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Jun 12, 2024
Blog
Full Committee Markup Recap: E&C Advances 13 Health Related Bills to the Full House

The Energy and Commerce Committee today advanced 13 health related bills to the full House to improve the health and wellbeing of the American people.

Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) said: “I want to thank all of the members for their hard work on these bills and taking the time necessary to get the policy right and move policies in a fiscally responsible way […] I am proud of all that we have, and continue, to accomplish working together.”

Legislative Vote Summary: 

  • H.R. 6020, Honor Our Living Donors Act, led by Reps. Obernolte and DelBene, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 42 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 455, To amend the Controlled Substances Act to fix a technical error in the definitions, led by Reps. Burchett and Cohen, has been agreed to, without amendment, by a roll call vote of 44 Yeas to 0 Nays.
  • H.R. 4534, Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventative Services Act of 2023, led by Reps. Boyle and Fitzpatrick, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 44 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 5012, Stillbirth Health Improvement and Education (SHINE) for Autumn Act of 202, led by Reps. Y. Kim and Castor, has been agreed to, without amendment, by a roll call vote of 45 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 7213, Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2024, led by Reps. C. Smith and Cuellar, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 42 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 8084, LIVE Beneficiaries Act, led by Reps. Bilirakis and Craig, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 46 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 8089, Medicare and Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act of 2024, led by Reps. M. Garcia and Peters, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 45 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 8111, To amend the title XIX of the Social Security Act to ensure the reliability of address information provided under the Medicaid program, led by Reps. Miller-Meeks and Cartwright, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 46 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 8112, To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to further require certain additional provider screening under the Medicaid program, led by Rep. D’Esposito, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 45 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 4758, Accelerating Kids’ Access to Care Act, led by Reps. Trahan and Miller-Meeks, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 42 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 5526, Seniors’ Access to Critical Medications Act, led by Reps. Harshbarger and Wasserman Schultz, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 41 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 6033, Supporting Patient Education and Knowledge (SPEAK) Act of 2023, led by Reps. Steel and Gomez, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 40 Yeas to 0 Nays. 
  • H.R. 7858, Telehealth Enhancement for Mental Health Act of 2024, led by Reps. James and D.G. Davis, has been agreed to, as amended, by a roll call vote of 40 Yeas to 0 Nays.

More News & Announcements


UPDATED TIME: Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Hearing on Critical Materials

Washington D.C. – The House Energy and Commerce Committee Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing  will now start at 11:30 AM ET.         WHAT:  An Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee hearing to discuss ways to secure America’s critical material supply chains and reduce our dependence on foreign adversaries, like China.  DATE: Thursday, June 13, 2024        WHEN: 11:30 AM ET  LOCATION: 2322 Rayburn House Office Building       This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearings 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 Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearings, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov



