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Oversight & Investigations Updates


Rodgers, Comer, House GOP Committee Leaders Demand Federal Agencies Adhere to Recent Chevron Reversal

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Oversight and Acoountability Committee Chair James Comer (R-KY) sent letters to eight federal agencies today following the recent Supreme Court decision on Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo , in which the court overruled Chevron deference. Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) and House Agriculture Committee Chair GT Thompson (R-PA) joined Chairs Rodgers and Comer on an additional letter sent to the Environmental Protection Agency. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “We write to call to your attention Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, a recent Supreme Court decision that precludes courts from deferring to agency interpretations when the statutes are ambiguous. In its decision, the Court explicitly overruled Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837 (1984), which required deference to agency interpretations of ambiguous statutes. By allowing such deference, the Court in Chevron enabled the ‘Administrative State’ to usurp the legislative authority that the Constitution grants exclusively to Congress in Article I. The Chevron decision led to broader, more costly and more invasive agency regulation of Americans’ lives, liberty, and property.   “Perhaps no administration has gone as far as President Biden’s in issuing sweeping Executive edicts based on questionable assertions of agency authority. The Biden administration has promulgated far more major rules, imposing vast costs and paperwork burdens, than either its most recent predecessors. Many of these rules...have been based on overreaching interpretations of statutes enacted by Congress years ago, before the issues now regulated were even imagined.   “The expansive Chevron deference has undermined our system of government, creating an unaccountable Administrative State. Thankfully, the Court has now corrected this pattern, reaffirming that ‘[i]t is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.’ Given the Biden administration’s record of agency overreach, we are compelled to underscore the implications of Loper Bright and remind you of the limitations it has set on your authority.”   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Environmental Protection Agency. CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Communications Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Trade Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to Department of Commerce.   CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Department of Energy.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  CLICK HERE to read the letter to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration.



Jul 9, 2024
Press Release

E&C Leaders Open Investigation into NTIA’s IIJA BEAD Funding Deployment, Citing Abnormal Lack of Transparency and Allegations of Rate Regulation

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Communications and Technology Chair Bob Latta (R-OH), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) requested all communications between the agency and state broadband offices related to Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) Initial Proposals. The letter comes amid concerns that NTIA is unlawfully pressuring states to rate regulate low-cost broadband plans required by the BEAD Program and following a May 15, 2024, hearing at which Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information Alan Davidson committed to being more transparent about BEAD funding decision making.  KEY EXCERPT :  “Based on anecdotal evidence from different entities involved in the process, it appears that the NTIA may be evaluating initial proposals counter to Congressional intent and in violation of the law. Several Members of Congress have directly raised to you that the NTIA, through its review of initial proposals, is unlawfully regulating the rate of broadband through BEAD’s low-cost service option in direct conflict with the IIJA, which states: ‘Nothing in this title may be construed to authorize the Assistant Secretary or the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to regulate the rates charged for broadband service.’9 During Senate floor debate on the IIJA, Members of Congress agreed that this language meant that ‘no rate regulation of broadband services would be authorized or permitted by the NTIA or the Assistant Secretary who leads the NTIA as part of the state broadband grant program.’” “States have reported that the NTIA is directing them to set rates and conditioning approval of initial proposals on doing so. This undoubtedly constitutes rate regulation by the NTIA. Indeed, one state publicly posted the NTIA’s feedback that the agency would not approve their initial proposal without ’an exact price or formula’ for the state’s low-cost option. Without visibility into the approval process, Congress in unable to determine how widespread this practice is. When asked about this at oversight hearings, your responses have failed to provide clarity.”  BACKGROUND:  Congress appropriated an unprecedented $42.45 billion through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) for the NTIA to administer the BEAD program.   The program was intended to ensure that all Americans, specifically those in unserved or underserved areas, have access to broadband.   The NTIA is responsible for managing and distributing this money to the states and territories.  The IIJA prohibits the NTIA from rate regulation.  The IIJA established a process for how states receive money from the NTIA for this program.   First, each of the 56 individual states and territories (state entities) were required to submit an Initial Proposal explaining their proposed process for awarding the funds.   The NTIA was then tasked with reviewing and approving each individual states entities’ proposal, after which funds would be allocated to the state to award.   Some states report that the NTIA is conditioning approval of their Initial Proposals on setting a specific price for low-cost broadband plans despite the prohibition on rate regulation.  Despite every state entity having submitted their initial proposals by the December 27, 2023, deadline, the NTIA has only approved 16 initial proposals as of the date of this letter.   Due to the opaque nature of the NTIA’s review and approval process, the Committee lacks the information necessary to assess whether NTIA is pressuring states to rate regulate and to understand why so few state entities initial proposals have been approved to move forward.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Assistant Secretary Davidson. 



