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From the Committee

Sep 29, 2023
Health
Chairs Rodgers, Griffith, Guthrie, Wenstrup, Comer Announce Transcribed Interview with EcoHealth Alliance President Peter Daszak

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY), along with Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic Chair Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) and House Committee on Oversight and Accountability Chair James Comer (R-KY), have secured a voluntary transcribed interview with EcoHealth Alliance (EHA) President Dr. Peter Daszak that will take place on November 14, 2023. This interview is an important step in the Committees’ investigation into EHA’s use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund dangerous gain-of-function research, specifically at the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV). 

As mounting evidence and intelligence intensify concerns about the possible release of the COVID-19 pandemic from a laboratory incident in Wuhan, Dr. Daszak’s testimony will be critical to helping the Committees obtain information related to the origins of COVID-19 and any role EHA may have played.  

In preparation for the transcribed interview, the Chairs are reiterating requests for Dr. Daszak’s communications and documents related to coronavirus research, the Chinese government, the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and any coordination with U.S. governmental organizations. If Dr. Daszak fails to comply with pre-interview requests, the Committees will be forced to consider the use of a subpoena to obtain this crucial COVID-19 origins information. 

“In anticipation of the interview, we renew our requests for certain responsive documents and communications. This letter consolidates our previous requests regarding the origins of COVID-19 and, as a further accommodation, tables some requests, adds significant topic specificity, scopes down the time frame of our previous requests, and prioritizes the requests most important to the Committees. Notwithstanding these accommodations, the Committees reserve the right to request additional documents and communications,” wrote the Chairs.  

CLICK HERE to read the Committees’ letter to Dr. Peter Daszak. 


More News & Announcements


Sep 29, 2023
Blog

E&C Republicans Celebrate National Clean Energy Week

America has led the world in reducing carbon emissions through innovation and entrepreneurship. Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans are building on that legacy with an all-of-the-above energy approach to lower energy costs and create jobs. Check out how Energy and Commerce Republicans celebrated National Clean Energy Week to ensure America unleashes affordable, reliable, and clean energy. Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) shared how America must lead with a strong energy mix of America’s abundant energy resources, including hydropower. Key except: “The Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act will help preserve our existing hydropower fleet and bring more power online as demand grows into the future. American energy production creates jobs, lowers prices, and increases grid reliability. To win the future and ensure American prosperity, we must expand hydropower as a part of an all-of-the-above energy approach.” Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH) and Rep. Kat Cammack (R-FL) highlighted the Unlocking Our Domestic LNG Potential Act, which would boost American natural gas production and help prevent adversaries like China, Russia, and OPEC from undermining U.S. energy and national security. Key excerpt : “The Biden administration continues to send mixed messages—at best—on whether or not it supports the development of reliable, sustainable, and affordable energy resources, like natural gas, here in the U.S. At a time of great global uncertainty, for America to not be sitting at the head of the global energy table is irresponsible and dangerous. It doesn’t have to be this way.”  Nuclear energy is another key ingredient to a clean energy future. Read recent op-eds in The Washington Times from Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) highlighting the benefits of nuclear power and the steps the Energy and Commerce Committee is taking to support investment in this vital energy source. Rep. Miller-Meeks (R-IA) also wrote in The Washington Times about the value of developing and refining critical minerals here in America, instead of relying on China. Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ) discussed the importance of hydrogen power for her home state of Arizona and for the country’s clean energy ambitions. Her bill, the Hydrogen Permitting Simplification Act, would ease the regulatory burden and unleash hydrogen power as a zero-carbon emission source. Strengthening our hydrogen pipeline infrastructure would make our energy grid more reliable and affordable. Embracing a clean energy future does not require America to choose between traditional energy sources and renewables. Reps. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) and Jay Obernolte (R-CA) make the case for embracing an all-of-the-above approach while also maintaining the highest environmental standards in the world.



New Oil and Gas Leasing Rules Will Shut Down American Energy Production Across the U.S.

