Blog Updates

Jan 27, 2023
Big Tech

E&C Republicans Hold Roundtable on the Dangers of Big Tech and the Fentanyl Poisoning Crisis

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans held a roundtable this week to discuss the dangers Big Tech poses to American children amidst the fentanyl poisoning crisis. The members heard from and engaged in a discussion with the following panelists: Amy Neville , Founder, Alexander Neville Foundation Carrie Goldberg , Owner, C.A. Goldberg, PLLC Laura Marquez-Garrett , Attorney, Social Media Victims Law Center Sheriff John Nowels , Sheriff, Spokane County, WA Below are highlights from the round table: CHAIR RODGERS: “We’re here today because we’ve all heard from constituents about the dangers that they and their children face online. In many instances, big tech companies have failed to be good stewards on their platforms. “We’ve seen numerous reports detailing how big tech encourages addictive behaviors in our children to keep them glued to their screens and fails to protect their users from malicious actors on their platforms like drug dealers—targeting vulnerable populations with counterfeit drugs laced with fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances. Every day more Americans die from illicit fentanyl-related poisoning.” MS. NEVILLE: “One sunny day in June of 2020, I was preparing to take my 14-year-old son, Alexander, to the orthodontist. I went to his room to wake him, and there he laid, looking like he was just asleep on his bean bag chair—except he wasn’t sleeping. Alex was dead. His father tried CPR, the paramedics tried naloxone, but it was too late. Alex had taken a pill he believed to be OxyContin, turned out that it was a counterfeit pill made with fentanyl. That fake pill had enough fentanyl in it to kill four people. We only had him 14 years.” MS. GOLDBERG: “What you’re going to hear today is that almost all fentanyl poisonings have three things in common. Number one: the purchaser was a teenager. Number two: they had no intention of buying fentanyl but thought that they were purchasing something recreational. And number three: the transaction occurred through the online platform Snapchat.” MS. MARQUEZ-GARRETT: “We now represent more than 47 families whose children have been harmed or have died because of fentanyl poisoning. 43 of those 47 children are dead. Almost half of those children were under the age of 18, as young as the age of 13.” SHERIFF NOWELS: “Social media and electronic communication are a significant tool that our drug traffickers are using to impact our communities negatively. We have had to make significant investment in law enforcement to keep up with technology. “We are finding as time goes on that there are more and more online ways to communicate and distribute drugs than we can even keep up with. “We need help to combat this. Our drug dealers are all-too-often allowed to operate in secrecy. This is a significant issue in every community in this country. We need help to hold people accountable who are poisoning our children.” Check out these tweets from Energy and Commerce Committee members who participated in the roundtable:

E&C Republicans Host Inaugural Roundtable on the Unaffordable Energy Costs Burdening Americans

