technology Subcommittee. “I’m looking forward to all the great work we will do together.” BEATING CHINA “We’re here today to discuss how America can keep pace with the rapidly evolving satellite communications industry. “Countries like China seek to undermine us in a range of advanced communications technologies, including next-gen satellite technology. “We can’t afford to let this happen. “The Chinese Communist Party will do whatever it takes to embed their authoritarianism into next generation technologies like these. “This is a country that spies on its citizens and asserts strict government control over businesses and the economy. “They want to replace the U.S. as the economic and technological power so they can spread their values and vision of the future. “We need to make sure these technologies are developed in an ecosystem that promotes America’s values, not China’s. “As this technology evolves, we must reevaluate and adapt the regulatory environment to make sure America is winning the future, beating China, and continue to push the limits of innovation to solidify American dominance. “Satellite technologies have become vital to the communications marketplace, providing services to connect millions of American homes and businesses. “To ensure the U.S. leadership, we need to foster a regulatory environment that encourages innovation and guarantees that the reliable services they provide remain available to combat bad actors seeking to undermine our national interests.” SATELLITE COMMUNICATIONS MARKETPLACE “This Subcommittee is at the forefront of protecting and enhancing technological innovation in the U.S. “We’re responsible for overseeing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and National Telecommunications and Information Administration. “In recent years, the satellite marketplace has seen a surge of investment because of a combination of lower launch costs to innovations that have made satellites more affordable, reliable, and available. “Some estimates show the space industry could triple to a $1.4 trillion market within a decade. “The FCC has received dozens of applications for new NGSO satellite systems, indicating that the industry is ready to lead in this space. “American satellite operators are providing in-home broadband at faster speeds than ever before as well as key voice and data services to these industries and the Federal government. “Both longstanding operators and newer entrants have made or announced significant investments in next-generation systems. “It’s been far too long since Congress reassessed the role of satellite technology in the communications marketplace and whether or not our regulatory environment encourages investment and innovation in the space economy, or hampers it. “Today’s hearing is our first step in what will be a robust effort to evaluate the state of the satellite marketplace.” LEADING A NEW ERA OF AMERICAN INNOVATION “Many existing and proposed satellite systems raise novel questions about the use of space and spectrum that the FCC’s rules do not address. “For example, large non-geostationary orbit, or NGSO, satellite systems use spectrum more intensely than other types of satellite systems. “These NGSO systems are required to share spectrum, and the rules that govern sharing will be a critical ingredient to their success. “Moreover, the satellite marketplace is global. “Operators from around the world need to be able to license in many different regions, including the U.S. “Because of the global nature of the satellite industry, we need to consider international considerations on the use of spectrum as well as orbital resources that are unique to the industry. “We must lead in this industry, and we must ensure that our regulations encourage this innovation, rather than stifle it. “I look forward to hearing more from our witnesses about the industry and how this Committee can be a partner to promote U.S. leadership, competition, and innovation in satellite communications.”



Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Guthrie Launch E&C’s 118th Congress COVID-19 Origins Investigation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today launched the committee’s investigation into the origins of COVID-19 for the 118th Congress. The members sent letters to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and EcoHealth Alliance for information and documents as well as formally noticing a preservation of documents related to research done at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV).  “With more than a million American lives lost to the COVID-19 pandemic, fully examining all available evidence to have a clearer picture of the origins of COVID-19 is one of the greatest public health responsibilities of our lifetime. For the past two years, Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans have been pursuing an in-depth investigation into the early days of SARS-CoV-2 with an emphasis on the virus’ origins,” said Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Guthrie. “Despite severely inadequate cooperation to date from the NIH and EcoHealth, we expect greater responsiveness to our Republican majority—either voluntarily or through the Committee’s authority. As we learned in yesterday’s oversight hearing, the stakes are too high with the growing risks of future pandemics for our nation not to unite behind stronger efforts to investigate the origins of pandemics. We will continue to pursue the facts related to how NIH spends taxpayer dollars and to what extent it was involved in potentially dangerous research in a hostile nation within a lab that was not at an adequate biosafety level. Bringing the truth to light is crucial in our efforts to help restore public trust in our government institutions.”  The letters come in the lead up to a February 8, 2023, joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Subcommittee on Health hearing titled: “ The Federal Response to COVID-19 ” at which Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., PhD., Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director at the NIH, is confirmed to testify.  KEY NIH LETTER EXCERPT:   “The COVID-19 pandemic is a catastrophic biological incident resulting so far in the deaths of more than a million Americans and more than 6 million people worldwide. The threat of similar pandemics is increasing. As the Government Accountability Office (GAO) noted, globalization, climate change, and urbanization has increased the probability, intensity, and frequency of catastrophic biological incidents. A study in 2021 found a high probability of observing pandemics similar to COVID-19 (probability of experiencing it in one’s lifetime is 38 percent), which may double in coming decades. The global proliferation of high-containment laboratories has similarly increased the probability of a catastrophic biological incident caused by the escape of a pandemic pathogen. “  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Dr. Tabak.  KEY ECOHEALTH ALLIANCE LETTER EXCERPT:   “As noted by the NIH and in EcoHealth’s correspondence with NIH, EcoHealth failed to obtain laboratory notebooks and electronic files of transgenic mice experiment(s) conducted by the WIV as a research activity supported by the NIH grant. This material failure violated the NIH grant terms and conditions. There is no evidence that the work from the experiment(s) was ever published. There is no substantiation of the experiment(s) other than the WIV’s assertions to EcoHealth that included inconsistent and incomplete data representations. Thus, there was no scientific work product produced for the American taxpayers who helped finance these efforts, and no useful information to support pandemic preparedness efforts. Further, EcoHealth's lack of monitoring of the WIV research in accordance with NIH grant terms presented additional biosafety risks, raising questions about the possibility that WIV biosafety lapses could have contributed to the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.”   CLICK HERE to read the full letter to EcoHealth Alliance President Dr. Peter Daszak.  CLICK HERE to read more about the Energy and Commerce Republicans COVID-19 origins investigation. 



