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Health Updates


Feb 29, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Supporting Patients with Rare Diseases

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee legislative hearing on proposals to support patients with rare diseases.  “I’m glad we’re gathered on Rare Disease Day to examine legislation to help move forward efforts to promote innovation for people with rare diseases and make sure all patients can benefit from all the exciting innovation that is happening.  “We’re going to take action for patients, like Hunter Davis, a 12-year-old with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1, whose mother, Khrystal, is here today.  “There are over 10,000 known rare diseases affecting an estimated 30 million Americans, like Hunter.  “However, only about 500 of these diseases have FDA-approved treatments.  “But now more than ever, there is increasing hope with new genetically targeted technologies, cell and gene therapies, and many more innovations being researched and developed, some of which we will hear about today.”  FOSTERING INNOVATION   “We’ve made progress on fostering innovation to find rare disease treatments, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.  “Prior to the passage of the Orphan Drug Act just over forty years ago, only 38 orphan drugs were FDA approved.  “Compare that to 2023 alone, when 40 novel, orphan-designated drugs and biologics were approved by the FDA, many of them potentially curative.  “Our job is to make sure the FDA is ready, and the market continues to foster innovation that leads to treatments and cures for patients.  “I am concerned that if we don’t continue to encourage investment in rare disease efforts, we will be harming the potential for the development of life-changing treatments.  “Many of the bills before us seek to provide the regulatory clarity necessary to ensure that novel therapies, and in some cases, cures, continue to become accessible to patients as rapidly as possible.  “As we work to carry out that mission, we must carefully examine all of the legislation before us today to ensure it doesn't have the opposite effect and stifle innovation.”  EXPANDING ACCESS TO CARE   “Additionally, we need to make sure that once drugs are approved that patients can actually access them.  “One issue that we’ll discuss today is how treatment options for certain diseases are often concentrated at or limited to centers of excellence.  “In many instances, access may come down to whether patients can afford to travel across the country or stay in a different city for weeks at a time to receive the lifesaving care that they need.  “Congressman Guthrie’s draft Patient Access Act would help make these costs more manageable so that patients, and in the case of a child, a parent, can travel to get the care that they need by allowing for drug manufacturers to directly support patients’ incidental costs for travel.  “Meanwhile, Congresswoman Miller-Meeks's Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act would cut red tape that restricts a pediatrician’s ability to get paid by Medicaid to treat kids who are enrolled in a different state’s Medicaid program.”  REVERSING MISTAKES FROM THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT   “There are also three bills we’ll discuss today that amend the Inflation Reduction Act’s drug pricing scheme.  “While I recognize members of this committee have differing opinions on the best way to ensure Americans have access to innovative, lifesaving cures, I hope we can set some of those broader disagreements aside and focus on what’s best for rare disease patients.  “Because the process that led to the IRA’s drug price setting scheme was so rushed, I don’t think everyone fully understood how some changes could have devastating impacts on the rare disease community.  “Last Congress, after rejecting H.R. 3 with bipartisan opposition, this Committee did not get the opportunity to explore the potential consequences of the IRA’s new scheme.  “I am hopeful that today we do what this committee is known for and work in a bipartisan way to address some of the consequences that have come to light since its passage.  “These three bipartisan bills before us today are a first step to doing so.  “This committee has a long history of working together to support innovation, including things like the 21st Century Cures Act and multiple FDA user fee reauthorizations. We must continue to build on this work, and that is exactly what we are doing today. “I look forward to learning what more we can do from our witnesses and finding where the committee can move forward with bipartisan legislation to help families all across this country.”