Jun 12, 2024
Markups

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup of 13 Health Bills

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Full Committee markup of 13 bills.  “Today the Committee on Energy and Commerce is taking action on 13 bipartisan bills from the health subcommittee to improve the health and wellbeing of the American people. “It is also Mr. James’s first full committee markup. I know he’s hit the ground running on our committee and has a bill on the agenda today. I’m thankful for his contributions.” SUPPORTING MOTHERS AND CHILDREN “A number of bills today continue the important work of the committee to support moms and children.   “For example, the Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act will make it easier for children enrolled in Medicaid to get the important specialty care they need.   “Dr. Miller Meeks has been a leader on this legislation, and we heard testimony from Iowa Children’s Hospital of the needless and detrimental delays in care due to red tape.   “This bill is even more important now with exciting innovation in cell and gene therapies that could cure children with sickle cell and other rare diseases, but potentially require children to travel across the country.   “Next is the SHINE for Autumn Act, which passed this committee and the House floor overwhelmingly last Congress.  “This is the second piece of legislation we’ve moved to help prevent the heartbreaking tragedy of still birth.   “I want to share a special thanks to Debbie Haine, who is in the audience today, for her steadfast support and dedication to raising awareness on stillbirths for over a decade.   “This bill is named after her daughter Autumn Joy, who was born still on July 8, 2011. We are honored to remember Autumm today and thank Debbie for her tireless advocacy.  “In addition, my friend, Representative Chris Smith, has for decades led the effort for more research into autism, and the best ways to support the entire population of individuals with autism and their families.   “The latest reauthorization of the Autism CARES Act, which I am proud to support today, continues important HHS wide programs to further those goals.   “We will also move Representative Obernolte’s HOLD Act forward, to further support living organ donors who give the miraculous gift of life to patients in need.  “And while not included on today's agenda, reauthorizing the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program at FDA ahead of its September 30th expiration remains a top priority.  “Patients with rare diseases and their families continue to push for action, and by continuing to work together, we can pass it out of this committee with broad bipartisan support.”  IMPROVING MEDICAID PROGRAM INTEGRITY   “We are also voting on four bills to improve program integrity in Medicaid.  “Bills from Representatives Bilirakis, Miller-Meeks, D’Esposito, and Garcia will all reduce the rate of improper payments by ensuring that only current, living beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicaid and only legitimate providers participate in the program.  “Bills that require timely disenrolling of deceased beneficiaries from Medicaid may seem obvious, but the Office of the Inspector General continues to find it is an issue.   “I’m glad these members have prioritized being good stewards of Medicaid funds.”  STRENGTHENING TELEHEALTH & SENIOR ACCESS TO CARE    “And finally, I want to highlight the work the Committee continues to do to help seniors access health care.   “This committee led on site neutral reforms as part of the Lower Cost, More Transparency Act to make sure that seniors paid the same out of their own pocket for drug administration, regardless of whether it was administered in a hospital or at a doctor’s office.  “During COVID-19, seniors were able to get specialty medications directly from their oncologist, but that is no longer the case.   “Ms. Harshbarger's legislation will re-establish this option for seniors for another five years.  “And we will continue work to improve access to telehealth in Medicare.   “Mr. James’s legislation will ensure program integrity measures are in place so we can more effectively see how telehealth is working for patients on Medicare.  “Ms. Steele’s legislation will make telehealth more accessible for patients with limited English proficiency.   “I'll note that Members and our staff continue to work on a fully paid for package to extend telehealth flexibilities for seniors and include additional priorities on diabetic and cardiac care. “I am optimistic we will be able to move that package before the August recess and well before those authorities expire at the end of the year. “I want to thank all of the members for their hard work on these bills and taking the time necessary to get the policy right and move policies in a fiscally responsible way. “All the legislation today that increases spending in Medicare or Medicaid is offset with reductions in Medicare or Medicaid spending. “I am proud of all that we have, and continue, to accomplish working together.” 



Jun 12, 2024
Hearings

UPDATED TIME: Health Subcommittee Hearing on Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation

Washington D.C. – The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing will now start at 11:00 AM ET.    WHAT: A Health Subcommittee Hearing to discuss the state of CMS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and hear from the head of CMMI about challenges relating to their intended mission.  DATE: Thursday, June 13, 2024  WHEN: 11:00 AM ET LOCATION: 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearings 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 Subcommittee on Communications and Technology hearings, please contact Noah Jackson at Noah.Jackson@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Sean Kelly at Sean.Kelly@mail.house.gov


Trending Subcommittees

Innovation, Data, and Commerce


10 Updates

Interstate and foreign commerce, including all trade matters within the jurisdiction of the full committee; consumer protection, including privacy matters generally; data security; motor vehicle safety; regulation of commercial practices (the Federal Trade Commission), including sports-related matters; consumer product safety (the Consumer Product Safety Commission); product liability; and regulation of travel, tourism, and time. The Subcommittee’s jurisdiction can be directly traced to Congress’ constitutional authority “to regulate Commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes.”


Communications & Technology


9 Updates

Electronic communications, both Interstate and foreign, including voice, video, audio and data, whether transmitted by wire or wirelessly, and whether transmitted by telecommunications, commercial or private mobile service, broadcast, cable, satellite, microwave, or other mode; technology generally; emergency and public safety communications; cybersecurity, privacy, and data security; the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security; and all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.


