All Updates

Oct 3, 2023

Chair Rodgers: Biden’s ‘Moon Shot Initiative’ to Cure Cancer Falls Flat as He Celebrates Law that Stifles Medical Innovation

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement as President Joe Biden announced the manufacturers of the first ten drugs selected will enter “negotiation” as part of the Innovation Reduction Act’s (IRA) provisions: “Patients battling rare diseases and cancer need hope that America will continue to lead the search and development for new treatments and cures—not crush it. The Innovation Reduction Act has already stifled this leadership, forcing innovators to end research and development into at least two dozen potential new drugs. President Biden’s commitment to cure cancer rings hollow as more patients with cancer and rare diseases see more promising treatments sidelined.”  The Committee recently held an oversight hearing on how the IRA’s price setting scheme is leading to fewer cures for patients. Below are highlights from key witnesses who testified at the hearing: John “CZ” Czwartacki, the Founder of Survivors for Solutions, a group that seeks to preserve and protect the medical innovations that give people hope:  “ I owe my life to your former colleagues who chose to let medical innovation flourish and discover life-changing medicines . Hatch-Waxman was comprehensive bipartisan legislation that unleashed the scientists and researchers who gave a life to the dad of Sam, Nick, CJ, and Henry. I can barely get out the words, let alone put a price tag on the results.” […]  “You can fix this. ‘First, do no harm’ wasn’t your thing last year. But while you’re in a hole, you can stop digging. Stop doubling down on a policy that is directly ending hope for the most vulnerable.   “I can never repay those who are responsible for allowing me to live my wonderful life, but what I can do is stand up for the people you ignored. I can remind my good friends that this policy is sentencing real people to needless suffering, mental anguish, and the potential of early death.”  John Crowley , the founder of a biotech company, which stems from his drive that successfully found a cure for his two children who were diagnosed with Pompe disease—a severe and often fatal neuromuscular disorder:  “Drug makers routinely investigate whether a drug already approved to treat one rare condition could possibly treat another. Historically, this "follow-on" research has provided transformational cures to patient communities who don't have access to effective treatments. The IRA is already forcing some drug companies to freeze efforts to find additional applications for existing rare disease drugs. One biotech company already stopped a late-stage clinical trial that would have determined whether a rare heart disease drug would also work for a rare eye condition. In short, the IRA’s negative treatment of orphan products is a direct contradiction of the positive, and life-changing, work done by Congress in passing the Orphan Drug Act itself many years ago.” […]  “ We cannot squander this great opportunity in the years ahead to advance state-of-the-art medicines for people in need—especially the most vulnerable among us. It is a moral imperative for our society. And the United States must not relinquish the great strategic advantage that is American biotechnology.”  Dr. Steve Potts who serves as Chair of the Drug Development Council at the International Cancer Advocacy Network: “The IRA has made new small molecule R&D for diseases of the aging nearly impossible—which is particularly bad not just for small company drug developers like me, but also for people who suffer from diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s.”

Sep 29, 2023
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Statement on FDA’s Lab Developed Test Rule

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) issued the following statement regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) recently-announced proposed rule to regulate laboratory developed tests (LDTs): “This rule goes well beyond any of the proposed LDT legislation and will stifle innovation of diagnostics, such as those used to detect rare diseases. By adding new costly regulations, patients could lose access to diagnostics that identify potentially fatal conditions. Any LDT policy should go through the legislative process with deliberative consideration by the committees of jurisdiction. In order to strike the appropriate balance between adequate protections of public health and facilitating innovation, the FDA should rescind this rule and allow Congress—the people’s voice—to consider the matter.” 

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.”

Sep 29, 2023

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. 

Sep 29, 2023

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.

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

Chair Rodgers and Senator Cruz Urge FCC Commissioner to Reject Rosenworcel Plan to Subsidize TikTok on School Buses