Feb 1, 2023
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Griffith Opening Remarks on Investigating Pandemics

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing titled “ Challenges and Opportunities to Investigating the Origins of Pandemics and Other Biological Events. ” Excerpts and highlights below:  THE DAMAGE COVID-19 CAUSED   “Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to our first Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Hearing of the 118th Congress. I would like to congratulate Ranking Member Kathy Castor on her appointment.  “This afternoon’s subcommittee hearing will explore the importance of pandemic origin investigations as a means of bolstering our country’s pandemic preparedness and biodefense capabilities.  “To date, over one million Americans have died from COVID-19. The pandemic brought our country to a standstill. It cost our economy around $15 trillion dollars in economic damage.   “Businesses were shut down, schools were closed. The nation is still recovering from the pandemic’s impact and the damage it caused.   “It has been a little over three years since COVID-19 emerged and questions on its origins remain. Given the toll the virus has taken, that is unacceptable.”   CONCERNS SURROUNDING RISKY RESEARCH   “I believe the substantial circumstantial evidence favors COVID-19 emerging due to a research-related incident.  “But this committee will continue to investigate the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic since we have jurisdiction over public health and federal biomedical research.  “Today, though, we will look beyond the COVID-19 pandemic and understand what structures, technologies, and capacities are needed to more clearly investigate the origins of disease outbreaks in the future. “Being able to quickly identify the root cause of a disease outbreak or biological incident has important benefits ranging from countermeasure development to differentiating between whether an outbreak was due to a deliberate release, an accidental release, or a natural event.   “By all accounts, the risk of catastrophic biological incidents and infectious disease pandemics is increasing.   “As the world becomes more connected, barriers that once helped limit disease from spreading across the globe are removed. Further, human-animal interactions are increasing as well.   “The last two decades have seen a global proliferation of laboratories conducting research on potential pandemic pathogens, increasing the possibility that future pandemics may have a research-related origin.  “Of the approximately 60 bio-safety level 4 labs, which are designed to work on the most dangerous of pathogens, around the globe, at least 20 have been built in the last decade. More than 75 percent of these labs are located in urban centers where a virus, if it escaped, could spread with ease.   “As an aside, the Wuhan Institute of Virology appears to have conducted at least some high-risk coronavirus research at a biosafety level 2 lab.   “In the United States, we have recently seen high-risk research done to intentionally modify pathogens, such as NIH’s experiments to enhance monkeypox’s virulence, as well as conflicting reports as to what coronavirus research Pfizer is conducting to anticipate future variants.”   PREVENTING THE NEXT PANDEMIC   “Although there’s little we can do to predict the timing of the next outbreak, there’s a lot we can do now to prepare for the next outbreak.  “Currently, there is no coordinated whole of government plan for investigating the origins of a disease outbreak or a biological incident. However, as our witnesses will testify today, a coordinated approach across the government, academia, and the private sector is needed.   “The focus of today’s hearing will be a Government Accountability Office (GAO) technical assessment on technologies and challenges for investigating the origins of pandemics.   “This study was conducted at the request of all 26 Republican members on the Committee in June 2021, and is based on insights GAO gained by working with the National Academies of Science and the leading pandemic experts in the U.S.   “This GAO report is significant because it is believed to be the first stand-alone, detailed document that specifically identifies what technologies and areas of scientific expertise are needed to conduct rigorous pandemic origin investigations.   “Existing pandemic preparedness plans have mentioned the need for investigating the origins of pandemics but have neither spelled out the challenges nor the specifics for how to conduct an effective probe.  “One of the challenges laid out in the report is the need for investigators to have more access to samples from early cases in order to be effective in determining the pandemic’s origin. We must address this issue since some government organizations, including the Government of the Chinese Communist Party, have a history of withholding this type of information.   “This report and upcoming hearing can provide the basis for a bipartisan effort to improve our biodefense strategies by incorporating details on investigative approaches and taking the recommended actions.   “Speaking for the Republicans on this subcommittee, we look forward to working with our Democrat colleagues constructively to deliver solutions and pave a path forward for America to work in common purpose for the greater good.  “I eagerly await today’s discussion and learning more about how best to address these complex issues. I thank the witnesses for being here today and being part of this important discussion.” 