Feb 29, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks on Supporting Patients with Rare Diseases

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on proposals to support patients with rare diseases.  “Thank you to our witnesses for being here today to discuss such an important topic.  “The legislation before us will take an important step in helping to support rare disease patients.  “The Orphan Drug Act defines a rare disease as a disease that affects less than 200,000 patients across the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are over 10,000 known diseases that fit this definition, impacting as many as 30 million Americans.”   RARE DISEASE PATIENTS LACK ACCESS TO TREATMENTS   “Despite 10 percent of the U.S. population living with a rare disease, about 95 percent of these diseases lack treatments.  “Most patients can’t even begin to think about treatments until they are diagnosed, which can be a long and costly journey, only to discover there are limited treatment options, if any.   “Research and development into therapies designed to treat rare diseases is challenging, especially when it comes to measuring the safety and efficacy of drugs for a smaller patient population, making investments in rare disease therapies risky and unpredictable.   “Recognizing these hurdles, Congress has taken numerous steps over the years to better support every stage along the drug approval pipeline, from supporting basic research for rare diseases, to improving the process by which drugs seek and receive FDA approval for rare disease indications, to ensuring that payers like Medicare and Medicaid will cover these treatments when they come to market.  “For example, Congress authorized the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program at FDA almost a decade ago, to bolster existing incentives created under the Orphan Drug Act.  “The priority review voucher reduces the financial risk for innovators to obtain resources needed to conduct critical rare disease research, which ultimately helps patients access therapies or treatments more quickly.  “That’s why reauthorizing the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program, the Creating Hope Reauthorization Act, is so important.  “Since its inception, almost 50 priority review vouchers have been granted that have paved the way for groundbreaking therapies that may otherwise not have made it to patients.    “I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their bipartisan work on this issue.”  BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS TO PROTECT ACCESS TO TREATMENT   “We are also considering bipartisan solutions to ensure access to treatments for rare disease patients by promoting certainty and consistency through the regulatory and reimbursement process.   “First, we have the Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act, led by Representative Miller-Meeks, which will streamline care for kids in Medicaid by making it easier for them to receive necessary care by a provider in another state.  “This is a concern for children who must travel out of state to centers of excellence to get the care they need for rare diseases.”  THE PATIENT ACCESS ACT AND THE MVP ACT   “We also are considering my discussion draft, the Patient Access Act, which removes burdensome regulations that make it harder for patients to access life-saving therapies.  “In some cases, patients and their families must travel significant distances to receive therapies that also require lengthy stays, leaving the patient and their families responsible for hotels, food, and other important expenses while they miss work or other obligations.  “My bill would amend Anti-kickback Statute by permitting manufacturers to pay for these incidentals in very limited circumstances to make accessing these critical therapies easier for patients and their families.  “Both bills build off this Committee’s important work in passing the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act to ban discriminatory barriers for those with disabilities to access life-saving health care services and by passing my bill, the MVP Act, which provides access to curative cell-and-gene therapies for Medicaid patients.   “Finally, as part of our efforts to increase access to life-saving therapies, we’re considering very narrow statutory fixes that would help ensure patients maintain access to lifesaving, affordable cures to treat rare diseases.”  CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY FIXES TO THE IRA   “The Mini Act, the Orphan Cures Act, and the PLASMA Act all make changes to the Inflation Reduction Act that would provide innovators working in complex disease spaces with more runway as they invest in research areas.  “I hope we can have a constructive conversation today and set aside our broader disagreements regarding the IRA to see how these small policy fixes can have big impacts for patients.   “In closing, while none of these bills serve as a silver bullet to solving all the challenging problems faced by rare disease patients, they are important steps and will make a meaningful difference in the lives of the millions of Americans living with rare diseases.”