Energy, Climate, & Grid Security


10 Updates

National Energy Policy, energy infrastructure and security, energy related Agencies and Commissions, all laws, programs, and government activities affecting energy matters. National Energy Policy focuses on fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; energy conservation, utility issues, including but not limited to interstate energy compacts; energy generation, marketing, reliability, transmission, siting, exploration, production, efficiency, cybersecurity, and ratemaking for all generated power. Energy infrastructure and security focuses on pipelines, the strategic petroleum reserve, nuclear facilities, and cybersecurity for our nation’s grid. Our jurisdiction also includes all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security. Agencies and Commissions in our jurisdiction include: The US Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.


Recent Letters


May 30, 2024
Press Release

Evidence Uncovered by E&C Republicans Refutes Secretary Becerra’s Assertion that HHS Takes Action to Prevent Sexual Abusers from Receiving Taxpayer Funding

Washington, D.C. —  In a new letter to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra, 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) request information regarding HHS’s suspension and debarment process.  The letter also provides direct evidence refuting Secretary Becerra’s testimony to the Health Subcommittee asserting that HHS “will take immediate action” to stop sexual abusers from receiving taxpayer funding. It comes amid the Committee’s ongoing investigation into sexual harassment at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and at NIH grantee institutions.  KEY LETTER EXCERPT :  “At the April 17, 2024, hearing before the Subcommittee on Health, in response to a question about the redactions of names of confirmed abusers or harassers, you said: ‘If there is an abuser that is receiving taxpayer dollars from the Department of Health and Human Services, . . . in this particular case the National Institutes of Health [NIH], we will take action immediately.’    “ However, your claim is belied by the facts. Based on subpoenaed NIH documents reviewed in camera, Committee staff discovered that an individual who served as principal investigator on at least 24 NIH-grants was not suspended or debarred from receiving federal funding despite his conviction in 2021 of sexual abuse and his medical license being stripped . Based on documentation reviewed during the Committee’s in camera review of sexual misconduct allegations on NIH-funded research, staff found that in September 2020, the NIH recommended to HHS an immediate federal-wide suspension and debarment of this abuser for 10 years based on the abuser’s indictment in 2019 on three counts of sexual abuse, and the grantee institution’s determination that the individual was responsible for sexual harassment in January of 2020. Despite this recommendation from the NIH, followed by the individual’s conviction in December 2021, HHS has taken no action. Three and a half years later, this abuser remains eligible for federal funding. On April 15, 2024, Committee staff sent an email to HHS staff requesting information about the status and handling of this matter. HHS has not yet responded.”  [...]  “ We are troubled by the limited use of suspensions and debarments from awarding agencies within HHS along with the timeliness issues and lack of use of suspensions pre-debarment raised by the HHS OIG. Harassers and abusers with public reporting of their actions, and even some with criminal convictions, are not present on SAM.gov as suspended or debarred .”  BACKGROUND : HHS is the largest grantmaking agency in the federal government—awarding over $778 billion in grants in fiscal year 2023.  Federal suspension and debarment programs help to protect the integrity of federal grant programs by ensuring the federal government does business only with responsible persons.  Individuals or parties receiving grants can be suspended or debarred from continuing to receive federal grants if they lack honesty, integrity, or business performance.  Within HHS, a suspension or debarment action may be initiated from an awarding agency—such as the NIH—or another entity—such as the Office of Inspector General (OIG).     Referrals for suspension or debarment are sent to the HHS Office of Recipient Integrity Coordination (ORIC) for review and final decision by the Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO).  Referrals can be conviction-based—originating from a criminal conviction or civil judgement—or fact-based—in which the referring office builds a case based on facts (e.g., audit findings or failures to disclose).  Suspensions and debarments are not retrospective, meaning respondents can maintain their current award(s), but it does prevent them from receiving new federal awards.   Not only are these suspensions and debarments valid within the referring agency, but they also generally make a respondent ineligible for awards from other federal departments.   