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) released the following statement today following the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) new leasing rules that would force harsher restrictions on oil and natural gas production and further jeopardize American energy security.  “A key promise in House Republicans’ Commitment to America is to make sure Americans have access to affordable, reliable energy. That’s why we passed H.R. 1 to bring down prices for families and ensure we continue to be a global leader in reducing emissions by expanding the production of clean, affordable, and reliable energy. The Biden administration is shutting down America’s abundant energy resources. These new rules—along with President Biden’s recent announcement to pause offshore leases in the Gulf of Mexico—are just the latest instances of anti-American energy policies from this administration. The reality is these efforts are making life more expensive and harder for families, straining our electric grid, and leading us towards a dangerous dependence on China. The best way to lower costs for people and strengthen America’s energy, climate, and economic leadership is by unleashing the energy resources we have here at home.”



E&C Signals Intent to Issue Subpoena if FTC Chair Continues to Resist Probe into Left-Wing Influence and Intimidation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan today requesting information and communications that Chair Khan has failed to provide. The Chairs signaled that compulsory measures may be necessary if Chair Khan continues to stonewall Committee oversight efforts. BACKGROUND: On Friday, June 16, 2023, Commissioner Bedoya submitted to the Secretary of the FTC several ex-parte communications he received in May 2023, including text messages and in-person communications between him, his personal staff, and left-wing activists. The harassing communications from activists were in response to Bedoya issuing a statement in which he indicated disagreement with action taken by Chair Khan, action the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board characterized as a “power grab.” The communications that ensued between Commissioner Bedoya, his office, and individuals affiliated with progressive groups appear to show a coordinated pressure campaign of the most senior FTC officials. Following the publication of these communications, on July 11, 2023, the Members sent letters to FTC Chair Khan and the Commissioners to better determine the extent to which these groups and the White House were influencing FTC policy—and specifically asked Chair Khan if she coordinated with these groups to pressure Commissioner Bedoya or other commission officials. Instead of giving specific responses, Chair Khan avoided answering those questions in her response to the Committee and pivoted to a written reply that appeared to be assembled by the FTC communications team.  KEY QUOTE: “This response, and previous responses you have provided this Committee and others, indicate that you do not take Congress’ oversight role seriously. Your responses have also been inconsistent with commitments you previously made during your confirmation process to become Chair. When you appeared before our Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee for a Congressional oversight hearing, we expressed our disappointment with your continued inability to answer basic questions. You are not above the law and Congressional oversight does apply to you. “If you continue to refuse to comply with the Committee’s requests for information, you will force us to consider using compulsory process to obtain it.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Chair Khan. CLICK HERE to read the previous letter sent on July 11, 2023.


Trending Subcommittees

Innovation, Data, and Commerce


7 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


6 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


14 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


E&C Signals Intent to Issue Subpoena if FTC Chair Continues to Resist Probe into Left-Wing Influence and Intimidation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee Chair Gus Bilirakis (R-FL) sent a letter to Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Lina Khan today requesting information and communications that Chair Khan has failed to provide. The Chairs signaled that compulsory measures may be necessary if Chair Khan continues to stonewall Committee oversight efforts. BACKGROUND: On Friday, June 16, 2023, Commissioner Bedoya submitted to the Secretary of the FTC several ex-parte communications he received in May 2023, including text messages and in-person communications between him, his personal staff, and left-wing activists. The harassing communications from activists were in response to Bedoya issuing a statement in which he indicated disagreement with action taken by Chair Khan, action the Wall Street Journal’s Editorial Board characterized as a “power grab.” The communications that ensued between Commissioner Bedoya, his office, and individuals affiliated with progressive groups appear to show a coordinated pressure campaign of the most senior FTC officials. Following the publication of these communications, on July 11, 2023, the Members sent letters to FTC Chair Khan and the Commissioners to better determine the extent to which these groups and the White House were influencing FTC policy—and specifically asked Chair Khan if she coordinated with these groups to pressure Commissioner Bedoya or other commission officials. Instead of giving specific responses, Chair Khan avoided answering those questions in her response to the Committee and pivoted to a written reply that appeared to be assembled by the FTC communications team.  KEY QUOTE: “This response, and previous responses you have provided this Committee and others, indicate that you do not take Congress’ oversight role seriously. Your responses have also been inconsistent with commitments you previously made during your confirmation process to become Chair. When you appeared before our Innovation, Data, and Commerce Subcommittee for a Congressional oversight hearing, we expressed our disappointment with your continued inability to answer basic questions. You are not above the law and Congressional oversight does apply to you. “If you continue to refuse to comply with the Committee’s requests for information, you will force us to consider using compulsory process to obtain it.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter to Chair Khan. CLICK HERE to read the previous letter sent on July 11, 2023.



