Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee markup on five bills.
Excerpts and highlights from her prepared remarks:
AREAS OF BIPARTISAN COOPERATION
“I’ll start where we agree.
“Mr. Hudson and Ms. Herrera Beutler’s H.R 5141, the MOBILE Act will ensure that community health centers could use their grant funding for mobile units.
“This will help people in rural communities all across this country access care they need.
“In addition, Mr. Upton worked tirelessly on H.R. 3655 to reform the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program.
“We are taking a small step to improve the program, and I look forward to working with Chairman Pallone for an offset before this moves to the floor.
“I appreciate the changes made to Mr. O’Halleran’s legislation that reauthorizes a trauma center grant program, but I still have outstanding concerns about changes to the state matching requirements.
“I thank Chairman Pallone for continuing to work with me on this before the full committee markup.”
IMPROVING SENIORS’ TIMELY ACCESS TO CARE ACT
“We are also moving H.R. 3173, which is a top priority for Dr. Bucshon, and I’m grateful for his hard work and leadership.
“We had a hearing in the oversight subcommittee and many members raised concerns about denials and prior authorization delaying the care seniors need.
“This bill requires standardization and timely responses and will give seniors more information about how those claims are often denied.
“However, just last night, the Congressional Budget Office released an estimate that costs to Medicare will go up by billions over the next 10 years.
“My hope is to get this score settled and ultimately offset as we move this important legislation that improves care for seniors while also making sure Medicare is solvent for seniors in the future.”
THE FLINT REGISTRY REAUTHORIZATION ACT
“The bill I have the most concerns with is the Flint Registry Reauthorization Act.
“We have not had a hearing in this Congress to reassess the health harms created by the governmental fiasco and dangerous tragedy that occurred in Flint.
“It was a failure at all levels of government — local, state, and federal.
“We, we right here, have a responsibility to properly review this and ensure solutions will improve people’s lives and actually prevent a crisis like this from happening again.
“People in every part of this country should be able to trust that the water coming out of their taps is safe, that it’s safe for them and their children to drink.
“We’re seeing other examples of localities mismanaging their water supply, like the terrifying situation in Jackson, Mississippi.
“I understand the railroad labor dispute is threatening clean water around the country too.
“These are challenges that deserve this committee’s attention.
“Unfortunately, that is not our focus with H.R. 6737.
“This bill will add an authorization of another $50 million for quote ‘a city exposed to lead contamination in the local drinking water system.’
“Based on the title and text, that applies only to Flint, Michigan when there are other localities that need our attention too.
“It doesn’t include any oversight or review of current state and federal efforts in Flint but it does spend tens of millions of dollars to quote ‘establish’ a registry that’s already been established.
“The program has already received more funding than authorized, and it isn’t clear where the money has been spent.
“The Flint registry touts, for example, spending money on unrelated costs like shipping 60,000 masks during COVID-19.
“My colleagues and I have amendments filed so we can properly debate and bring oversight to this program.
“For accountability, we should have had this discussion at a hearing first and worked toward a solution we could all support.
“I hope that we can come together to help other communities in America benefit from a registry— communities like Jackson, Mississippi — that are dealing with its own government failures that have led to unsafe drinking water, as well as other areas of the country where this has been an issue.
“Overall, I know we will have a robust discussion.
“As we head into the full markup, my colleagues and I are eager to ensure the Energy and Commerce Committee is leading for proper oversight that helps us move the best legislation forward.”