WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) will deliver the following opening remarks today at a full committee markup of the Save the Internet Act, H.R. 9, and 12 health care bills.
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Thank you, Mr. Chairman and congratulations on your first full committee markup.
At the outset, I do want to thank the Committee leadership for working with us on a number of drug pricing bills we will consider today. We needed to ensure these bills didn’t unintentionally stifle competition and drive up drug prices. I am pleased that we were able to work together since the subcommittee markup to come to agreements on the CREATES Act and the Protecting Consumer Access to Generic Drugs Act. And I understand we’ve worked towards a compromise on the Orange Book Transparency Act.
Unfortunately, not every bill we discuss today will have bipartisan agreement.
Regarding the six Obamacare-related bills before us today; despite their catchy, yet misleading titles, these bills fail to address the underlying problem: Obamacare is not working for the majority of Americans. And despite spending hundreds of millions, and in some cases billions, of dollars, none of the bills make structural changes to improve access or delivery to care, and none of the bills are paid for.
Republicans want to work to develop solutions that will decrease costs, increase access, protect individuals with pre-existing conditions, and make the health care system work better for patients and families. I am hopeful that someday we will be able to work together in that effort.
On the subject of the government takeover of the internet, we spent a lot of time last week at subcommittee asking questions. It was a valuable use of our time because the answers confirmed there is a really high level of uncertainty about what the so-called “Save the Internet Act” really does.
We have a strong bipartisan consensus on rules against blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization, and we could enact these net neutrality protections today, but instead the majority seems to be dead set on using the net neutrality debate to give the federal government near unlimited and unchecked authority to regulate the internet.
Finally, Mr. Chairman, I have to say I’m a bit surprised by the newest item on our agenda today, H.R. 9, the Climate Action Now Act. This is a piece of legislation that was introduced for the first-time last Thursday. We’ve not held a single hearing. We’ve had no opportunity for a markup in the subcommittee.
When our Democratic colleagues were in the minority they consistently and constantly called for regular order in moving legislation through the committee. I am disheartened that only three months into their majority, they are failing to hold themselves to their own standard and are ramming a piece of legislation through in less than a week with no opportunity for input and improvement. For procedural and substantive reasons, I urge the Chairman to withdraw H.R. 9 from today’s markup and put it through the proper process.
I look forward to discussing each of today’s bills in more detail as they are called up. And with that, I yield back.