Jun 28, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Statement on SCOTUS Ruling to Restore Article I Power

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement after the United States Supreme Court struck down the “Chevron Deference” in Loper Bright Enterprises, et al. v. Raimondo : “Article I of the Constitution established Congress’s role to write the laws of the land—not the Executive Branch. The Supreme Court’s ruling today will help restore the proper balance of power as the Founders envisioned it. Moving forward, major decision-making authority will no longer automatically be deferred to unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats. Power has been placed back in the hands of the American people and their elected representatives, as the Constitution prescribes.” 



Jun 25, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Hearing on Anti-Doping Measures Ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing titled “Examining Anti-Doping Measures in Advance of the 2024 Olympics.”  “Thank you, Chair Griffith, and thank you to our highly decorated panel of witnesses whose Olympic careers have inspired an entire generation of Americans.  “Tonight’s hearing comes at an important moment as we are just one month away from the start of the 2024 Summer Olympic games in Paris.  “We will be examining how the World Anti-Doping Agency’s polices—and their failure to enforce those policies—on the use of banned performance enhancing drugs and how that is undermining the integrity of the Olympic games.”  WADA REFUSES ACCOUNTABILITY   “It is completely unacceptable that World Anti-Doping Agency President Witold Banka, whose agency received over three million in U.S. taxpayer dollars this past year, declined to join us tonight.  “Doping scandals have real effects on our athletes, including American swimmers, who must abide by the strictest anti-doping standards enforced by USADA, and include requirements like random testing.  “These anti-doping standards should be applied evenly to ensure a level playing field and that the best athlete wins.”  CHINESE DOPING SCANDAL “Recent reporting unveiled that just weeks before the 2021 Olympic games in Tokyo, 23 members of the Chinese swimming team tested positive for a banned substance—Trimetazidine or TMZ.   “The Chinese authorities dismissed the positive tests, telling the World Anti-Doping Agency this was all a mistake because the banned drug—which is found only in pill form—somehow ended up in the kitchen of a hotel that all 23 swimmers were staying at, and they all somehow unknowingly ingested this banned substance.  “The World Anti-Doping Agency’s review somehow concluded this explanation was plausible and no further investigation was necessary.  “It’s important to note that those swimmers won several medals, including three golds.  “WADA has consistently failed to be transparent or accept any responsibility for its actions.  “And it’s not just the US Congress.  “WADA also declined a hearing invitation from the German Bundestag that was scheduled earlier this month.    “How many more Olympic athletes have to lose out on winning medals and proudly singing their country’s national anthem before the World Anti-Doping Agency decides to enforce its rules uniformly?  “Everyone watching the Olympics in Paris and in their homes next month should know that the system is not rigged against athletes who compete the right way.  “I look forward to hearing from all of you on this important topic.” 