Energy and Commerce Republicans, led by Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), hosted a roundtable yesterday to discuss how people across the country are struggling with unaffordable energy costs caused by President Biden’s war on American energy. The panelists who participated in the roundtable discussion included: Dan Alsaker , President of Alsaker Corporation Jeff Eshelman , President and CEO, Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) David Hickman , Co-Owner and Operator of Dublin Farms, Inc. Donna Jackson , Project 21 Director of Membership Development Highlights from yesterday’s roundtable:  Chair Rodgers: “Our first event here of the 118th Congress is to focus on what has become unaffordable energy costs [in America]. We have an opportunity this congress to address what American families and businesses are facing and what they’re suffering from – some of the highest energy prices we’ve seen in decades.”  Mr. Alsaker (Panelist): “One of the things that I have to bring to your attention is that we employ about 400 people… but right now, hiring people, getting them to work, getting them affordable housing, getting them affordable energy to get to work, has lessened our staff down to about 300… and I need 400.”  Mr. Eshelman (Panelist): “Just yesterday, the Consumer Product Safety Commission came out with a report that they’re going to ban new natural gas stoves. They’re determining what kind of fuel you can use in your house, what kind of stoves you can cook with, what kind of cars you can drive. This is a personal intrusion that is happening across America into your personal lives, into your homes.”  Mr. Hickman (Panelist): “This is the most perilous time I think for American agriculture... the option farmers have today is: are they going to reduce fertilizer inputs, which will reduce yields in the long term… the world certainly doesn’t want [that] because it’s going to drive food prices even higher.”  Ms. Jackson (Panelist): “However tough high energy costs are on the middle class, it’s even worse for those who are trying to get to the middle class. The people that I represent, they are not coming to me and asking for government handouts... they’re asking for the opportunity to create their own economic freedom.” Rep. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX): “Available, affordable energy, independent petroleum producers, the State of Texas, we stand ready. The difficulties are above the ground, not below the ground geologically. It’s self-inflicted.” Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH): “I had somebody come up to me not long ago in my district that told me that their monthly budget [which] was $100 a month is now $160 a month for their natural gas. They said, ‘what are we going to do to make that up? Are we just going to cut back on something else?’” Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY): “The people who are the most ardent climate change people pretend they’re for the downtrodden and so forth… [but] it limits people from moving forward if you don’t have reliable and sustainable energy.” Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA): “We need to stop thinking that we’re going to solve everything with renewables. They’re important, but we can’t do it all with renewables.” Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL): “[Permitting] is affecting my state of Florida with regard to the prices. We have a 42 percent increase over the national average.” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) : “After the crippling inflation of the last couple of years, the high energy prices, [and] the massive amount of rush-to-green spending, our constituents did not get a return on their investment. They got a lower standard of living, a lower quality of life.” Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D. (R-IN): “The Biden administration’s anti-American approach has let down my constituents. For the past two years, Hoosiers in southwest and west-central Indiana have experienced high energy costs… these high costs have impacted businesses across my district, farmers, manufacturers, electricity providers, and small businesses on Main Street.” Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI): “A constituent of mine in Addison, Michigan is paying over $300 a month for propane to heat his home and $200 a month for electricity. $500 just to keep the lights on and the winter chill out.” Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA): “Georgia is the number one forestry state in the country... I’ve had so many foresters call me, and I’m not exaggerating, so many tell me ‘the price of diesel fuel is so high. I’m not going to be able to stay in business.’” Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC): “The United States’ abundance of natural gas has helped do more to lower our carbon emissions than anything else. I think an effort to bring more nuclear power online and utilize more natural gas in this country are important steps in both lowering energy costs but also lowering our carbon emissions.” Rep. Gary Palmer (R-AL): “The war in Ukraine did not create the energy crisis. It exposed it.” Rep. Neal Dunn, M.D. (R-FL): “When President Biden took office, he wasted no time targeting the American energy sector. We know what happened next. Energy prices skyrocketed and Americans are paying the price. The Biden administration is responsible for the American people paying more at the pump and in the grocery store.” Rep. John Curtis (R-UT): “The impact of preventing climate change is worse than the impact of climate change. It doesn’t need to be that way. The more we look at the natural gas world, the more we realize that some of the very keys to a cleaner planet also are the same keys to energy independence, to a strong economy, and to low energy prices.” Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ): “I’m passionate about energy issues because it’s vital to every aspect of our lives.” Rep. Greg Pence (R-IN): “ I spent part of my career as National Director of Fuel for Circle K [convenience and gas stores] so I delivered fuel where it needed to be, when it needed to be… [sometimes] for many, many miles. You can get liquid fuel somewhere, you can’t get electricity anywhere it needs to be.” Rep. John Joyce, M.D. (R-PA): “American energy production, we all recognize, is safe, it’s clean, it’s the most efficient in the world. And yet at every turn, the Biden administration is putting up roadblocks for domestic production. Our successful future for energy independence is based on clean natural gas, it is based on advanced nuclear power, it is based on utilizing the energy sources under the feet of my constituents in Central Pennsylvania.” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND): “I really care that we’re increasing the cost per bushel, per acre on a wheat field... The government is the reason your bread is more expensive.”

