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Hearings 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 15, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks at Environment Subcommittee Hearing on Modernizing Air Quality Standards

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee legislative hearing on the EPA’s harmful new particulate matter standards that will crush American manufacturing and jobs.  “For decades, America has been the best place to do business, while also ensuring we have some of the highest environmental standards in the world.  “America has done more to lift people out of poverty and raise the standard of living than any other nation in the world.  “Unfortunately, that prosperity and opportunity is being threatened." BIDEN EPA WILL CRUSH THE AMERICAN ECONOMY   “Last week, the Biden administration’s EPA finalized a standard on fine particulate matter—or PM 2.5—a decision that will be devastating for American businesses, people’s livelihoods, and our economic leadership.   “This new rule goes well beyond the original congressional intent first laid out in the Clean Air Act, which stated goal was to promote ‘reasonable actions’ to limit or reduce emissions and pollution.  “The administration’s process to develop this latest rule was rushed, lacked transparency, and failed to incorporate feedback from stakeholders across the country who will be impacted the hardest.   “With EPA’s nearly 150 pending regulations, it’s just the latest example of President Biden’s extreme environmental agenda that is going to devastate our communities.   “As we will hear today, the EPA’s decision to finalize these unrealistic standards will result in far-reaching consequences for the economy.  “The harm would extend to nearly every sector of our economy, including manufacturing, power, agriculture, construction, and forestry, jeopardize hundreds of billions of dollars in U.S. economic activity and millions of jobs, and make it nearly impossible to build new manufacturing facilities, making efforts to secure our supply chains and reduce our dependence on countries like China nearly impossible.”  ONGOING TRENDS   “By all measures, the nation’s air quality has improved dramatically since the Clean Air Act was enacted and the current standards are improving quality even more.  “The EPA itself has already concluded that the current standards are protective of public health and has reported that total emissions of criteria air pollutants have dropped 73 percent since 1980.  “The data is clear. U.S. air quality is the best in the world and only getting better.   “Despite this progress, the Biden EPA is taking steps to introduce these new standards that are completely divorced from reality to appease his radical base.”  NEEDED REFORMS   “Instead of more harmful regulations, what we need are reasonable solutions that appropriately balance protecting our environment with ensuring America continues to maintain its economic leadership.   “That’s the approach we’ve taken for decades, and it’s worked.  “As our air gets cleaner, the Clean Air Act provisions that were established decades ago, when air quality was much worse, should be revisited.   “We learned in our September hearing that as new PM standards get closer to natural background levels—the air pollution levels that occur naturally—there’s less room for traditional industrial sources to further cut their emissions.  “But the EPA’s new, stricter standards completely ignore this fact.  “Under those standards, permitting new economic development will be nearly impossible.    “This will severely hinder new manufacturing projects, including pulp and paper, steel, cement, the automotive sector, advanced batteries, and even pharmaceuticals.   “States will be forced to limit new economic opportunity for the communities that need them most.   “Additionally, limits in the current law prevent states from addressing other, naturally occurring sources of pollution, such as wildfires.”  MODERNIZING THE CLEAN AIR ACT  “We must update air quality standards responsibly in a way that reflects reality.  “The discussion draft under consideration today will ensure that measures to implement health protections are realistic and balanced in their approach.   “It will enable more orderly and reasonable requirements that states can actually implement.    “It will ensure regulators follow the law when considering how to promote healthy communities, taking into account things like adverse public health, welfare, social, economic, and energy impacts.    “It will also make it easier to reduce wildfire risk—something that is especially important for my home state of Washington.”  “Protecting our environment and our economy are not mutually exclusive goals, but in order to achieve both we must rethink how we address pollution levels that are outside our control.  “This discussion draft is a good starting point to maintain America’s economic leadership and ensure public health.   “I look forward to today’s discussion and I yield back.”