Jun 25, 2024
Hearings

Chair Griffith Opening Remarks at Hearing on Anti-Doping Measures Ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Washington D.C. —  House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee  hearing  titled “Examining Anti-Doping Measures in Advance of the 2024 Olympics.”  UPHOLDING THE INTEGRITY OF THE OLYMPICS   “As U.S. athletes prepare to compete in the Paris Olympics, a cloud of uncertainty hangs over the reliability of international anti-doping enforcement which is supposed to eliminate the use of certain performance enhancing drugs.  “This Committee has been alarmed to learn from news reports that several swimmers representing the People’s Republic of China tested positive for banned performance enhancing substances and then went on to compete in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.  “Just last week, eleven of these swimmers were again named to the People’s Republic of China’s 2024 Olympic team. All of this comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency, or WADA, ignored signs of systemic Russian doping for years.  “Seven years ago, this Oversight subcommittee, held a hearing on ways to strengthen the international anti-doping system. It is unfortunate that we are here again.  “Two witnesses from that 2017 hearing are back with us today—premier Olympian, Mr. Michael Phelps and the CEO of the United States Anti-Doping Agency, or USADA, Mr. Travis Tygart.  “We are also pleased to welcome another outstanding Olympic swimmer, Ms. Allison Schmitt, to join us today so we can revisit doping in sports ahead of next month’s Summer Olympics. “I want to start off by reminding everyone of what Mr. Phelps told us seven years ago, because it bears repeating. “He said ‘if we allow our confidence in fair play to erode, we will undermine the power of sport and the goals and dreams of future generations. The time to act is now.’  “I’m glad Mr. Phelps highlighted the damage performance enhancing drugs has on our country’s youth athletes and am disappointed that WADA has not seemed to heed that call.” THE IMPORTANCE OF A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD   “Children join sports teams and clubs believing that the system is mostly fair and that cheaters will be punished.  “The importance of sports for our country’s children cannot be understated.  “Sports empower children by teaching them life lessons, building their confidence, showing them the meaning of hard work, and offering some of them opportunities to represent our country and make a career. “I myself have had the opportunity to see my own children grow and learn from competitive swimming.   “In fact, this last week was very exciting in my household, because one year ago, in high school regionals, my son competed against Olympian Thomas Heilman, who at age 17, is the youngest male swimmer to qualify for Team USA since Michael Phelps.  “The joke at my house was, that, at one point in the race they were tied, that would be the part where the starter says, 'take your mark.’  “Foundational to the Olympics is the trust that clean athletes, both aspiring and current Olympians, have in the system to keep cheaters out.   “Doping leads to cynicism in sports and inevitable disappointment for aspiring athletes. “As I’m sure Ms. Schmitt and Mr. Phelps can attest to, we cannot overemphasize the dedication, sacrifices, and training required of our Olympians, competing at the very highest, and what I believe to be the most prestigious, athletic level. “Youth athletes dedicate themselves by putting in countless hours of training, pushing both physical and mental limits in the hopes of one day being an Olympian.   “Athletes miss birthdays and holidays to train so that they can achieve success the right way, on their merit.  “Mr. Phelps has previously said he didn’t take a single day off for over a five-year period, just so he could be the best at what he does.  “Doping irrevocably undermines the purpose of that sacrifice by allowing competitors who really want all the glory without putting in as much work.  “Is it fair that we encourage our youth to invest so much of their time if on the greatest stage consequences are not expected for certain countries’ athletes?”  WADA MUST IMPROVE TRANSPARENCY   “That is why I am disappointed that Mr. Banka, the President of WADA, refused our invitation to testify before this Subcommittee today to discuss his role in upholding the integrity of anti-doping testing and enforcement in international sports competitions.  “WADA received nearly four million in taxpayer dollars through Congress last fiscal year. Their refusal to appear today calls into question their commitment to accountability and perhaps if they’re not going to do their job, should we even fund them?  “Mr. Banka and WADA have hidden today rather than explain how WADA let over twenty swimmers representing the People’s Republic of China compete in international competitions after they all tested positive for a banned substance.  “Cheating athletes take away spots and medals from clean athletes.  “The integrity and sanctity of sports is critical for the Olympians competing but also for the children who dream one day to be an Olympian.  “We will keep a seat open for Mr. Banka in case he decides to join us.  “I want to thank the three of you who made it here today despite your very busy schedules ahead of the Paris Olympics.” 