Feb 22, 2024
Health

Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie Announce Health Subcommittee Legislative Hearing on Rare Disease Bills

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today announced a legislative hearing titled “Legislative Proposals to Support Patients with Rare Diseases.” “Energy and Commerce Republicans have consistently and proudly defended the value and dignity of all life. Those living with rare diseases are no different and deserve every opportunity to live an abundant life. We are proud to continue building on the Committee’s previous efforts, like our recent work to ban the discriminatory practice of Quality-Adjusted Life Years, by considering legislative proposals that further support patients with rare diseases and ensure they can maintain access to live saving treatments,” said Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie. “By supporting research and fostering innovation, we can continue to support finding treatments and cures that provide hope to patients in need.”  Subcommittee on Health hearing titled “Legislative Proposals to Support Patients with Rare Diseases.”    WHAT : A legislative hearing to discuss solutions to support patients living with rare diseases.   DATE : Thursday, February 29, 2024   TIME : 10:00 AM   LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building   WITNESSES : Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.  LEGISLATION TO BE DISCUSSED :  H.R. 1092 , Better Empowerment Now to Enhance Framework and Improve Treatments (BENEFIT) Act (Reps. Matsui and Wenstrup)  H.R. 3433 , Give Kids a Chance Act (Reps. McCaul and Eshoo)  H.R. 4758 , Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act (Reps. Trahan and Miller-Meeks)  H.R. 5539 , Optimizing Research Progress Hope And New (ORPHAN) Cures Act (Reps. Joyce and Nickel)  H.R. 5547 , Maintaining Investments in New Innovation (MINI) Act (Reps. Nickel and Joyce)  H.R. 5663 , ALS Better Care Act (Reps. Schakowsky, Quigley, Fitzpatrick)  H.R. 6020 , Honor Our Living Donors Act (Reps. Obernolte and DelBene)  H.R. 6094 , Providing Realistic Opportunity To Equal and Comparable Treatment for (PROTECT) Rare Act (Reps. Matsui and Dunn)  H.R. 6465 , Preserving Life-saving Access to Specialty Medicines in America (PLASMA) Act (Reps. Hudson and Davis)  H.R. 6664 , Innovation in Pediatric Drugs Act (Reps. Eshoo and McCaul)  H.R. 6705 , Effective Screening and Testing for Tuberculosis Act (Reps. Moolenaar and Dingell) H.R. 7188 , Shandra Eisenga Human Cell and Tissue Product Safety Act (Reps. Moolenaar and Dingell)  H.R. 7248 , FDA Modernization Act 3.0 (Reps. Carter and Barragan)  H.R. 7383 , Retaining Access and Restoring Exclusivity (RARE) Act (Reps. Matsui and Bilirakis)   H.R. 7384 , Creating Hope Reauthorization Act of 2024 (Reps. McCaul and Eshoo)  H.R. ____ , Antimicrobial Resistance Research Assessment Act (Rep. Griffith)  H.R. ____ , Patient Access Act (Rep. Guthrie)  H.R. ____ , Sickle Cell Disease Comprehensive Care Act (Rep. Burgess) This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing 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 hearing, please contact Emma Schultheis with the Committee staff at Emma.Schultheis@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Christopher Krepich at Christopher.Krepich@mail.house.gov



Feb 16, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Request Former NIH Official Participate in Transcribed Interview Regarding Oversight of Risky Virus Research Experiments

Washington, D.C. — As part of its ongoing investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the adequacy of the National Institutes of Health’s (NIH) oversight of risky virus research, 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 requested former senior NIH official Dr. Teresa Hauguel participate in a transcribed interview before the Committee.  KEY EXCERPT :  “As a former program officer at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), documents indicate that you participated in internal institute committee meetings to determine whether certain virus research experiments presented risks that required additional scrutiny and possible actions to mitigate the risks such as redesign of the experiment. You have been identified by a senior official at NIAID as a subject matter expert for reviewing risks in respiratory virus research projects. For these reasons, we believe you could be helpful to the committee’s examination of virus research oversight, and thus, we request that you appear for a transcribed interview to be held on the week of March 4, 2024.”  CLICK HERE to read the letter.