Feb 15, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Carter Opening Remarks on Harmful EPA NAAQS Standards

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee legislative hearing on the EPA’s harmful new particulate matter standards that will crush American manufacturing and jobs. CURRENT NAAQS STANDARDS  “The Clean Air Act requires the promulgation of NAAQS for six criteria air pollutants: sulfur dioxide, particulate matter, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, and lead.  “Under the current structure of the statute, EPA is required to review periodically the scientific data upon which the NAAQS are based and revise the standards if necessary to maintain an adequate margin of safety that is requisite to protect public health.  “Today, we will hear testimony and receive feedback on the Air Quality Standards Implementation Act of 2024.  “This discussion draft would update how the standards are reviewed and implemented and provide more clarity in the law to enable better control of harmful emissions like wildfire smoke.  “This hearing is of the utmost importance to many districts across the country.  “Southeast Georgia—where I’m from—is poised for a manufacturing boom. Our favorable climate, access to ports, low electricity rates, and welcoming business environment have made it one of the best places to invest in the country.  “We are growing quickly.  “Billion-dollar manufacturing investments have been made and further opportunities are quickly presenting themselves.  “In addition to these developing areas, we have legacy industries that are the backbone of our economy.  “Georgia is the number one forestry state in the country and according to the Georgia Forestry Commission, the industry provided over $1.5 billion in economic output to my district in 2022.  “These sectors are looking to grow, and while they grow, they are seeking to do it with the highest environmental standards in the world.”  DEVASTATING IMPACTS ON AMERICAN COMMUNITIES  “However, actions like the Biden administration’s recently finalized annual PM2.5 standard threaten to slam the brakes on these investments and economic drivers.  “One of the main concerns is that, because of the success of the Clean Air Act already, new standards are getting closer and closer to background levels.  “Because of this, even areas that meet the standard will not have enough room or 'headspace’ to allow for permitting new or expanded construction.  “This recent action by the EPA is counterproductive to our goals of onshoring supply chains and boosting American manufacturing.  “According to a report conducted by Oxford Economics, the EPA’s recently finalized PM2.5 standards will threaten up to $197.4 billion of economic activity and put nearly one million jobs at risk.  “We’ll hear today about analysis of permitting from three dozen different industries, including pharmaceuticals, paper and wood, and electric vehicle batteries. The analysis shows that the recently finalized PM2.5 standard would result in the failure to permit nearly 80 percent of those projects.  “And these are industries that already control emissions to the highest standards. We learned in a hearing last fall that most of the PM2.5 emission do not even come from these sources.”  IMPROVING THE RULEMAKING PROCESS  “After 40 years, something is not working with our system to set and enforce standards. The Clean Air Act was not established to kill American productivity and prosperity; it was established to enhance our success.  “We must make practical reforms to ensure the NAAQS process works in a way that makes sense. It should reflect the experience of 40 years of implementing air quality standards.  “The discussion draft reflects some of this experience. Among other measures, it would provide more time to develop new standards while providing time for EPA and the states to focus on implementing standards.  “It ensures that State air pollution agencies responsible for, and expert in, implementing the standards have a larger voice in the process.  “It would make clear that wildfire and other exceptional events can be reliably excluded from compliance data. And it would make it easier to reduce wildfires and lower harmful pollution levels.  “I invite constructive comments from the panelists both on PM2.5 implementation challenges, what those indicate about the current process, and how reforms may address those challenges.  “I should note that we sought to have EPA testify today, but EPA declined to attend at this point. We will continue to work with the agency, including examining the comments it supplied on our bill.  “We will also continue to work to get this right. America has the best environmental standards and wonderful economic potential. We will work to make sure this remains the case going forward.”