Sep 28, 2023
Health

E&C Warns EPA: Don’t Make Medical Surgeries and Equipment Unsafe and Non-sterile

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Bill Johnson (R-OH), and Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) sent a letter to the White House today on the potential consequences of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed regulations on the availability of ethylene oxide (EtO), which is needed for medical supply sterilization. BACKGROUND   EtO is used as a gaseous sterilant to sterilize approximately half of all medical devices and 95 percent of all surgical kits in the United States.   On April 13, 2023, EPA published a number of proposals that would apply new restrictions for the use of EtO as a sterilant under the Clean Air Act and new air emissions standards for commercial sterilizers of EtO under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).   The subsequent comment period generated hundreds of submissions raising serious concerns about EPA’s proposals and how they would threaten to interfere with patient safety and disrupt our nation’s health care system.    According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approximately 20 billion medical devices are sterilized each year using EtO and for most of these devices, EtO is the only validated and viable sterilization method.  Furthermore, the FDA has publicly reported that a significant share of medical devices in the U.S. exclusively rely on EtO as their primary sterilant and that the proposed EPA actions will disrupt the U.S. medical device supply chain.  KEY QUOTE ON RISKS FOR PATIENTS   “The FDA attests to the high scientific standards of EtO use as a sterilizer in preventing the growth of harmful microorganisms relative to other sterilization methods and acknowledges that inadequate sterilization can lead to life-threatening infections and poor health outcomes in patients seeking medical care. Furthermore, we share FDA’s concerns that EPA’s proposed actions will cause significant disruptions in patient access to emergency care, including surgery instrumentation and pacemakers, and threaten patient safety with increasing hospital-borne infections.”  […]  “On June 27, 2023, the American Society for Health Care Engineering, the American Society for Health Care Risk Management, the Association for Health Care Resource and Materials Management, and the American Hospital Association wrote to the EPA to: 'Urge caution and thoughtfulness in EPA’s approach to avoid disrupting health care delivery through the unintentional fracturing of the already fragile medical device supply chain. Such fracturing could put patients at risk of serious harm . . . [s]pecifically, we are concerned that moving too quickly to implement and enforce new standards will result in the unexpected consequence of reducing EtO sterilization capacity, ultimately leading to delays in patient care.'"  The members asked the White House to answer the following questions by October 13, 2023: How do the National Economic Council (NEC) and the Domestic Policy Council (DPC) plan on ensuring that statutorily requirements for cost-benefit analysis are incorporated into the PID and NESHAP proposed rule?   Are the EPA’s proposed interim decision and proposed rule consistent with the President’s economic policy objectives/domestic policy agenda as it relates to public health?    Please identify how NEC/DPC plans to ensure that patient access to care will not be compromised by EPA’s proposed rules.   How do you plan on fulfilling NEC/DPC’s role in implementing the President’s agenda as you consider these two EPA proposals?     Will NEC/DPC commit to meeting directly with surgeons, hospitals, medical device manufacturers, and domestic sterilization facility manufacturers to understand better the feasibility of EPA’s proposed rules?   Will you ensure domestic manufacturers have the necessary time to build compliance equipment for medical device sterilization, get it certified, and have it installed so as not to disrupt domestic medical device availability?   What other roles will NEC/DPC play in mediating these proposed regulatory actions and preventing the damage they could cause?    Is it the Biden administration’s position that one medical risk in just a few communities should be prioritized over greater medical risks for all Americans?   Based on the number of devices that FDA has identified as requiring sterilization with EtO, and the potential need for revalidation for their treatment at a different level or with other substances, will the Biden administration need to shift resources away from products that are waiting to come to market to revalidate the existing medical product supply chain?   We understand that the EPA recently settled a lawsuit from several plaintiffs, alleging that the EPA failed to review and revise as needed the NESHAP for EtO every eight years. How will this settlement impact the EPA’s proposed NESHAP rule? CLICK HERE to read the full letter.