Suspended or debarred parties or individuals are listed on SAM.gov and awarding departments can check this list before awarding grants to prevent awarding grants to these parties or individuals.   While federal departments have discretion as to when to refer a respondent for suspension or debarment, HHS—and particularly awarding agencies such as the NIH—can prevent known harassers or abusers from receiving additional federal awards across the federal government through these processes.   However, a 2022 HHS OIG report found several concerns during its audit of HHS’s suspension and debarment processes.  HHS OIG found that 84 percent of referrals came from non-awarding agencies—such as the OIG or Office of Research Integrity—rather than those offices charged with supervising ongoing grants.  This statistic raised concerns for the OIG about the extent to which awarding agencies were doing enough to identify and take action against bad actors and if agencies are missing opportunities for additional suspension and debarment referrals.  Another concern is the timeliness of the HHS suspension and debarment process and the limited use of suspensions during pending debarment proceedings.   The HHS OIG found that nearly half of suspensions implemented by ORIC did not meet its 60-day goal, with several suspensions taking longer than 300 days to implement.  Of the 134 debarments that ORIC implemented, nearly all involved grants, yet less than one-third of these debarments included a preceding suspension.  That means more than two-thirds of respondents may have maintained access to additional federal funding during the debarment process, with the longest case taking 1251 days or nearly three and a half years.  Moreover, for conviction-based debarments—in which the evidentiary threshold has generally already been met by the conviction or judgment—75 percent of conviction-based debarments implemented by ORIC did not meet its 100-day goal.  Rather, implementation took an average of 325 days and nearly a quarter of these debarments took over 500 days to be implemented.  The HHS OIG found numerous areas in which the timeliness, efficiency and effectiveness of HHS’s suspension and debarment program were negatively affected by internal factors.   Specifically, there is a very high turnover rate at both the staff and senior leadership levels of the suspension and debarment program, with ORIC’s full staffing levels being four personnel.  Moreover, seven different people served as HHS’s SDO—the official determining if suspension or debarment is to be implemented—in just four years.  With this kind of turnover, cases may fall through the cracks or be heavily delayed.   Moreover, HHS OIG found that a lack of policies and procedures regarding entering and tracking important case information and milestones plus a lack of guidance on what information is needed in fact-based referrals has limited the ability to suspend or debar individuals.  Specifically, ORIC was not able to suspend or debar several individuals due to a lack of documentation in the referral that showed a referring entity followed its own corrective-action escalation process prior to the suspension or debarment.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  TIMELINE OF INVESTIGATION:   August 10, 2021 : E&C Republican Leaders Question NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints    August 11, 2022 : E&C Republican Leaders follow up with NIH on Insufficient Response to its Letter on the NIH’s handling of Sexual Harassment    November 30, 2022 : E&C Republicans to NIH: Turn Over Previously Requested Information Ahead of New Congress    March 14, 2023 : E&C Republicans Press NIH for Information on Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints    October 6, 2023 : E&C Republicans Signal Intent to Issue Subpoena to Obtain Information on NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment if Questions Go Unanswered    January 26, 2024 : Chair Rogers notifies NIH of Imminent Subpoena    February 5, 2024 : Chair Rodgers Subpoenas NIH for Documents Related to Investigation into Sexual Harassment at NIH and NIH Grantee Institutions   February 20, 2024 : HHS Responds on behalf of NIH to offer a rolling in camera document review to the Committee. Documents produced in the review have been highly redacted, including the redaction of the names of individuals convicted of criminal offenses, public news articles about individuals who have been found guilty of harassment, and redaction of the names of the institutions where the abuse occurred—effectively preventing the Committee from understanding if NIH continues to fund work performed by substantiated abusers at other institutions—a practice known as “pass the harasser.”   April 16, 2024 : E&C Republicans Expand Investigation into Sexual Harassment at NIH to now Include Review of HHS Office of Civil Rights Compliance Role  May 9, 2024 : E&C Republicans ask Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra to provide the Committee with the legal basis requiring HHS to redact or hide the names of researchers determined to have committed sexual misconduct. 