Jun 24, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Press FDA Again for Information Regarding Foreign Inspection Program

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Robert Califf, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) are pressing for more information regarding the agency’s foreign drug inspection program. The letter continues the Committee’s investigation into FDA inspection practices, which include a July 18, 2023, letter , a December 13, 2023, letter , and a February 6, 2024, oversight hearing at which the FDA declined to make an official available to testify.  BACKGROUND :  In the letter, the Members discuss the Committee’s analysis of FDA inspection outcomes in India and China from January 2014 to April 2024, limiting its review to inspectors with ten or more inspections in either China or India.   EXCERPT OF THE ANALYSIS :  “The results of this analysis were surprising, revealing tremendous variation in inspection outcomes. Some FDA inspectors found compliance issues during all or almost all of their inspections. Other inspectors rarely reported finding a single compliance issue. Two inspectors never found a single compliance issue over the course of a combined 24 inspections in India. Another inspector found zero compliance issues in 20 out of 23 inspections (85 percent) in China while finding compliance issues with almost half of domestic inspections during the same period. These are unusual inspection outcomes, the opposite of what would be expected given the widely reported failures in quality control and lack of adherence to current good manufacturing techniques by drug manufacturing facilities in China and India.  “By contrast, 16 FDA inspectors, with over 325 inspections collectively in India, found compliance issues during every inspection they conducted. As a measure of what a pattern of rigorous inspections should look like, the Committee reviewed the inspection outcomes for 3 FDA inspectors with professional reputations for thoroughness who also had at least 10 inspections in China or India during the studied time period. These expert inspectors reported finding no compliance issues during inspections in China at a rate of only 6.7 to 11.4 percent and at a rate of zero to 9.5 percent in India.”  KEY LETTER EXCERPT : “Such large variations in inspection outcomes are troubling, and they merit further investigation. At a minimum, the Committee is concerned that these findings suggest vast differences in the skill, thoroughness, and competence of FDA inspectors. The difference in inspection outcomes appears to be just another example of institutional weaknesses and dysfunction in the FDA’s foreign drug inspection program. Prior to the pandemic, media reporting found that some FDA inspectors took an inappropriately lenient approach with foreign drug manufacturers with serious compliance violations. There were also reports o f, and concerns about, foreign manufacturers attempting to bribe or improperly influence inspectors. The Committee is seriously evaluating the disturbing possibility that some of the variation in inspection outcomes could be the result of bribery or fraud.”  CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 



Jun 24, 2024
Blog

Chair Rodgers Joins Spectrum News to Discuss Hearing on Anti-Doping Measures Ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is holding an Oversight Subcommittee hearing anti-doping measures ahead of the 2024 Olympic games. Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) joined Spectrum News to highlight the importance of this hearing. Highlights and excerpts from the interview below:   “[This] is an oversight hearing to ask tough questions to ensure transparency and accountability and give people here at home, and around the world, the confidence that the rules are being followed.”   [...]  “The United States contributes millions of dollars to the World Anti-Doping Agency, and it's important that we are getting answers.”  [...]  “Our athletes train for years. They dedicate their lives to training and participating and being able to compete at the Olympics and our responsibility is to ensure that this is a level playing field.”  “That's why we're holding this hearing, so that we can root on the best of the best from the United States as they compete in Paris at the Olympics.”  Background:   The Committee’s hearing comes after the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) allowed 11 Chinese swimmers to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics, despite testing positive for banned performance-enhancing substances in the lead up to the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.  The United States is the primary funder of WADA, contributing over $3 million of taxpayer money this past year alone.  WADA President Witold Banka was invited to testify but declined.  Hearing Details: DATE: Tuesday, June 25, 2024   TIME: 7:00 PM ET   LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building   CONFIRMED WITNESSES: Mr. Michael Phelps, Olympic Athlete Ms. Allison Schmitt, Olympic Athlete   Mr. Travis Tygart, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency Click here for more coverage on the hearing. 