Feb 15, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Statement on Securing Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee legislative hearing on securing our communications networks from our adversaries, like China, and advancing American leadership.  CHINA IS TARGETING OUR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE “Over the past year, this Committee has held numerous hearings to discuss the many threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to the U.S. “These range from supply chain vulnerabilities to espionage and attacks on our communications networks.” “China-based companies, like Huawei and ZTE, have emerged as top players in the global telecommunications industry. “These companies operate in an environment tightly intertwined with the Chinese government, raising questions about their independence and potential for exploitation by the CCP. “Relying on their technology comes with significant risk. “It could be used by the CCP to surveil Americans, steal people’s personal information, and even shut down entire networks. “Homes, schools, hospitals, our financial system, and the military are all in jeopardy as long as this equipment remains part of our communications infrastructure. “That’s why in 2020, Congress enacted the Secured and Trusted Communications Networks Act to remove Huawei and ZTE entirely from our networks. “That work is ongoing, and it continues to be a top priority of this committee to make sure carriers have the resources they need to remove this equipment from U.S. networks and replace it with trusted equipment. “But that’s just the first step. “China's aggressive pursuit of technological advancement is a direct threat to American national security and economic leadership. “The Chinese government's strategic initiatives, such as the Made in China 2025 plan and the Belt and Road initiative, aim to achieve dominance in technologies that are critical to winning the future. “That includes technologies like artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and advanced manufacturing. “At the recent World Radiocommunication Conference, we witnessed this firsthand, as China and Huawei aggressively worked to undermine U.S. leadership on spectrum policy and give Huawei a global competitive advantage. “Additional actions taken by China, including intellectual property theft, forced technology transfer, and state-sponsored industrial espionage, further undermine free markets, fair competition, and American innovation and entrepreneurship.” CHINA’S CYBER THREAT “Perhaps most alarming is the evolving landscape of cyber threats posed by China. “Last month, we held a hearing on cybersecurity, where we examined how foreign actors are increasingly exploiting widespread vulnerabilities in our critical infrastructure. “State-sponsored cyberattacks targeting U.S. government agencies, businesses, hospitals, and our military have become increasingly sophisticated, frequent, and pose significant economic and national security risks. ”Look no further than the 2017 Equifax data breach, which exposed the personal information of hundreds of millions of Americans or the 2020 SolarWinds incident, which gave China-based hackers access to sensitive information across the federal government. “These vulnerabilities must be addressed.” SOLUTIONS TO COUNTER THE CCP “Today, we will examine a number of legislative solutions to counter the influence of China and promote U.S. leadership in technology. “This hearing will be an opportunity to discuss adding certain CCP-controlled technologies and equipment to the Federal Communications Commission’s Covered List and how to increase transparency for Americans about which companies operating in the U.S. are owned by China. “We will also look at ways we can strengthen communications with our allies overseas and establishing a 6G taskforce to advance American innovation and win the future.” “The United States faces exceedingly complex threats from China and other adversaries that require a comprehensive and coordinated response. “This response must include efforts to secure critical supply chains, protect our allies, strengthen cybersecurity defenses, and engage in strategic competition with China in key technologies. “Failure to address these challenges effectively not only jeopardizes U.S. economic competitiveness and national security but also risks ceding ground to an adversarial power intent on reshaping the global order in its favor. “I’d like to thank our witnesses for being here today and I look forward to this important and timely discussion.” 



Feb 15, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Latta Opening Remarks on Securing Communications Networks from Foreign Adversaries