Feb 16, 2024
Press Release

E&C Republicans Raise Concerns with Proposed Rule that Weakens HHS Refugee Resettlement Vetting Process

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), on behalf of the Health and Oversight Subcommittee Republicans, wrote to Biden administration officials who oversee the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Refugee Resettlement. In the letter, the Chairs raise concerns about a recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would weaken the vetting process for children in the program as well as ORR’s poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars and potential conflicts of interested related to the ORR Director.   In addition, the Chairs note that HHS has failed to respond to questions for the record from a hearing in July of 2023, despite several extensions given to the original deadline.  KEY EXCERPTS : “ORR’s inclusion of this provision [Sec. 410.1202 (c)] is particularly surprising considering continual bi-partisan Congressional interest in bolstering the sponsor vetting process. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra was repeatedly questioned on the thoroughness of the sponsor vetting process at a Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations hearing last summer. The Secretary repeatedly assured the Subcommittee that ORR was conducting a ‘very thorough vetting process for any sponsor to make sure we understand who is asking for the opportunity to care for these children.' Making background checks and fingerprinting optional is inconsistent with the Secretary’s testimony to Congress .”  […]  “Numerous media and government oversight reports have clearly shown that the care provider facilities and sponsors do not always act in the best interest of the unaccompanied children. Many ORR influx care facility’s personnel have shown that they are frequently unqualified to care for vulnerable children. There have even been allegations of neglect and sexual misconduct by influx care facility staff with migrant children. Loosening vetting procedures for sponsors by eliminating background checks, fingerprints, and home visits, will put vulnerable unaccompanied children at a greater risk of being trafficked, exploited, or placed in unsafe settings.   “ Whistleblowers have reported to Congress how HHS endangered the lives of unaccompanied migrant children by not properly vetting sponsors and not tracking children after they left ORR custody. Many children have ended up working in unsafe environments, such as roofing and meatpacking plants, after they were placed with an ORR approved sponsor. Some unaccompanied children have even died from injuries sustained while working at these sites. The Committee has received new allegations that ORR knowingly attempted to place a child with a convicted sex offender who was previously convicted of sexually abusing another child in his custody.”  […]  “ORR’s neglect of the unaccompanied children comes at a time when the agency has received unprecedented levels of funding. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), ORR’s parent agency, has received $20 billion in the last two years—$8.9 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2022 and $10.9 billion in FY 2023—for refugee and entrant assistance, including more than $10 billion for the care of unaccompanied migrant children . ORR’s continued failure to care adequately for unaccompanied children in its custody, shows not only indifference to child welfare, but poor stewardship of taxpayer dollars.  “ The Committee is also disturbed to learn of potential conflicts of interest stemming from Director Dunn Marcos’ prior role as Senior Director for Resettlement, Asylum, and Integration Programming at the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Recent reports indicate not only that the IRC has been the top beneficiary of refugee and entrant assistance discretionary grants since 2013, but also that the funding amounts allocated to the IRC in 2022 and 2023 have ballooned, with the organization receiving more than $235 million in spending in FY 2023 compared to $22 million in FY 2021—curiously, since Director Dunn Marcos took office.”  BACKGROUND : Section 410.1202 (c) of the Proposed Rule states, "As part of its suitability assessment, ORR may also require such components as an investigation of the living conditions in which the unaccompanied child would be placed and the standard of care the unaccompanied child would receive, [. . .] a home visit or home study […], background and criminal records checks, which may include a fingerprint based background check, on the potential sponsor and on adult residents of the potential sponsor’s household." Section 410.1210 (a)(3) does not require PRS for children with mental health needs, as the UC Program Foundational Rule now states “ORR may conduct PRS in additional cases involving unaccompanied children with mental health or other needs who could benefit from ongoing assistance from a community-based service provider,” based on available appropriations.  Unaccompanied children often undergo extreme physical and mental trauma in their perilous journey to the U.S. and are in need of regular mental health and wellness checks by appropriate providers.   Such services must be available for children manifesting obvious mental health symptoms.  Section 410.1210 (a)(4) states “ORR shall not delay the release of an unaccompanied child if PRS are not immediately available.”   By including this provision, ORR absolves itself of all responsibility that an unaccompanied migrant child will be properly taken care of after release in situations where the unaccompanied child clearly needs PRS.  Section 410.1210 (e) provides that ongoing check-ins and in-home visits will be made “in consultation with the released unaccompanied child and sponsor,” and may be done “either in person or virtually. ”  CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 



