Look Ahead: Committee Announces Hearings and Markup for Week of September 10

September 7, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Committee on Energy and Commerce today announced its hearing and vote schedule for the week of September 10. Next week’s robust hearing schedule will focus on a number of the committee’s hallmark issues, including protecting taxpayer dollars, North American energy independence, encouraging economic growth, and removing regulatory barriers to job creation. The Subcommittee on Health will also hold a markup of several important measures to waive harmful Obamacare regulations, protect patients, improve health care delivery, and advance the diagnosis and treatment of rare diseases.

HEARINGS

On Tuesday, September 11, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will hold a hearing on H.R. 4255, the “Accountability in Grants Act of 2012." Since 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency has awarded grants to foreign recipients, including foreign governments, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), totaling over $100 million. Additionally, EPA also awards grants to domestic recipients for the purpose of carrying out projects in locations outside the United States. The subcommittee will hear testimony regarding EPA foreign recipient grants, including those awarded pursuant to Section 103 of the Clean Air Act, the criteria for awarding such grants, sources of funding, and the administration of such grants by the agency. A Majority Memorandum and witness list is posted here. Witness testimony will be posted at the same link when available.

Also on Tuesday, September 11, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy will hold a hearing on “The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards (CFATS) Program – A Progress Report.” The subcommittee will receive an update from the Department of Homeland Security on progress made, and remaining work to be accomplished, within the CFATS program. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office has been reviewing the CFATS program and members will have the opportunity to hear an update on their progress. A Majority Memorandum and witness list are posted here. Witness testimony will also be posted at the same link when available.

On Wednesday, September 12, the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade will hold a hearing on “Where the Jobs Are: There’s an App for That.” This will be the subcommittee’s fourth hearing in its “Where the Jobs Are” series to examine employment obstacles and opportunities America faces.  As the nation endures 43 consecutive months of higher than 8 percent unemployment, the apps marketplace is one of the few sectors of the economy where jobs are being created. This hearing will focus on the thriving market for these apps and the developers who are driving this innovative and growing sector of our economy. A Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be posted here when available.

Also on Wednesday, September 12, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold a hearing on “DOE’s Nuclear Weapons Complex: Challenges to Safety, Security, and Taxpayer Stewardship.” This hearing will continue the committee’s oversight of Department of Energy management of our nation’s most sensitive nuclear facilities. It will also examine a range of management and administrative challenges confronting DOE, including a recent security breakdown at the Y-12 National Security Complex. The Majority Memorandum and witness list are posted here. Witness testimony will be posted at the same link when available.

On Thursday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will continue its hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on the Outlook for Achieving North American Energy Independence Within the Decade.” Several independent reports released this year show North America can produce enough oil and natural gas to meet America’s energy demands, possibly by the end of this decade. The subcommittee will hear testimony from a number of key energy experts and market analysts who will outline how this is a goal within our reach. A Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be posted here when available.

Also on Thursday, September 13, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology will hold a hearing on “Creating Opportunities through Improved Government Spectrum Efficiency.” Throughout the 112th Congress, the subcommittee has focused on freeing more spectrum, most notably in the bipartisan spectrum provisions of the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which will support the build-out of the next generation of wireless broadband networks and help create of hundreds of thousands of jobs. A Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be posted here when available.

On Friday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power will continue its hearing on “The American Energy Initiative.” This day of the hearing will focus on H.R. 6172, a bill that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency from finalizing any standards of performance for carbon dioxide emissions from existing or new fossil fuel-fired power plants until carbon capture and storage is found to be technologically and economically feasible. The hearing will discuss EPA’s proposed New Source Performance Standards for power plants, which would require new coal-fired power plants to install costly carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology that is not yet commercially viable. The result of such stringent new standards is a de facto ban on the construction of any new coal-fired power plants. Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) introduced H.R. 6172 to prevent American coal plants from becoming extinct. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be posted here when available.

