WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) delivered the following opening remarks at a full committee markup on 26 bills.
As Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Chairman Pallone for holding this markup today. I’m pleased at the bipartisan progress we’ve made on a number of key policies under consideration.
Today, we’ll consider bipartisan legislation to address a challenge that nearly every American with a telephone faces – illegal robocalls – through the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act. I’d like to thank Chairman Pallone, and Mr. Doyle and Mr. Latta for their partnership on this legislation to protect consumers from illegal robocalls.
We are also moving forward with six bills advanced through our Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee to protect consumers, families, and children. While there is strong bipartisan support for many of these bills, as we will hear today, concerns remain about some of the bills before us. In the spirit of bipartisanship, we hope to move these bills by voice vote, but I am hopeful that we can continue to work to improve these measures before they are considered on the House floor.
The Health Subcommittee has a produced a large bipartisan package.
The Reauthorizing and Extending America’s Community Health, or REACH Act, provides for a four-year extension of several critically-important public health and workforce programs including an extension of Community Health Centers.
On the Medicare front, this package includes long-term priorities of this committee, such as the HEARTS Act, and provisions to improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer, and an extension of the Independence at Home project.
This package will also address the Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) cuts for the next two years and will provide updated funding for the United States’ territories’ Medicaid programs to ensure they can continue to provide the care their constituents need, while including strong program integrity measures.
Finally, but notably, this package includes the No Surprises Act, which will protect patients and families from surprise medical bills.
Thank you to all the members and staff for their good-faith efforts in bringing this package together. There is still work to do as this package moves to the floor and we negotiate with the Senate, but we have a great start, and I look forward to continuing discussions.
We will also consider two additional health workforce bills today, along with four bipartisan bills that reauthorize important discretionary public health programs: the Autism CARES Act, the Newborn Screening Saves Lives Reauthorization Act, the Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act and the Lifespan Respite Care Reauthorization Act.
As if that weren’t enough, we will also mark up the METRIC Act, which will help increase transparency in drug pricing.
The Energy Subcommittee has produced ten bills for consideration today including bills to improve DOE electric and energy infrastructure cybersecurity and bills to increase water systems efficiency and to speed up implementation of smart building technology.
Two additional bills, Chairman Rush’s workforce development bill and H.R. 2041 – the weatherization bill, have been negotiated in good faith and will also pass with bipartisan support.
I’m appreciative of the bipartisan collaboration from Members and staff to produce real results today. I look forward to these bills moving closer to becoming law. Thank you, and I yield back.