Feb 14, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks on Legislative Proposals to Support Patients and Caregivers

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing discussing bipartisan policy proposals that support patients and caregivers.  “The bills in front of us today are designed to promote greater and improved access to care for Americans and their families. They are also complementary to our work on lowering health care costs for all Americans, that we have worked together on in a bipartisan way.  “We’re considering legislation that will continue programs to detect, diagnose, and treat chronic diseases and health conditions at earlier stages, improve the quality of life for individuals with disabilities, help ensure Americans in rural communities have access to life-saving care, and provide additional resources to assist in the development of cutting-edge treatments for debilitating health conditions.   “Today’s hearing will help inform our policymaking as we explore how current programs are working and if any gaps that exist may need to be addressed in order to improve the quality of life for millions across the country.”  REAUTHORIZING THE BOLD ACT   “For example, my bipartisan bill, H.R. 7218, the Building Our Largest Dementia Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Reauthorization Act or 'BOLD Act' would continue programming to ensure individuals living with Alzheimer’s have access to the highest quality of health care while building on efforts to identify and diagnose the disease sooner.  “The BOLD Reauthorization Act also includes educational resources for caregivers to help ease the challenges for those caring for loved ones with this vicious disease.  “These continued investments are even more important now that we have treatments to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and will help to ensure patients and their families have more time to spend with one another.   “I say that as someone who just lost their mother-in-law to the disease in October.   “I would like to thank Representative Tonko for leading this legislation with me, and I look forward to working to get this important bill reauthorized this year.”  BUILDING UPON THE WORK OF THE PROTECTING HEALTH CARE FOR ALL PATIENTS ACT   “Another crucial bill we are considering today is the Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act, led by Representatives Cammack and Dingell, which will prohibit health care providers and other entities from denying or restricting an individual's access to organ transplants solely on the basis of the individual's disability.   “This builds on the work we did last week, led by Chair Rodgers, who has been a champion for individuals with disabilities, by passing the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act out of the House of Representatives to ensure individuals with disabilities are treated fairly and are able to access the treatments they need.  “We’ll also consider the DeOndra Dixon INCLUDE Project Act, which will authorize current programs at the National Institutes of Health to continue cutting-edge research on Down Syndrome, and address gaps in current research initiatives.   “The INCUDE Project will continue to facilitate improved coordination across NIH and build upon research that will improve the quality of life for those living with Down Syndrome.   “Other bills being considered today are designed to provide access to care for individuals in rural communities as well as diagnose potentially fatal, yet treatable chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain cancers.  “The SIREN Reauthorization Act, led by Representative David Joyce, will continue sending resources for rural emergency medical providers to ensure they can maintain their essential services.  “H.R. 7189 will reauthorize programs to help address gaps in care for individuals with congenital heart disease. Efforts like this have helped ensure over 90% of kids who are diagnosed with congenital heart disease live well into adulthood.   “Many of the bills we are considering will promote greater access to care, facilitate earlier detection, diagnosis, and interventions and help individuals live longer and healthier lives.   “Thank you to all of my colleagues who worked hard to get the legislation before us today and for their leadership on these policies.” 