Leader Rodgers: Securing America’s Energy Grid Will Be a Top Priority Next Congress

House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) sat down with The Hill’s Steve Clemons to share the importance of securing America’s grid, energy security, the need for permitting reform, and her plans for leading the Energy and Commerce Committee in the next Congress. Below are highlights from her remarks: SECURING OUR GRID “Making sure that we have reliability is foundational. We’re putting more demands on the grid all the time. “It is [important to] make sure that we are investing in that energy infrastructure.” […] “As we’re putting more devices and more demands on the grid, it means that there’s more opportunities for bad actors to attack. “Whether it’s a physical attack or a cyber attack, there are more vulnerabilities. “When you think about our economy, our competitiveness, making sure that we have reliable, affordable energy and that our grid is able to meet all those demands [is essential].” STRENGTHENING OUR ENERGY SUPPLY CHAINS “Advanced nuclear reactors, next generation technology for nuclear power, [can help us] meet our [baseload] needs. “We need low enriched uranium and right now we get too much of that from Russia. It is a damper on our ability to continue to lead in the small nuclear reactors, the advanced nuclear reactors, and this is one example. “We used to mine uranium in my district. We don’t do that anymore.” […] “Now, America is realizing that we have shut down mining access to critical strategic minerals and become dangerously dependent on other countries.” PERMITTING REFORM IS ESSENTIAL “There’s a growing recognition across the ideological spectrum that we need to address permitting in the United States of America. “We can continue to uphold our high environmental standards. Cleanest water, cleanest air than most countries around the world. We’ve led the world. “What we need in permitting is certainty. “Whether you want to build a solar farm or build a nuclear plant, it takes way too long. It takes years, decades in some cases, and all of that means more cost and it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to do anything. “When it comes to energy infrastructure and investing in the energy infrastructure of the future, we must address permitting. I think it’s the single biggest barrier to us being able to really move forward right now, to do anything.” […] “For as long as I’ve been in Congress, I have been advocating for permitting reform. “I come from Washington state — we’re 70 percent hydropower. There’s hydropower in every state in the union. We could double hydropower without building a new dam. “[But] it takes 10 years on average to relicense a dam. That’s way too long and that’s repeated over and over in every sector. “As the incoming chair of Energy and Commerce, I am excited to go to work on this.” IMPROVING CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE RESILIENCY “We need to learn more and have hearings around the growing threat around cyber attacks. “On the Energy and Commerce Committee, we are at the forefront of energy, health care, telecommunications, and technology. “I believe it’s important that we address [cyber security] sector by sector where the experts, those that are on the frontlines, have the opportunity to come in and tell us what they’re experiencing.”

Dec 9, 2022

Biden’s Open Border Policies Will Pour Gasoline on Fentanyl Crisis

In  less than two weeks , Title 42 or the “remain in Mexico” policy is set to expire. The policy was implemented during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic by the previous administration to slow the influx of illegal border crossings, which has risen to all-time high under President Biden. Since he took office, more than four million illegal immigrants have been apprehended crossing the southern border. While Title 42 will be lifted due to court order, the Biden administration has been working to reverse the policy, claiming it was no longer necessary for pandemic reasons. Never mind the fact that President Biden, who has  stated that the pandemic is over ,  continues to abuse COVID-19 pandemic emergency powers . When asked if he was planning to go to the border, this week, President Biden quipped that “ there are more important things going on .” Parents who lost a child to fentanyl poisoning as well as our border patrol agents—who have been attacked by this administration while trying to do an impossible job—likely disagree. The United States is facing a poisoning epidemic caused by fentanyl and its related substances that are pouring over our southern border. Last year, more than 100,000 Americans died of a drug overdose or poisoning, with 70,000 dying from fentanyl or its analogs. President Biden’s own officials  confirmed  these substances are coming across the Southern Border. President Biden’s assertion that there are “more important things going on” than the border crisis is misguided and offensive. Because of President Biden’s open-border policies—and disregard for the crisis at our southern border—every state is now a border state. Energy and Commerce Republicans are committed to securing the border and stopping the scourge of fentanyl in communities across America. That’s why we’re leading on the  HALT Fentanyl Act  to permanently give law enforcement the tools they need to keep fentanyl off our streets. In the new Congress, Energy and Commerce Republicans will work to hold President Biden and his administration accountable for  their failures to address the ongoing crisis  at the border. We cannot allow the lawlessness and tragedy to continue to tear apart our communities. Read what Energy and Commerce have to say:

Dec 1, 2022

E&C Republicans to Biden: Stop Pandering to Dictators When We Can Produce Energy Here