Feb 1, 2023
Hearings

Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, and Guthrie Announce Joint Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee and Health Subcommittee Hearing on COVID-19 Response

Members Request Testimony from CDC, FDA, NIH, and ASPR Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today announced a joint hearing of the Oversight and Investigations and Health subcommittees. It will focus on the federal government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.    “With more than one million Americans lost to the pandemic and our government health agencies having lost the American public’s trust due to misguided mandates and lockdowns, it’s critical to thoroughly examine all aspects of the pandemic response. This is the first of a series of hearings and investigations that our committee will conduct. It’s imperative that we hear from these government health agencies to uncover what decisions were made and why, hold individuals accountable for errors, bolster our pandemic preparedness moving forward, and start on the long road to rebuilding public trust in our institutions.”    Joint Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Subcommittee on Health Hearing Titled: “The Federal Response to COVID-19.”   WHAT : A hearing to examine and discuss the past, present, and future of the federal response to COVID-19.  DATE : Wednesday, February 8, 2023  TIME : 10:00 AM ET  LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES:    Dr. Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S., PhD. , Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director, National Institutes of Health  The Honorable Robert Califf, M.D., Commissioner of Food and Drugs, U.S. Food and Drug Administration  Dr. Rochelle P. Walensky, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  The Honorable Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press, and will be livestreamed onlin e at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Lauren Eriksen or Jolie Brochin with the Committee staff at Lauren.Eriksen@mail.house.gov and Jolie Brochin@mail.house.gov .



Chairs Rodgers’ Opening Remarks on Strengthening American Competitiveness and Beating China

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered opening remarks at today’s Innovation, Data, and Commerce subcommittee hearing titled “Economic Danger Zone: How America Competes to Win the Future Versus China.”  Excerpts and highlights below:   “Welcome to the inaugural first hearing of the Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee for the 118th Congress.   “I’d like to congratulate my good friend, Gus Bilirakis, the new Chair of this Subcommittee and would also congratulate my good friend Tim Walberg, the new Vice Chair of the Subcommittee.”  FIGHTING TO WIN THE FUTURE   “This committee plays a vital role in advancing American competitiveness and global technological leadership.   “It’s critical that we use this panel to ensure that America -- not China -- is setting rules of the road for technologies of tomorrow.   “It’s no secret the CCP wants to replace the U.S. as a global economic and technological power.   “Whether it’s artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, or smart devices, China wants to dominate these new and emerging technologies.  “But China’s vision of the future is not one that welcomes American values, values like freedom of speech, privacy, entrepreneurial enterprise, individual rights, or the rule of law.   “The CCP, on the other hand, spies on its citizens and asserts strict government control over businesses and the economy.   “We need to make sure these technologies of the future are developed in an ecosystem that promotes America’s values, not China’s.    “This is not a race we can afford to let them win.”   PRIVACY   “We must work together to cement America’s global technological leadership.  “We should start by passing comprehensive privacy and data security protections with one national standard.    “We made history last year when we passed the bipartisan, bicameral American Data Privacy and Protection Act 53-2.    “But our work isn’t over yet, as we have already fallen behind other countries in establishing a national privacy law   “I want to thank Mr. Pallone, Ms. Schakowsky, and of course Mr. Bilirakis for their leadership on this.’m eager to continue that work. This is a top priority for Americans and needs to be achieved through Congress.”  WINNING THE FUTURE   “It’s important that we also take action to ensure the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles.   “The regulatory framework for AVs must be led by the U.S.    “Again, this comes down to our values vs. The CCP’s. America values the importance of the safety of our citizens – China does not. We value our workforce and free market economics – China does not. We value civil society groups, and their right to speak freely – China does not.   “To win the future, the U.S. must lead on AVs. We must chart the path so the road is one we design.   “This can be the year we finally push past the barriers which have derailed the SELF DRIVE Act and other legislation from becoming law.  “We can also build on the American COMPETE Act, legislation I sponsored in the 116th Congress, on promoting emerging technologies, which was enacted with provisions from many members of this committee.”   ENCOURAGE INNOVATION AND REMOVE RED TAPE   “The best way to beat China is to spur innovation and remove unnecessary, burdensome regulatory barriers. We cannot, and shouldn’t even try, to beat China at their own game of massive government handouts and centralized industrial policy.   “We won’t outspend them and authorizing billions of taxpayer dollars without removing burdensome red tape will only lead to waste.   “Instead, we need to encourage innovation, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship, the backbones of our economy, and that can only be achieved with a government that encourages low barriers to entry for innovative technologies and startups and the adoption of emerging technologies that will improve people’s lives.    “Ensuring federal agencies' actions don’t put undue burden on businesses and innovators will be a top priority this Congress.”   “Whether it’s ensuring people’s online information is secure, charting an achievable path towards AV development and deployment in the U.S., or setting the global standards for AI and other emerging technologies, this subcommittee is at the center of it.  “I look forward to working with every member on this panel to preserve our global leadership, strengthen our economic and national security, and beat China... my door is always open.  “I want to thank all the witnesses for your being here today.   “Your testimony will be crucial in educating our work moving forward this Congress.” 



