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Leader Rodgers Opening Statement on Health Subcommittee Markup of Mental Health and Medical Innovation Solutions


05.11.22

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee markup of six bills, including the H.R. 7667, the “Food and Drug Amendments of 2022, and H.R. 7666, the “Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022.”

Her remarks as prepared for delivery:

STRONG BIPARTISAN WORK 

“I want to thank Chairman Pallone, Chair Eshoo, and all my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for their bipartisan work on these solutions today. From addressing the mental health crisis and ensuring America’s leadership in medical innovation, we are honoring the rich history of this committee.”

RESTORING HOPE

“We are taking urgent action to help communities provide lifesaving, mental health care to people in need, especially for our children and those suffering from severe mental illness. Just this morning, the CDC announced, overdose deaths again rose to record levels in 2021 at more than 107,000 deaths. 

“Communities are overwhelmed by adolescent self-harm, attempted suicide, and children desperate for mental health care.

“On Monday, 60 Minutes featured children in crisis. I encourage everyone to watch. There’s the story of Austin, a 9-year-old boy, who struggled to cope when his school was closed and his parents were going through a divorce. He was isolated socially, didn’t know where to turn, and slipped into depression.

“When he confessed suicidal thoughts to his mom, they faced long waiting lists and no beds for the care he needed. Cases like Austin’s can’t be ignored. Parents are talking about this with me everywhere I go.  

“The Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act is the most comprehensive effort to date to revive hope and healing since COVID-19 and government COVID-19 policies and school shutdowns created a worsening mental health and overdose crisis in America.

“It includes many bipartisan solutions, including my own legislation to reauthorize the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act, which supports community-based youth and young adult suicide prevention programs.

“Our work cannot end here. We must build on this and do everything we can to turn despair into hope for people and their families again.”

LOWERING DRUG COSTS AND PROMOTING INNOVATION

“In addition to mental health, I’m pleased we are delivering a comprehensive and bipartisan package to reauthorize the FDA User Fee Agreements.  The FDA Act of 2022, H.R. 7667, includes provisions to lower costs, spur more lifesaving innovation, secure our supply chains, and protect access to breakthrough drugs and therapies.

“My Republican colleagues are leading on specific solutions to promote the use of cutting-edge health technologies to advance rare disease research. We also are leading to make FDA inspections of foreign and domestic manufacturing facilities more timely and dependable. We are requiring FDA to provide and improve guidance on how remote tools can be used to ensure more inclusive clinical trials.

“Chairman Pallone and I also reached consensus on ways to preserve the promise and hope the Accelerated Approval pathway and what it brings to patients and their families while ensuring studies required post approval are conducted in a timely manner.

“Thank you, Chair Pallone, Chair Eshoo, and Ranking Member Guthrie for all the hard work to on this user fee package. We still have work ahead of us to ensure these agreements are reauthorized on time. I am committed to doing so.”  

ARPA-H

“Regarding ARPA-H, I have raised concerns about its duplication, lack of accountability, and unclear priorities and mission. We should all want to make sure money for research isn’t wasted but spent wisely for results and more cures.

“I asked Chair Eshoo for more time to work together to find a path forward. Chair Eshoo, Chair Pallone, and I have been working tirelessly and kept lines of communication open, and we will continue to do so. I hope that by next week there will be a substitute amendment that can garner more bipartisan support.

“Thank you, Chairwoman Eshoo and your staff, for working with me and my team to make sure that the funds authorized for this new agency come with increased focus, transparency, and accountability.”

PLOWING THE HARD GROUND

“To conclude, I want to again thank everyone for their hard work that led to today’s markup and next week’s full committee markup. There is a lot to be proud of in these bills. That includes more than 40 ideas and solutions led by House Republicans both on and off Energy and Commerce that will advance today in the FDA Act and the mental health package.  

“This is what is possible when we come together to plow the hard ground on the most important issues before our nation to improve people’s lives.”


Subcommittees
Health (117th Congress)
Press Release