Also on Friday, September 14, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on “Title 42 – A Review of Special Hiring Authorities.” This hearing will review the use of special hiring authorities under Title 42 by the Department of Health and Human Services to appoint and compensate specialized science and research positions, many of which are well above the salary limits for federal employees. The Government Accountability Office recently completed a legal and management review of these practices, which the subcommittee will analyze to ensure taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely. The Majority Memorandum, witness list, and witness testimony will be posted here when available.

COMMITTEE VOTES

On Tuesday, September 11, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a markup to consider:

  • H.R. 1206, the Access to Professional Health Insurance Advisors Act of 2011;
  • H.R. 6118, the Taking Essential Steps for Testing (TEST) Act of 2012;
  • H.R. 1063, the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act of 2011;
  • H.R. 6163, the National Pediatric Research Network Act of 2012;
  • H.R. 4124, the Veteran Emergency Medical Technician Support Act of 2012; and,
  • H.R. 733, the Pancreatic Cancer Research and Education Act of 2012.

The health care law’s misguided Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) mandate violates President Obama’s long repeated promise that “if you like the plan you have, you can keep it.” During a September 15, 2011, hearing, witnesses testified that the MLR regulations have created a "desperate economic situation" for a half-million insurance agents and brokers. This requirement could force agents to leave the market or significantly limit their plan offerings, creating a level of disruption that would quickly destabilize the market and threaten the ability of insurers to continue offering plans. H.R. 1206 would exclude from the calculation of the MLR commissions paid to independent insurance brokers and agents who work to find individuals and small businesses affordable insurance options.

H.R. 6118 would give the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services much needed regulatory flexibility to enforce prohibitions against improper referrals of proficiency testing under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA).

H.R.1063 would create efficiencies in the Medicare Secondary Payer program to speed up the process of returning money to the Medicare Trust Fund while reducing costly legal barriers for both large and small employers.

H.R. 6163 allows NIH to fund pediatric research networks comprised of a consortia of cooperating institutions that will cooperate in conducting research on conditions and disease affecting pediatric populations.

H.R. 4124 would provide demonstration grants to states with a shortage of emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to streamline state-licensing requirements for military veteran EMTs to prevent unnecessary duplication in training.

H.R. 733 directs the National Cancer Institute to establish a scientific framework with respect to research of recalcitrant cancers with low survival rates in order to advance diagnosis and treatment. The scientific framework will include a review of the current research, coordinate new initiatives, and identify unanswered medical and scientific questions.  

Electronic copies of the legislation can be found on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s website here. A background memo, amendments, and votes will be available at the same link as they are posted.

Hearing and Vote Details

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
10:00 a.m.
2322 Rayburn House Office Building (Note new room)
Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy
Hearing on “The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program – A Progress Report”

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
10:15 a.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building (Note new room)
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Hearing on H.R. 4255, the “Accountability in Grants Act of 2012"

Tuesday, September 11, 2012
2:00 p.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Health
Markup on H.R. 1206, H.R. 6118, H.R. 1063, H.R. 6163, H.R. 4124, and H.R. 733

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
9:45 a.m.
2322 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade
Hearing on “Where the Jobs Are: There’s an App for That”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
10:00 a.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
Hearing on “DOE’s Nuclear Weapons Complex: Challenges to Safety, Security, and Taxpayer Stewardship”

Thursday, September 13, 2012
10:00 a.m.
2322 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on the Outlook for Achieving North American Energy Independence Within the Decade”

Thursday, September 13, 2012
10:15 a.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Communications and Technology
Hearing on “Creating Opportunities through Improved Government Spectrum Efficiency”

Friday, September 14, 2012
9:45 a.m.
2123 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Energy and Power
Hearing on “The American Energy Initiative: A Focus on H.R. 6172”

Friday, September 14, 2012
10:00 a.m.
2322 Rayburn House Office Building
Subcommittee on Health
Hearing on “Title 42 – A Review of Special Hiring Authorities”