President Biden continues to turn to foreign dictators and adversaries for energy, rather than encouraging more oil and gas production here at home. Over the weekend, President Biden  issued permits  to drill oil in Venezuela. Earlier this month, he vowed “ no more drilling ” in the United States. Instead of reversing course on his rush-to-green agenda and war on American energy, President Biden is ceding our global leadership by making it easier for foreign dictators to profit off American consumers and use energy as a weapon. Energy and Commerce Republicans are calling President Biden and his administration out. If they were serious about reducing emissions and helping lower prices for Americans, they would flip the switch and unleash clean, reliable energy production here at home. READ: Key quotes from the  Fox Business  article: Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA):  “Instead of getting serious about flipping the switch for more energy production here in the U.S.—which would help lower energy costs and reduce emissions—the Biden administration continues to cede our global energy leadership to corrupt regimes.  Easing sanctions on Venezuela—a dictatorship allied with Iran—is just the latest example and harkens back to President Biden’s decision to waive sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline , which strengthened Putin and invited the attack on Ukraine. Rather than going hat in hand to our adversaries,  President Biden needs to abandon his war on American energy and join Republican efforts to unleash the abundant energy resources we have right here at home.” Energy Subcommittee Republican Leader Fred Upton (R-MI):  “Our nation needs to center on North American energy resources,  not depend on dictators elsewhere in the world.” Rep. Kelly Armstrong (R-ND):  “They never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. When you do everything you can to stop domestic production, it’s a real problem…  Why would you reward the bad actors and hinder the good actors?” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH):  “I wasn’t surprised to learn the Biden Administration is turning to Venezuela for oil. The President and his team have repeatedly demonstrated they will beg any nation for oil while consistently restricting energy production here at home. Now is the time for choosing. The world needs energy — American energy. This is a historic opportunity for our leaders to come back to reality and realize that  if we ruin our economy by pursuing these arbitrary ‘rush to green’ goals to achieve this ‘energy transition’ by shutting down our affordable and reliable energy resources, resource-rich rogue nations like Russia, Iran, and Venezuela will fill the void.” Communications and Technology Subcommittee Republican Leader Bob Latta (R-OH):  “Since President Biden’s first day in office, he has made a concerted effort to crush domestic energy production. This effort now includes lifting sanctions on Venezuela’s authoritarian regime and reopening U.S. markets to import oil from Venezuela.  Instead of turning to authoritarian nations to supply our oil and gas, we should be investing in efforts to boost energy sources right here in the U.S.” More from Energy and Commerce Republicans: CLICK HERE  for Energy and Commerce Republicans’ solutions to unleash American energy and help lower prices, reduce emissions, and create more jobs.

Nov 29, 2022
Big Tech

Leader Rodgers in Fox News: E&C Republicans Will Prioritize Parents Next Congress

Big Tech refuses to be transparent about how their platforms are putting our children’s lives and mental health at risk. They aren’t doing enough to stop the illegal sale of fentanyl on their platforms. They refuse to acknowledge the dangerous algorithms that direct and amplify harmful content to kids and teens — especially teen girls. They refuse to end the exploitative practices that take advantage of children and teens for profit. Parents have called on Congress to act. House Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans will be ready next year with real, workable solutions to enable parents to take on Big Tech companies that are harming their kids. In a recent  Fox News  profile, Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) laid out the E&C Republican agenda to remove liability protections from Big Tech companies that knowingly promote, solicit, or facilitate illegal activity, including the sale of illegal drugs, and equip parents with the tools they need to ensure their kids are safe online. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the incoming chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told Fox News Digital that the nation’s biggest technology companies are in for a rude awakening when the GOP-led Congress takes office in January. BIG TECH MUST DO MORE TO CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL DRUGS “I have heard too many stories, personal stories of parents who have tragically lost their children to fentanyl because of drugs purchased online,” said McMorris Rodgers. “I believe that Big Tech needs to be doing more to crack down on this illegal activity and prevent criminals from exploiting these platforms.” The Washington Republican said her committee would hold oversight hearings into how drug traffickers and dealers have subverted social media sites like Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat to sell illicit substances. McMorris Rodgers said those hearings would look into drug dealers and how Big Tech is not doing enough to stop them. BIDEN NEEDS TO ENFORCE THE LAW McMorris Rodgers said that while the Communications Decency Act of 1996 already requires technology companies to moderate content that is illegal, such as the sale of certain drugs, the federal government is not enforcing the law. “They are not being held accountable for these harms,” said the congresswoman. “We need to hold Big Tech accountable, hold the Biden administration accountable.” CHILDREN SUFFER MOST FROM BIG TECH HARMS Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee are also planning to probe whether Big Tech companies have downplayed or hid studies showing that social media platforms have a negative impact on children. Big Tech CEOs “have testified before the Energy and Commerce [Committee] in the past, but [we believe] they have not been transparent about the impact their platforms have on our children,” said McMorris Rodgers. The congresswoman said she hopes that further transparency will help parents ensure their children are safe online. “It’s just not a fair fight right now,” said McMorris Rodgers. “We need to make sure parents have the tools necessary to monitor their kids’ use of social media, so they can put time limits on usage and be notified if their kids might be involved in suspicious activity.”