Feb 1, 2023
Hearings

Health Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks at Health Subcommittee Hearing

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee hearing titled: “ Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities .”  As prepared for delivery: “As we turn the page on both 2022 and the 117th Congress, thousands of Americans and their families are still reeling from failures by this Administration and the last Congress to meaningfully address one of the greatest public health threats of our lifetimes: the fentanyl crisis.”  RISE OF FENTANYL   “Over the past several years, the United States has seen an historic rise of drug overdoses, driven by an increased supply of synthetic opioids, such as illicit fentanyl analogs. In 2021 alone, there were over 107,000 drug overdoses reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and over 60,000 of these were caused by synthetic opioids. My home state of Kentucky experienced a 14 percent jumped in drug overdose deaths between 2020 and 2021, with over 70 percent of these deaths being caused by fentanyl alone. You sadly cannot go a week without reading or hearing about stories of mothers, sons, sisters, brothers, cherished friends, and even babies, losing their lives to a fentanyl overdose.  "How could this be possible? We don’t have to look farther than the crisis right now at our southern border. Since October of last year, our border patrol authorities have already seized over 7,000 pounds of illicit fentanyl at our Southwest Border. This is on top of the over 14,000 pounds of illicit fentanyl seized the year prior. The dual crises, both the fentanyl and border crisis, have effectively turned every community across the United States into a border community." HALT FENTANYL ACT   “Fortunately, this very subcommittee has the ability to take action and do what we know will work to help keep illicit fentanyl out of our communities and save lives. One of the bills before us here today, H.R. 467, the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act, also known as the HALT Fentanyl Act, would take the critical step of permanently scheduling all fentanyl-related substances as Schedule I drugs under the Controlled Services Act. Congress has enacted temporary extensions several times over the last few years. These continued temporary solutions are not sustainable – we need a permanent solution and must pass the HALT Fentanyl Act now. Doing so will be my top priority for as long as I am Chair of the Health Subcommittee.  “I want to address the demand for illegal and dangerous drugs here in the United States while simultaneously focusing on support for recovery resources for those who want help. We will have an opportunity later this year to reauthorize key parts of the SUPPORT Act and will be able to examine how to get people into recovery and keep them safe. But if we’ve learned anything over the past few years, it’s that these illicit fentanyl analogs are an entirely different class of drugs than any other deadly substances that our country has faced thus far and have the ability to make other illegal drugs that much more lethal.”  BLOCK, REPORT, AND SUSPEND SUSPICIOUS SHIPMENTS ACT   “Further, The Block, Report, and Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act, introduced by one of our newest Subcommittee members Representative Harshbarger, would also address the overdose crisis. This bill would require drug manufacturers and distributors to report all suspicious of controlled substances to the Drug Enforcement Agency and require these entities to decline to fill such orders. Fighting the overdose epidemic necessitates a multipronged approach and a strong partnership between the public and private sectors, which this legislation accomplishes. I thank Representative Harshbarger for leading on this issue.  “The other important pieces of legislation before us today are equally as focused on protecting the sanctity of life. The 9-8-8 Lifeline Cybersecurity Act would ensure that the lifesaving 9-8-8 suicide and crisis hotline is protected from cyber vulnerabilities. This comes after the lifeline suffered a cyber-attack, in early December, which resulted in an hours-long outage of the lifeline. This cannot happen again, and I look forward to moving this bill through committee.  “Finally, we are examining legislation to permanently ban the use of quality-adjusted life years in all publicly funded health care programs, like Medicare and Medicaid. It is long overdue for Congress to take the necessary step of banning QALYs, which the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act that’s before us today would finally achieve. Such policies arbitrarily put a value on someone’s life and are especially discriminatory toward those living with disabilities. A life worth living is always a life worth saving, regardless of someone’s health status. I know this bill is personally very important to Chair Rodgers.  “I urge all of my colleagues on the subcommittee to support these four bills before us today.”