Feb 14, 2024
Health

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Legislative Proposals to Support Patients and Caregivers

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee legislative hearing to discuss bipartisan policy proposals that support patients and caregivers.  “First, just let me say thank you to all of you, to the Chair, to the Ranking Member, to my colleagues, and to the extraordinary staff—given my announcement last week. “I am blessed. “It has been a tremendous blessing to lead this Committee. “I can testify that being the Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee—the best committee on Capitol Hill—is the best position in the House, and it has been a privilege and an honor for me to lead.  “And I’ll just say, we’re going to finish strong. We have a whole year ahead of us and we have a lot of work to do. “I look forward to working with all of you on important issues, including the issues that are before us today. “As I’ve said many times before, this Committee has a rich history of plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate, and that means coming together to get things done and to get results. “I’m proud of our efforts so far this Congress—like the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act —which are fundamental to driving down the cost of care and fixing our broken health care system. “Today, we’re focusing 19 bipartisan bills that support patients, caregivers, and health care providers.”  IMPROVING PUBLIC HEALTH “Specifically, we will examine proposals to help improve our understanding of various diseases, disabilities, chronic conditions, and stillbirths. “We’ll look at legislation to continue support for emergency medical services and health care providers, to reauthorize respite care resources for family caregivers, and to prevent organ transplant candidates from being denied a transplant based solely on having a disability. “I look forward to hearing from our witnesses about the importance of these programs.” INCLUDE ACT “I’m particularly excited that we are moving forward with the DeOndra Dixon INCLUDE Project Act of 2024 that I’ve introduced with Representatives Diana DeGette, Tom Cole, Rosa DeLauro, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. “You all know that my mission here has been to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. “That’s why I’m proud to champion this bill that would provide important Congressional oversight and direction for the INCLUDE Project at the National Institutes of Health. “Established by a Congressional directive in 2018, INCLUDE, also known as the Investigation of Co-occurring Conditions Across the Lifespan to Understand Down Syndrome Project, conducts research on critical health and quality-of-life needs for individuals with Down syndrome throughout their lives.   “At the time INCLUDE was established, Down Syndrome was among one of the least studied and funded genetic conditions at the NIH, despite it being one of the most common chromosome abnormalities. “I just want to underscore how important it was that Congress took action to make studying Down syndrome a priority at the NIH. “Individuals with Down syndrome are affected by many of the same diseases and conditions that are the focus of the programs we are examining today. “However, those diseases may affect those with Down syndrome differently, require different strategies to treat, or may appear more often in those with Down syndrome than in the general population, as is the case with Alzheimer’s disease. “For a neurological disease like Alzheimer’s, it may take new tools and strategies to know if a treatment is working. “Individuals with Down syndrome are living longer than ever, and the NIH needs to help push forward meaningful research that will benefit those with Down syndrome and their families in all stages of their lives. “It is important that we also acknowledge this research could benefit the millions of people who battle conditions—like Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart conditions—that are common among, but hardly limited to people with Down syndrome. “Our bipartisan legislation directing the NIH to continue this important work will help us take Down syndrome research to new heights and usher in a new era of innovation to help everyone with Down syndrome—and their families—live their lives to their fullest potential. “We still have a lot of work ahead, including these important bipartisan bills before us today, and I am looking forward to continuing our work over the rest of this Congress to improve the lives of the American people.”



Feb 12, 2024
Press Release

E&C Leaders Ask Government Watchdog to Assess Risks of HHS and USDA Selling Excess Laboratory Equipment

Members raise dual-use concerns over lab equipment that could facilitate bioterrorism or warfare 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), on behalf of the Health and Oversight Committee Republicans, wrote to Government Accountability Office (GAO) Comptroller General Gene Dodaro. In the letter, the Chairs request GAO study the oversight by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) of sales of used and excess laboratory equipment and protective clothing that could be used to facilitate bioterrorism or warfare.  KEY EXCERPT :  “In 2023, GAO reported that a number of incidents over the past 10 years have led to questions about the nature and adequacy of U.S. government oversight of pathogens with pandemic potential. Moreover, these lapses have furthered concerns about the potential for a biological weapons attack. In recent years, increases in the accessibility of scientific findings and dual-use biological laboratory equipment—such as used fermenters, centrifuges, and other equipment—could increase the likelihood of such an attack. The availability of both biological laboratory equipment and protective clothing on the commercial market provides access to materials needed to conduct legitimate scientific research, but also increases the chances this equipment could be used for malicious purposes, such as biological terrorism or warfare. Furthermore, the existence of a resale market for this type of equipment and clothing at reduced cost means terrorists have the potential for even greater access to the supplies needed to create biological weapons.” CLICK HERE to read the full letter.