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Senate Commerce Committee Ranking Member Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to the newly sworn-in Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Anna Gomez urging her to oppose FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel's plan to expand the E-rate program beyond school classrooms and libraries. The proposed expansion of funding, including to fund Wi-Fi hotspots on school buses, is not only unlawful (the statute only allows for connectivity spending for classrooms and libraries) but raises concerns about subsidizing children’s unsupervised internet access to social media sites, like TikTok and Instagram, on their bus rides to and from school. The letter, emphasizing multiple concerns, argues that the E-rate expansion could potentially lead to duplicative federal government programs and wasteful subsidized overbuilding in communities. In the letter, E&C Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Senate Commerce Ranking Member Ted Cruz and wrote:    “We write to express our strong opposition to a plan circulated by Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel to expand the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC or the Commission) E-Rate program. This plan would not only violate federal law but also duplicate programs across the federal government, directly contradicting FCC commissioners’ repeated commitments to streamlining federal broadband funding. Indeed, Commissioner Nathan Simington says this plan ‘would eviscerate Congress’ restrictions on E-Rate and make a mockery of the law.’ Instead of expanding the FCC’s authority beyond current statutory and budgetary constraints, the FCC should address the E-Rate program’s existing problems and follow the law as written. “Expanding E-Rate to fund equipment like Wi-Fi hotspots would break with the statute and longstanding precedent that Universal Service Fund (USF) dollars, which fund the E-Rate program, may only be used to fund services and not consumer devices.  “Perhaps even more concerning, expanding E-Rate spending beyond school classrooms and libraries into the broader community creates new potential for wasteful, subsidized overbuilding. The E-Rate program already subsidizes broadband deployment to schools and libraries, which has resulted in multiple examples of subsidized overbuilding. By expanding E-Rate support to off-campus connectivity, the plan appears to open the door to funding broadband buildout to homes, even in cases where the community is already served by an existing broadband provider. This use of taxpayer dollars to compete with private businesses is inappropriate and inefficient, and could duplicate existing federal programs, such as the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment program (BEAD).  “Worse, this expansion neglects E-Rate’s deep-seated problems. There is little evidence the program has helped improve learning outcomes or that schools would not be connected without the subsidy. E-Rate primarily benefits large, wealthy school districts, rather than poor rural schools. It is full of waste, fraud, and abuse. It is notorious for overbuilding existing networks. According to the former FCC Inspector General, there is a cottage industry of ‘consultants who extract a significant amount of money from applicants’ by taking advantage of the program’s complexity. Additionally, the FCC has an extensive backlog of E-Rate applications and appeals, including some pending cases from two decades ago. The FCC should get E-Rate’s house in order before seeking new ways to spend consumers’ hard-earned money.” The letter concludes, “ Chairwoman Rosenworcel calls her plan 'Learn without Limits,' but it really should be called 'Spend without Limits.' We ask that you reject this unlawful plan to vastly expand the E-Rate program. Instead, the FCC should work with Congress, not ignore the text of section 254, to advance its policy goals.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter. On July 31, 2023, Chair Rodgers and Senator Cruz sent a letter to Chairwoman Rosenworcel expressing their opposition to her proposal to vastly expand the E-Rate program. Read the full letter HERE .

Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan Opening Remarks at Hearing with Electric Grid Operators

Washington, D.C. — Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Chairman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security hearing titled “Powering America’s Economy, Security, and Our Way of Life: Examining the State of Grid Reliability.” “Thank you all for being here today and welcome to the Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee hearing, ‘Powering America’s Economy, Security, and Our Way of Life.’ “Under my chairmanship of this subcommittee, Republicans have been focused on policies to improve the affordability and reliability of electricity for all Americans.   “We are conducting oversight of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the Department of Energy (DOE), and proposed regulations, including EPA regulations and actions that impact the grid.   “In June, we received testimony from the FERC Chairman and the Commissioners. A few weeks ago, we received testimony from FERC’s director of the office of reliability and the Department of Energy’s assistant secretary for the office of electricity. “In each of these hearings, Republican members raised concerns about the growing electric reliability crisis and pressed the agencies on their actions to address it.     “Today, we will hear from the nation’s electric grid operators, who have responsibility for dispatching power, balancing the electrical load, and maintaining a reliable system.  “I would like to thank our witnesses for appearing before us today – the last time we held a hearing like this was in 2017.      “These grid operators are responsible for overseeing two-thirds of the nation’s power grid—the majority of Americans live in regions overseen by Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) and Independent System Operators (ISOs).” RELIABILITY “The nation is facing an electric reliability crisis and the nation’s grid operators are not equipped to address it alone. “Federal tax subsidies and state policies designed to prop-up renewables, and EPA regulations targeting coal and natural gas power plants, continue to lead to the premature retirement of the nation’s most dependable generation sources.  “As a direct result, grid operators have issued unprecedented warnings and pleas to conserve energy and prepare for blackouts.     “Power outages can cause loss of life. Extended outages have significant economic consequences. “We continue to hear from FERC and the operators that we are facing a ‘looming resource adequacy crisis.’ “At our June hearing this year, Commissioner Christie testified that ‘The increasing threat of system-wide, extensive power outages is potentially catastrophic.’ “Commissioner Danly echoed concern and noted the current wholesale market structure is distorting price signals, jeopardizing reliability. “The reliability experts at the North American Reliability Corporation, or NERC, have warned us repeatedly in recent years, in increasingly urgent terms, about looming threats to reliability. NERC's CEO testified to the Senate this year that ‘The United States is headed for a reliability crisis.’ “In the same hearing, the CEO of PJM agreed there is a growing threat of a crisis. “We’ve heard repeatedly from other operators of the upcoming resource scarcity. “This pending crisis is a result of several factors: ·      “Premature retirements of reliable generation caused by renewable subsidies that drive massive supply of weather dependent generation that undermines price signals for reliable generation in wholesale markets, ·      “State renewable mandates and bans on the use of natural gas, ·      “Lack of pipeline capacity – especially in the Northeast, ·      “and new EPA regulations that will make it even more costly for power plants to operate.” RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE GRID “We all have a responsibility to respond to these warnings and act accordingly. Turning the power off and demanding Americans ‘conserve’ energy is not the answer. “In Congress, we should support policy efforts to bring more reliable generation online. Transmission connecting intermittent renewables is not a replacement for reliable generation. “Unfortunately, the current market is pushing certain generation sources over others, which is making energy more expensive and less reliable. “There is no replacement for reliable energy. Every American should trust that when they flip the switch, the power comes on. “Right now, that is not the reality, and we need to have an honest conversation about what is wrong with the current system and who is ultimately responsible when the lights go out. “The operators in front of us today face challenges in fulfilling their core mission of providing reliable energy to millions of Americans. “I look forward to their perspectives on the issues they face and how Congress, and federal agencies, can act to support all Americans having reliable and affordable energy."