Feb 1, 2023
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Health Subcommittee Hearing

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee hearing titled: “ Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities .”  As prepared for delivery: “Welcome to our legislative hearing titled, 'Lives Worth Living: Addressing the Fentanyl Crisis, Protecting Critical Lifelines, and Combatting Discrimination Against Those with Disabilities.' “We will hear from a diverse panel on how we can advance solutions that will help people in need of hope and healing in our communities."  FACES OF THE FENTANYL CRISIS “Last month, Energy & Commerce Republicans held a roundtable on the fentanyl crisis.    “We heard from Deb and Ray Cullen who lost their son, Zach.   “They told us they will never forget the moment the police showed up to their door asking if they were Zach’s parents.   “He was just 9 days past his 23rd birthday when he was targeted and poisoned by a drug dealer.    “Today, we’ll hear from Molly Cain from my hometown of Spokane, Washington.   “She lost her son Carson to a fentanyl poisoning when he was also 23 years old.   “Deb, Ray, and Molly have experienced immeasurable pain from losing their children, and they deserve justice.   “That is why Reps. Griffith and Latta are leading on the HALT Fentanyl Act.   “This bill would permanently place fentanyl-related substances into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act and make sure that our law enforcement can keep these weapons-grade poisons off our streets.   “Unfortunately, the administration is proposing to treat these deadly poisons differently from fentanyl and other currently scheduled fentanyl related substances.   “The administration supports exempting the entire class from mandatory minimums that are typically imposed upon drug traffickers, preventing law enforcement from stopping those who bring deadly substances into our communities.    “If the temporary legislation were to expire, it would mean the criminals who killed people like Zach and Carson could keep trafficking these lethal substances with little consequences. So, let’s make it permanent.    “I am hopeful that we can work together on the both sides of the aisle will work with us to punish those who make, import, and distribute these poisons to our children.   “I also want to recognize Rep. Harshbarger’s leadership in introducing the Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act.  “The opioid epidemic is fueled, in part, by suspiciously large shipments of pain medication being delivered across the country – particularly in places like Tennessee and West Virginia.    “This bill would help stop this practice and save lives by requiring drug manufacturers and distributors that discover a suspicious order for controlled substances to halt the order and report the information to DEA.”  PROTECTING CRITICAL LIFELINES “Additionally, just last month, we learned about a cyber-attack on the 9-8-8 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.   “This lifeline is a network of local crisis centers that provides emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.   “It’s a critical tool that was established by the bipartisan work of this Committee, and we must ensure that it is protected from future cyber threats.     “Rep. Obernolte’s 9-8-8 Lifeline Cybersecurity Responsibility Act would do just that – it requires coordination and reporting to improve cybersecurity protections for the 988 lifeline.”  COMBATTING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES “Finally, we will discuss why we must take action to protect people with disabilities with the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act.   “It would ban Quality-Adjusted Life Years or QALYs that discriminate against people with disabilities and patients with debilitating or life-threatening health conditions.    “QALYs undervalue treatments for patients who have shorter life spans than others.   “In countries with QALY’s, the most vulnerable get pushed to the back of the line for treatment. People like those with cystic fibrosis, ALS, and people like my son with Down syndrome.   “The government says their lives don’t matter. They aren’t valuable enough.   “In America—where we have led the world in amazing medical breakthroughs and innovation—we must ban QALY’s and strongly affirm that every life is worth living.   “It is my sincere hope we can move forward on this bill in a bipartisan way.   “Families need hope—not a government that has power over life and death. “There is inherent dignity in every human life.     “That is what we are coming together around today in our first legislative hearing this Congress, and I look forward to learning more today on how we can work together to promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.”