Nov 22, 2022

Biden’s Burdensome Regulations are Shutting Down American Refineries

On President Biden’s first day in office, he shut down the Keystone XL pipeline and eliminated 11,000 good paying American jobs with the stroke of a pen.   This sent a signal—the wrong signal—that the Biden administration would make it harder for American energy producers, refiners, and workers to unleash domestic production.   Cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline was only the first of many attacks from this administration on American energy production. Since then, President Biden’s anti-American energy actions have included:  Suspending oil and gas leasing on federal lands  Delaying permits for energy infrastructure and pipelines  Draining our strategic petroleum reserves, compromising both our energy and national security  Begging foreign regimes like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Venezuela for more oil  Emboldening Putin with Nord Stream II  President Biden’s commitment to “no more drilling”—stated as recently as this month at a political event—and his administration’s growing list of burdensome executive proposals have caused U.S. refining capacity to decrease two years in a row. As reported by  Forbes , “If you are a refiner forecasting billions in losses—and you require massive investments in order to keep your refinery operating safely and in compliance with the laws—you may very well make the decision to close down.”  Yet recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has continued taking steps to enhance the regulatory burden on American refineries, which will make gas even more unaffordable for people.   That’s why E&C Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) co-authored a letter to President Biden raising concerns about the negative impacts of the EPA’s new Risk Management Program (RMP) proposal, particularly on the refining industry. This proposal could jeopardize as much as half of the United States’ refining capacity. Here are several highlights from the letter:  “This regulatory proposal, the scope of which exceeds the controversial rule finalized by the Obama EPA,  will do little to nothing to improve workplace safety but instead drastically raise fuel costs—contrary to President Biden’s promise to ‘use every tool’ at the Administration’s disposal to lower the price of gasoline for the average American. “The Risk Management Program (RMP) has helped industry and regulators form consensus on process safety standards and best practices, while also appropriately communicating levels of risk to the public. However, EPA’s recently proposed rule departs from prior practice for the RMP program, raising questions about how useful this rule will be in protecting workers and the public.  EPA’s proposal adds costly, burdensome, and ineffective requirements on regulated facilities, including domestic fuel refiners  that are not comparable with the alleged safety benefits.” […] “If implemented as proposed, we understand that this rule has the potential to significantly impede domestic gasoline production, impacting supply chains and increasing costs for consumers. In other words,  this rule will be directly responsible for increasing consumer prices at the pump and exacerbating America’s high inflation rate.” […] “Importantly, many of the proposed rule’s suggested ‘alternatives’ have not been demonstrated at scale and EPA’s proposal does not discuss the risks associated with alternative technologies. Risk shifting to alternative technology is inappropriate without the Agency focusing a critical lens on potential adverse consequences of the replacements. ” […] “Any proposed update to the RMP must be supported by a strong data and evidence, rather than driven by ideology.  It must also not compromise safety nor adversely impact US energy and economic security.”   Despite what the EPA claims,  this   proposed RMP regulation will do little to improve workplace safety. Instead, it will hurt domestic fuel refiners and cause already expensive gas prices to surge even higher.  Hardworking Americans are already suffering under 40-year high inflation rates—they can’t afford more pain at the pump. The last thing Americans need is an energy transition forced on them through government regulations and subsidies that favor foreign sources of energy over the abundant supplies we have right here in the U.S.   If President Biden wants to make good on his promise to “use every tool” to lower the cost of gas, he needs to borrow some of our tools that would end his war on American energy producers, refiners, and workers.   Energy and Commerce Republicans will cut the red tape and help flip the switch to unleash more American energy production, build energy infrastructure, and increase our refining capacity. This is the best way to fight inflation, reduce emissions, and improve people’s quality of life. CLICK HERE  to read the full letter to the EPA. CLICK HERE  to read more about E&C Republican solutions.