Sep 28, 2023
Press Release

E&C Republicans Signal Intent to Issue Subpoenas as Biden Admin Stonewalls Crucial Investigations into Government Health Agency Actions

Washington, D.C. — 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) recently sent letters to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra and the Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Lawrence Tabak. In the letters, the members outline requests for documents and information that have gone unfulfilled by the administration. In a rare move from the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has seldomly had to use compulsory measures, the Chairs note that these are the final warnings before the Committee is forced to issue subpoenas.  1) Letter to Dr. Tabak regarding documents signed by former NIH Director Francis Collins related to reappointment of NIH Institute and Center Directors. KEY EXCERPT :  “This failure to respond is part of a larger pattern from HHS and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since March 2022 to make assertions that appointments or reappointments of NIH institute and center directors have been lawful, without producing substantiating evidence on which to evaluate this claim.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter.  Previous requests include:  March 14th, 2022 April 21st, 2023 July 7th, 2023 August 9, 2023   2) Letter to Secretary Becerra regarding documents related to the appointment of Jeanne Marrazzo to serve as Director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.   KEY EXCERPT :  “We sent you a request letter on August 9, 2023, requesting this document, but HHS has failed to respond to this request. This failure to respond is part of a larger pattern from HHS and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) since March 2022 to make assertions that appointments or reappointments of NIH institute and center directors have been lawful, without producing substantiating evidence on which to evaluate this claim.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter.  Previous requests include:  March 14th, 2022   April 21st, 2023   July 7th, 2023 August 9, 2023 3) Letter to Dr. Tabak regarding documents related to early SARS-CoV-2 sequences and data from early cases.   KEY EXCERPT :  “Nearly three months later, with no meaningful evidence that the NIH is responding to this request, we sent a follow-up letter on August 9, 2023, requesting that the NIH provide responsive documents by no later than August 31, 2023. We alerted you that in the event the NIH did not provide documents by that date, the committee would consider compulsory process to secure production of the requested documents. NIH continues to not be responsive in a meaningful way.    “Over the last four months, the NIH has failed, and continues to fail, to engage with the committee, and provide requested documents. NIH’s disregard of this oversight request undermines the norms of interbranch cooperation and accommodation.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter. Previous requests include:  May 3, 2023   August 9, 2023   4) Letter to Dr. Tabak regarding documents related to NIH-supported risky research, such as virus mutation or manipulation in experiments involving SARS, MERS, or SARS CoV-2.   KEY EXCERPT :  “After more than three months with no meaningful evidence that the NIH was responding to this request, we sent a follow-up letter on August 9, 2023, requesting that the NIH provide responsive documents by no later than August 31, 2023. We alerted you that in the event the NIH did not provide documents by that date, the Committee would be forced to consider compulsory process to secure production of the requested documents.  Unfortunately, NIH continues to not be responsive in a meaningful way." CLICK HERE to read letter.  Previous requests below:  May 1, 2023   August 9, 2023