Sep 28, 2023

Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith Opening Remarks at Hearing on Devastating Maui Fires

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s hearing on the start of the start of the Maui fires and the potential role of electric infrastructure in the fires. “On August 7   and 8 a series of fires broke out on the island of Maui and the island of Hawaii, including one that devastated the town of Lahaina on the west coast of Maui.” DAMAGE TO COMMUNITIES “While the Hawaiian Electric Company and the County of Maui dispute some facts surrounding these events, one thing is certain, this series of fires were catastrophic to the state of Hawaii, and we must make every effort to be vigilant and try and prevent a similar disaster from striking again. “Tragically, the Lahaina fire took at least 97 lives, burned thousands of acres, caused billions of dollars in damage, and destroyed multiple native Hawaiian cultural and historical landmarks. “I am deeply saddened to hear the stories of those who survived, awaiting news of their loved ones who still remain unaccounted for, who are searching for housing, and who are wrestling with how they will survive after the fire consumed businesses and erased the island’s tourism industry.” PREVENTATIVE MEASURES “While many continue to debate which exact decisions and circumstances contributed to the catastrophic scale of the Maui fires, it is not too early to start examining what can be done better. “For example, some wildfire experts have noted that dense, flammable non-native grasses have multiplied across the island in recent years, facilitating the deadly spread of the recent fires.  “Other reports have cited utility law experts, who maintain that Hawaiian Electric waited too long to pursue important upgrades to harden and modernize the electric grid against wildfire risks.  “Still others have argued that Maui Electric Company, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric, was particularly slow in replacing outdated and deteriorating poles supporting its power lines.  “There were many decision-makers involved along the way, and there is still much to sort out. “To that end, Chair Rodgers, Chair Duncan, and I probed some of these concerns in our August 30, 2023, letter to each of our invited witnesses, requesting additional information on their efforts to address wildfire risks on Maui. We thank our witnesses for their responses to our request and I look forward to discussing the responses further today. “Now, I’d like to take a moment to introduce each of our witnesses for our first panel. “We are joined today by Ms. Sheelee Kimura, President and Chief Executive Officer at Hawaiian Electric Company. Hawaiian Electric’s subsidiary corporation, Maui Electric Company, provides service on Maui. Hawaiian Electric and its subordinate corporations provide service for 95% of Hawaii’s residents.  “Also, we will hear from Mr. Mark Glick, Chief Energy Officer of the Hawai’i State Energy Office. This office develops and supports state energy policy goals.  “We also welcome Leodoloff R. Asuncion, Jr., Chairman of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. Mr. Asuncion has served as a commissioner since April 2019 and as its Chair since July 2022. The Commission, among other things, regulates the electricity rates and power service parameters of public utility companies operating in the state. “Immediately after, we will convene a second panel, consisting of testimony from our colleagues from the Hawaiian congressional delegation. Representative Ed Case, from Hawaii’s First District will testify. We will also hear testimony from Representative Jill Tokuda, whose Second District of Hawaii includes the island of Maui. “There are several investigations underway and still a lot of debate and speculation around the days in which the fires spread, and about what has been done or has not been done in the years prior.” SAFE ENERGY GRID “However, Congress has a responsibility to pursue a safe national energy policy which includes hardened electric infrastructure that is prepared for events like wildfires and hurricanes. Congress has a portion of that responsibility along with state regulators and private sector partners. Accordingly, it is extremely important that we convene today to begin to ask the hard questions.  “Given this Committee’s role in protecting our electric utility infrastructure and its general jurisdiction over power utilities, we will focus today on that aspect of this disaster. “I hope that what we learn here today will inform efforts at the federal, state, local, and utility level to protect constituents and ratepayers and reduce the chances of preventable losses of life and property to wildfires in the future. “I thank the witnesses for participating in our efforts to learn from this horrible event and to prevent similar disasters from unfolding in such a deadly and destructive manner going forward.”