May 29, 2024
Letter

Rodgers, Barrasso Call Out Biden Administration for Continued Abuse of Strategic Petroleum Reserve

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) sent a letter to Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Jennifer Granholm following reports that the Biden administration is preparing to further drain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR). The letter calls on the Secretary to safeguard the SPR and stop using it to provide political cover for President Biden in an election year. KEY LETTER EXCERPT: “ Under President Biden, the SPR has reached its lowest level since 1983. The DOE has overseen the largest sale in history, amounting to a total of 290 million barrels. When President Biden took office in January 2021, the SPR contained 638 million barrels of oil. Today, the SPR currently contains 367 million barrels of oil, which represents nearly a 42 percent decline from when President Biden took office.”  […] “Under the Biden administration, the SPR has been abused for political purposes to try and bring down record high gasoline prices that are driving record high inflation that are a consequence of the administration’s radical rush to 'green' energy policies. In November of 2021, the Biden administration announced a release, in coordination with China, in an attempt to lower prices. Then in March of 2022, the president announced the release of 180 million barrels of oil from the SPR in the middle of an election year, a transparent attempt to influence the midterm elections and distract from the Biden administration’s energy policy failures.”  [...] “We urge you, in the strongest terms, to put this country’s energy security first and stop abusing the SPR for political purposes. As the Secretary of Energy, it is your responsibility to ensure that the SPR is ready to respond to true energy supply disruptions.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter. CLICK HERE to read Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Barrasso’s letter in November 2022 detailing the damage from President Biden’s SPR drawdowns. CLICK HERE to read Chair Rodgers’s statement on the House’s passage of H.R. 21, the Strategic Production Response Act , which would help ensure the Strategic Petroleum Reserve is available during a true energy emergency and not abused for non-emergency, political purposes. 



May 24, 2024
Press Release

E&C Leaders to ODNI: What Does the U.S. Intel Community Know About CCP-Linked Security Breach at Canadian High-Containment Lab

Washington, D.C. — In a new letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, 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) have asked for a briefing regarding a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report that a high security lab in Canada was infiltrated by Chinese scientists connected to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). BACKGROUND : Recently disclosed information from Canada provides additional insight into the Wuhan Institute of Virology's (WIV) interests and activities in the months leading up to the pandemic. In Canada, it was revealed that Canada's highest security lab (where Ebola and coronaviruses are studied) was infiltrated by Chinese scientists receiving secret payments from China’s military. This information was revealed in a report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in February 2024, following a two-year investigation. Two scientists at Canada’s high-security infectious disease laboratory—Xiangguo Qiu and Keding Cheng—provided confidential scientific information to China and were fired in 2021 after a probe concluded Dr. Qiu posed “a realistic and credible threat to Canada’s economic security” and it was discovered they engaged in clandestine meetings with Chinese officials. CSIS discovered Dr. Qiu had applied for, and likely received, a position under China’s Thousand Talents Program and that her position came through the WIV. According to CSIS, Dr. Qiu, who worked at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg, lied when confronted about her actions, making “blanket denials” and “half-truths, and personally benefited from the arrangement,” noting that she repeatedly lied to the CSIS and “refused to admit to any involvement in various PRC [People’s Republic of China] programs.” In a January 2021 letter recommending that Dr. Qiu’s security clearance be revoked, CSIS stated: “The Service assess that Ms. Qiu developed deep, cooperative relationships with a variety of People’s Republic of China institutions and has intentionally transferred scientific knowledge and materials to China in order to benefit the PRC government.” The two infectious-disease scientists were escorted out of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg in July 2019, and later had their security clearances revoked. They were fired in January 2021. Their whereabouts are not known. Of particular concern is that Dr. Qiu covertly and without authorization provided the Ebola genetic sequence, intellectual property related to research of Ebola, and possibly other pathogens to China. Others informed CSIS that Dr. Qiu and her husband used Gmail accounts extensively, rather than her government of Canada emails. This would appear to be a good source of communications between these spy-scientists in Canada and Wuhan and/or the Chinese military. CSIS found an application from her to one of China’s talent programs that said she would work for the WIV for at least two months every year. As part of her enrollment, CSIS said, Dr. Qiu committed to “building the People’s Republic of China’s biosecurity platform for new and potent infectious disease research.” The CSIS investigation found Dr. Qiu led a project at the WIV that would assess cross-species infection and pathogenic risks of filoviruses, work that CSIS said suggests “gain-of-function studies were possibly to take place.” CSIS also noted Dr. Qiu, who headed the vaccine development and antiviral therapies section at the Winnipeg lab, collaborated on scientific papers with Chinese military researchers, including Major-General Chen Wei, a high-ranking officer in the People’s Liberation Army. In a report, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) found Dr. Qiu lied about an October 2018 trip to China that she had said was a personal vacation, but later acknowledged after being presented with contradictory evidence that the trip was paid for by the WIV and she met the WIV’s director during the visit. CLICK HERE to read the full letter.