Nov 21, 2022

Biden is Making This Thanksgiving the Most Expensive Ever

Meet Susan Miner. She’s the owner of a family-owned and operated turkey farm in Pennsylvania. Susan says that surging fuel prices are making everything more expensive. This is hurting her business and forcing her to raise turkey prices more than any other time since 1954. “The stress level is way up. The feed prices are way up,” Susan said . 40-year high inflation and surging energy costs isn't just hurting Susan and her families’ livelihood – it's hurting hardworking Americans across the entire country. Thanksgiving will be a lot more expensive this year thanks to President Biden’s inflation crisis driven by his reckless government spending and war on American energy. Here’s what it means for families at the grocery store: Turkeys are up 23% Pumpkin pie mix is up 26.3% Milk is up 24.7% One pound of carrots and celery is up 20.5% Dinner rolls are up 40.2% Pie shells are up 52.1% Green peas are up 30.1% Whipped cream is up 28.7% Sweet potatoes are up 15.1% Cubed stuffing is up 38.1% Energy costs have skyrocketed due to President Biden’s war on American energy and this is making life unaffordable for Americans. The retail price of diesel alone in the U.S. has risen from a national average of $3.50 per gallon at the beginning of 2022 to $5.30 per gallon now, and there has been little relief since then. Natural gas has surged to a 14-year high and will get more expensive with the Democrats’ new natural gas tax. Fertilizer prices for farmers has surged 80% last year alone and have risen nearly 30% in 2022. Gas prices are up more than one dollar from when President Biden took office. U.S. inventories of distillate fuel — used in diesel, jet fuel, and heating oil — are at the lowest level since 2008. Some regions are experiencing inventory lows not seen since the 1950s. President Biden has leased the fewest acres of federal lands for oil and gas drilling under an administration since Harry Truman was president. The Strategic Petroleum Reserve is at its lowest level in nearly 40 years after President Biden drained it for non-emergency reasons. To lower the price of everything – including Thanksgiving dinner – we need to flip the switch on American energy. This is how we bring down the cost of living, improve people’s quality of life, boost our energy security, and reduce emissions. Don’t miss Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans sounding the alarm on how families will pay MORE for LESS thanks to President Biden’s inflation crisis:

