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Leaders Rodgers & Griffith Question HHS Over Statutory Authority for New Office


Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Republican Leader Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra today questioning him about the new Office of Climate Change and Health Equity (OCCHE) in his department created by President Biden. E&C Republican Leaders raise concerns about the new office and seek answers about OCCHE’s statutory authority and whether these tasks are duplicative or fragmented of other federal government efforts.

LETTER EXCERPT: “President Biden continues to demand hundreds of billions of dollars for clean energy and climate provisions through the budget reconciliation process. We are concerned that unmoored politics—rather than congressional enactments—are leading President Biden’s agenda, which may result in inefficient and duplicative efforts across multiple divisions of the department as well as other federal agencies.”

The Leaders ask Secretary Becerra for a briefing by December 28, 2021 to discuss OOCHE and the following:

  • Each statutory authority OCCHE employs to carry out the tasks set out in the EO14008;
  • OCCHE’s collaboration with other federal agencies that are actually tasked with addressing climate matters;
  • HHS funding that has been redirected to OCCHE – and the offices and programs from which such funds have been redirected;
  • OCCHE’s programs and their utility and effectiveness as part of the whole-of-government strategy for managing climate change risks;
  • Any specific actions OCCHE plans to take to address the carbon footprint associated with hospital services and medical care and whether OCCHE has assessed the impact such actions will have on medical services for Americans; and
  • Any other matters related to OCCHE’s ongoing and future work.

CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Secretary Becerra.