WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Republican Leader Greg Walden (R-OR) remarks at a full committee markup considering 18 bills for advancement to the House of Representatives.
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. Unfortunately, not every bill today will be in that category.
Today, we will consider bipartisan legislation to address broadband mapping, spectrum, and supply chain security. All of these bills, which build on our efforts last Congress, expand broadband access in rural America, secure our communications networks, and ensure proper management of federal spectrum resources.
With respect to the STELAR Reauthorization. As most of you know, I haven’t yet been convinced that we need to reauthorize STELAR. However, our staffs have been working diligently on this issue and we remain hopeful we can reach a good outcome.
On the Energy and Environment fronts, I appreciate the bipartisan talks that we have had on both asbestos and PFAS.
On asbestos, the amendment we are considering vastly improves the original bill and we should not allow perfect to be the enemy of good. I hope that the text we’ve worked on will address concerns that many people have voiced about asbestos related diseases.
And while there are good, bipartisan items in the PFAS package, there are still significant concerns, and we know this package will not make it into law. Let’s not politicize this critical environmental issue, Chairman – let’s work together a solution that can become law.
We will also mark up a bipartisan solution for the licensing and construction of a permanent nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain. I appreciate the Chairman’s willingness to move this bill forward.
The reauthorization of the pipeline safety program has been a bipartisan priority of this Committee for several years. So, it is with great disappointment that the Majority has abandoned this approach and resorted to political gamesmanship on pipeline safety. I cannot support the Majority’s partisan pipeline bill. We have offered a bipartisan compromise that could become law, so I urge my colleagues in the Majority to reconsider and work with us.
Today, we will also markup a reauthorization of SAFE WEB, which authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to cooperate with foreign authorities to counter cyber spam, scams and other attacks from bad actors. And we will mark up the BRAND USA extension that helps our nation be able to compete with international tourism opportunities, and comes at zero cost to taxpayers.
On the health care front, we’ll markup two critical bills that are intended to help address the tragic issue of maternal mortality in the United States. These bills have been advanced in a collaborative and bipartisan fashion, and I believe will help save lives.
We will also be considering the Reversing the Youth Tobacco Epidemic Act. Members on both sides of the aisle want to act to end the youth vaping epidemic and prevent future tobacco use by children. But I fear this legislation will inadvertently contribute to a growing illicit market and those with nicotine addictions – both adults and children – will turn to more dangerous, unregulated products.
I also remain concerned that this bill does nothing to address the sale of illegal THC products responsible for the majority of recently reported vaping illnesses. Multiple members on the other side of the aisle said last week that they want to work together to combat the marketing and use of these products, and I stand ready to do so.
Thank you, I look forward to today’s markup, and I yield back.