Nov 17, 2022
In the News

Media Wrap-Up: Leader Rodgers’ E&C Health Priorities

Energy and Commerce Republicans are ready to hit the ground running next Congress. Don’t miss the below key coverage outlining top priorities for 2023, including combatting the fentanyl crisis, returning to pre-pandemic life, investigating the origins of COVID-19, and holding the Biden administration accountable for its many failures. Combatting the Fentanyl Crisis Republicans are aiming to conduct investigations into the Biden administration’s pandemic spending, the origins of the coronavirus, and the tech industry’s role in the fentanyl crisis if they take control of the House and Senate next week. […] GOP leaders slotted to succeed their Democratic colleagues on key health committees have indicated they plan to scrutinize Big Tech to do more to crack down on illegal fentanyl sales on their platforms and oversee how the Department of Health and Human Services will implement new drug pricing policies under Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, among other items. CLICK HERE  to read the full article in the  Washington Examiner . Illicit fentanyl is surging across our southern border and killing more people than ever. This drug is so dangerous and potent that just a few milligrams, which can fit in the ear of Lincoln on a penny, can be lethal. […] First and foremost, we need to secure the border. A Biden administration official with the Office of National Drug Control Policy confirmed to the Energy and Commerce Committee that the southern border is primarily how these substances are getting into America. With help from Chinese chemical companies, Mexican drug cartels are trafficking enough illicit fentanyl into the United States to kill every American many times over. A secure border is our strongest defense to crack down on Chinese illicit fentanyl, stop the cartels, and keep these weapon-grade poisons off our streets. In addition, we need to make sure law enforcement have permanent tools to seize fentanyl-related substances, which are analogues of fentanyl that can be even more dangerous and deadly. […] To make sure fentanyl-related substances don’t become street legal, Republicans are leading on the Halt All Lethal Trafficking of Fentanyl Act. This will give law enforcement the permanent tools they need to seize these poisons and keep our communities safe. CLICK HERE  to watch the full interview. Returning to Normal President Biden  declared in September  that the COVID-19 pandemic was “over.” If Republicans win control of Congress, they’ll demand U.S. policy reflects that conclusion. Why it matters:  The pandemic ushered in revolutionary changes to U.S. health and economic policy. While many pandemic-era restrictions have already been rolled back, a full reversion to pre-COVID governance would have profound consequences for American life. In particular, the ongoing public health emergency and the national emergency declaration give the executive branch sweeping powers in critical areas of public policy, including health care, student loans and border security. […] Energy & Commerce:  A GOP committee aide told Axios that returning to “normal” is a priority, namely by ending the public health emergency, stopping unnecessary pandemic spending, and reversing any worker COVID mandates. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the top Republican on the committee, has repeatedly called for the Biden administration to provide a plan to unwind the public health emergency. The aide also said the panel’s COVID top oversight targets are the virus’ origins, policies around school shutdowns, and Democrats’ pandemic spending. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Axios . Health Care Cybersecurity Republican victories in Tuesday’s elections could benefit patients, businesses and health care providers who’ve liked pandemic-era rules that have made telehealth easier to use. Although telehealth is broadly bipartisan, Republicans are more fervent in their telehealth enthusiasm than their Democratic counterparts, Ben reports. […] Here are some other GOP priorities:  Cybersecurity:  The GOP is signaling that it will focus on legislation to stop hackers who’ve besieged U.S. health care organizations. Republicans introduced several cybersecurity bills just ahead of the elections, including one from House Energy and Commerce ranking member Brett Guthrie of Kentucky aimed at bolstering the Department of Health and Human Services’ defenses. The goal is bipartisan. This month, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) released a cybersecurity report calling for stronger leadership from HHS. AI/Innovation:  House Republicans’ Healthy Future Task Force has targeted expanding Medicare breakthrough-device coverage as a priority, as well as modernizing clinical trials and using artificial intelligence to root out fraud. Tech oversight:  Republicans have pushed tech companies, including Snapchat and TikTok, to take more action to prevent fentanyl sales on their platforms. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Politico Pulse . Uncovering the Origins of COVID-19 Rep Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) who is poised to ascend to the Energy and Commerce Committee chairmanship, said over the summer: ‘There are so many questions that need to be answered about the government’s response to Covid-19.  ‘How the pandemic started, that’s probably the most important public health question that needs to be answered,’ she said.  Gaining that subpoena power would give Republicans the green light to compel testimony and obtain documents, likely sparking fierce political showdowns in Congressional hearings and partisan bickering behind the scenes.  CLICK HERE  to read more from Daily Mail. Holding the Biden Administration Accountable Congressional Republicans are floating sweeping investigations into the Biden administration’s COVID-19 spending and are looking to tighten the purse strings on agency funding should they hold majorities after next week’s midterms.   Republicans are frustrated with what they see as the administration’s unaccountable coronavirus spending and are looking to shine a spotlight on where the trillions of dollars doled out by the White House have gone.  CLICK HERE  to read more from The Hill. The  House Energy and Commerce Committee,  which has sweeping jurisdiction over health-related issues and could be led next year by Rep.  Cathy McMorris Rodgers  (R-Wash.). The panel’s GOP lawmakers will also continue probing the origins of the coronavirus, and have opened inquiries into biosafety practices overseen by federal agencies. Here’s what else the panel is planning to focus on, per a committee GOP aide: Biden administration covid policies, such as the impact of school-related policies on children. The increasing rate of deaths from fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid. Hearings regarding federal health agencies potentially related to the pandemic response and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Oversight into how the federal health department decides to  implement Democrats ’ new drug pricing policies. Transparency into how much hospitals are charging, an effort which has been bipartisan. CLICK HERE  to read more from the  Washington Post . Republican leaders of a House health panel are pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for answers on flaws in the agency’s initial response to the spread of monkeypox in the US. […] Republicans are focusing their oversight less on the White House’s relationship with scientific agencies like the CDC and more on public safety issues. Rodgers, Guthrie, and Griffith this week  wrote  to the National Institutes of Health asking about research into monkeypox that potentially involved making a version of the virus that was more lethal to mice. CLICK HERE  to read more from  Bloomberg Government .