Jun 18, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Griffith Announce O&I Subcommittee Hearing on Anti-Doping Measures Ahead of the 2024 Olympics

Former Olympians Michael Phelps & Allison Schmitt scheduled to testify Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) announced a hearing titled “Examining Anti-Doping Measures in Advance of the 2024 Olympics.” “Olympic athletes dedicate years of their lives to perfect their craft in order to represent the United States on the world stage. They—as well as athletes from every other country—deserve to compete on a level playing field that’s free of banned performance enhancing drugs,” said Chairs Rodgers and Griffith. “The World Anti-Doping Agency, the governing body responsible for enforcing fair standards, has a questionable track record of fulfilling that mission. This hearing will give Members a chance to examine that track record, identify opportunities for improvement, and ensure that the best athletes are the ones taking home gold medals.”  Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing titled “Examining Anti-Doping Measures in Advance of the 2024 Olympics.”   WHAT: A Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing to examine anti-doping measures ahead of the 2024 Olympics.  DATE: Tuesday, June 25, 2024  TIME: 7:00 PM ET  LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  CONFIRMED WITNESSES:    Mr. Michael Phelps, Former Olympic Athlete  Ms. Allison Schmitt, Former Olympic Athlete  Mr. Travis Tygart, Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency  INVITED WITNESSES :  Mr. Witold Banka, President, World Anti-Doping Agency This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing will be open to the public and press and will be live streamed online at https://energycommerce.house.gov/ . If you have any questions concerning the hearing, please contact Lauren Kennedy with the Committee staff at Lauren.Kennedy@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Christopher Krepich at Christopher.Krepich@mail.house.gov .  



Jun 11, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Release Interim Staff Report on NIH Misconduct and Inadequate Oversight Involving Taxpayer-Funded Risky MPXV Research that Jeopardizes Public Health Security

Washington, D.C. — The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a report titled “Interim Staff Report into Risky MPXV Experiment at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.”  The report details the Committee’s investigation, which was launched following a 2022 Science magazine interview in which Dr. Bernard Moss of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) revealed that he was planning to insert segments of a lethal strain of MPXV (formerly known as “monkeypox”) into a more a transmissible strain of the virus. This proposed experiment alarmed some scientists concerned about the risks of creating an enhanced version of the MPXV virus.  For nearly a year and a half, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the NIH, and NIAID misrepresented and deceived the Committee by repeatedly denying that the potentially dangerous experiment was proposed and approved. However, after being pressed repeatedly by Committee Leaders, HHS ultimately admitted Dr. Moss’s research team had been granted approval to conduct a bidirectional MPVX gene-transfer experiment (i.e., inserting the more lethal strain into the more transmissible strain and vice versa). Documents made available for review to Committee staff confirmed the 2015 approval of the experiment and raised additional concerns.   HHS, the NIH, and NIAID still maintain the riskier research project was never conducted. However, no documentation or any other evidence has been produced to substantiate the claim. NIAID has also failed to offer any explanation of the circumstances and rationale that supposedly led the Moss research team to drop the bidirectional mpox gene-transfer experiment after receiving approval for the project.  The report concludes with a series of recommendations related to biosecurity to ensure future transparency and accountability related to risky research like this. Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) released the following statement regarding the report:  “In order to start rebuilding trust in our government health agency guidance, agencies like the NIH must be honest and transparent with Congress and the American people. This report demonstrates a disturbing lack of judgment and accountability from HHS, the NIH, and particularly, NIAID. It is unacceptable and demonstrates the clear need for reform.”  CLICK HERE to read the full report.  TIMELINE OF THE INVESTIGATION :