Feb 7, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie Announce Legislative Hearing to Support Patients and Caregivers

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Subcommittee on Health Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) today announced a legislative hearing titled “Legislative Proposals to Support Patients and Caregivers.” “Americans are counting on Congress to deliver solutions that will improve the health and wellbeing of patients and support caregivers. In keeping with Energy and Commerce’s rich history of plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate, we will consider bipartisan policy proposals that accomplish just that. I am grateful to my colleagues for leading these important efforts,” said Chairs Rodgers and Guthrie.    Subcommittee on Health hearing titled “Legislative Proposals to Support Patients and Caregivers.”   WHAT : A legislative hearing to discuss legislation designed to support patients and caregivers.  DATE : Wednesday, February 14, 2024  TIME : 10:00 AM  LOCATION : 2123 Rayburn House Office Building  WITNESSES : Witnesses will be announced and are by invitation only.    LEGISLATION TO BE DISCUSSED :  H.R. 6160 , To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize a lifespan respite care program (Reps. Molinaro and Cárdenas )  H.R. 7208 , To reauthorize the Traumatic Brain Injury program (Reps. Pascrell and Bacon)  H.R. 7251 , To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize certain poison control programs (Reps. Chavez-DeRemer, J. Joyce, Davis, and Cherfilus-McCormick)   H.R. 7153 , To reauthorize the Dr. Lorna Breen Health Care Provider Protection Act, and for other purposes (Reps. Wild and Kiggans)    H.R. 6960 , Emergency Medical Services for Children Reauthorization Act of 2024 (Reps. Carter and Castor)   H.R. 4646 , SIREN Reauthorization Act (Reps. D. Joyce and Dingell)   H.R. 7213 , Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education, and Support (CARES) Act of 2024 (Reps. C. Smith and Cueller)   H.R. 7189 , Congenital Heart Futures Reauthorization Act of 2024 (Reps. Bilirakis, Soto, Carter, Schiff, Salazar, and Cárdenas)    H.R. 7218 , Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer's Act of 2024 (Reps. Guthrie, Tonko, C. Smith, and Waters)   H.R. 2706 , Charlotte Woodward Organ Transplant Discrimination Prevention Act (Reps. Cammack and Dingell)   H.R. 620 , Alzheimer’s Accountability and Investment Act (Reps. C. Smith, Tonko, and Waters)   H.R. 619 , NAPA Reauthorization Act (Reps. Tonko, C. Smith, and Waters)   H.R. 6829 , Cardiomyopathy Health Education, Awareness, Research, and Training in the Schools (HEARTS) Act of 2023 (Reps. Pallone and A. Kim)  H.R. 7224 , To amend the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the Stop, Observe, Ask, and Respond to Health and Wellness Training Program (Reps. Cohen, Wagner, Cárdenas , and Carter)  H.R. 7300 , Reauthorization of the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (Reps. Sherrill and De La Cruz)  H.R. 7268 , DeOndra Dixon INCLUDE Project Act of 2024 (Reps. McMorris Rodgers, DeGette, Cole, and Holmes Norton)   H.R. 5012 , SHINE for Autumn Act of 2023 (Reps. Y. Kim, Castor, D. Joyce, and Kelly)  H.R. 3916 , SCREENS for Cancer Act of 2023 (Reps. Morelle and Fitzpatrick)   H.R. 4534 , Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventive Services Act of 2023 (Reps. Boyle and Fitzpatrick)  This notice is at the direction of the Chair. The hearing 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 hearing, please contact Emma Schultheis with the Committee staff at Emma.Schultheis@mail.house.gov . If you have any press-related questions, please contact Christopher Krepich at Christopher.Krepich@mail.house.gov .