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Communications and Technology Subcommittee Chair Bob Latta (R-OH) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee legislative hearing on securing our communications networks from our adversaries, like China, and advancing American leadership.  “Every minute, China is attempting to infiltrate communication networks across the globe in its quest for global economic dominance. Whether it be unauthorized access to sensitive data, manipulating our networks or attempting to disrupt critical infrastructure, the Chinese Communist Party does not play by the rules.  “In an effort to combat this foreign influence, this Committee has worked on a bipartisan basis to secure our domestic communications networks from foreign threats.   “In 2020, we passed the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to rip-and-replace Huawei and ZTE equipment from our networks. That law also created a list of covered equipment and services that pose an unacceptable risk to our national security.   “Last Congress, we passed the Secure Equipment Act to prohibit the FCC from authorizing equipment from entities on the covered list.”  NEW EFFORTS TO PROMOTE US INNOVATION   “Today, we are building on those efforts by discussing five different legislative proposals that will help promote U.S. innovation and ensure the U.S. continues to lead the world in combatting Chinese tech influence.  “The first bill we are considering is H.R. 2864, which would amend the Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act to add equipment produced by the company DJI Technologies to the FCC’s covered list due to the threat that DJI Technologies pose to the national security of the United States.  “Next, we will consider H.R. 820, the Foreign Adversary Communications Transparency Act, which would require the FCC to annually publish a list of entities that hold a license granted by the FCC and are owned by China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, or Venezuela.  “Both of these bills are led by my colleague, Representative Stefanik, and I want to thank her for her work on these important issues.  “Next, we are considering H.R. 1513, the FUTURE Networks Act, introduced by my esteemed Ranking Member of this subcommittee. This bipartisan legislation would require the FCC to establish a 6G Task Force to develop a report on the standards development process and possible uses of sixth generation technology.   “The other two discussion drafts being considered today would require the Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information to study whether certain routers, modems, and drones produced by companies with ties to our adversaries pose an unacceptable risk to our national security, as well as technologies that could increase the redundancy and resiliency of Taiwan’s communications networks.  “Taiwan’s independence continues to be threatened by the Chinese Communist Party, and staying connected is crucial for economic and military security.  “These bills highlight the new and evolving threat that our adversaries pose to our communications networks and show that we must remain vigilant and ready to act.   “I’m proud this committee continues its important bipartisan work to lead on solutions that protect Americans and safeguard our communications networks.” 



Feb 14, 2024
Press Release

Subcommittee Chair Duncan Opening Remarks on Ensuring a Reliable and Affordable Electric Grid

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on ensuring reliable and affordable electricity with state public utility commissioners.  “This hearing continues the Committee’s focus on affordable and reliable electricity. During this Congress, we have worked to understand what drives the growing reliability crisis in America.  “Already, we have heard from FERC and grid operators about the very real threats facing reliability.  “Today, we will hear from state public utility commissioners—utility regulators that answer to ratepayers in their states.”  CHANGING MARKET DYNAMICS    “State commissions and utilities use integrated resource plans to look at both the costs and benefits of the entire electricity portfolio over an extended period of time.   “Commissions use these plans to ensure there’s enough electricity and that rates are fair and affordable.   “However, changes to the electric sector over the past 20 years have presented new challenges to this mission.   “Many states have introduced retail choice and rely more on regional transmission organization (RTO) and independent system operator (ISO) capacity markets. This has made it difficult for utility commissions to exercise their responsibility for ensuring affordability and reliability to protect ratepayers.”  THREATS TO RELIABILITY   “Threats to electric grid reliability are growing due to environmental regulations, policies from state legislatures and agencies, bans on fossil-fuel generation, and market distortions.   “These factors are contributing to premature retirement for most of our reliable and dispatchable resources. Because of the increasingly interconnected nature of the grid, policy decisions that affect grid reliability have a much wider impact than ever before.  “Some may say that more renewables and transmission can solve the problem of an increasingly unreliable grid. However, this plan increases costs and complexity and may even intensify certain risks in states reliant on borrowing power from others.    “The full system costs of renewables are higher because of the need for extensive backup power and redundant transmission lines. Systems must be overbuilt to ensure there is power when the sun is down, and the wind isn’t blowing.  “Building more transmission also raises utility costs for American ratepayers, even if those ratepayers may not directly benefit from added transmission.    “Despite this, several states and regions carry on with their ideological objectives under a seemingly false sense of security that their neighbors can continue to save them.   “Look at states like California and regions like New England, which have some of the most ambitious environmental goals, but they rely upon electricity imports from their neighbors as part of their planning.   “Over the last two years, the California ISO imported about 15 percent of its total supply. New England imported about 15 percent of all its electricity last year.   “Where are retail electricity rates highest? California and New England.   “Even with all the warnings, the Biden administration continues its rush-to-green agenda with regulations like the EPA’s Clean Power Plan 2.0, which threatens to regulate reliable generation out of existence.   “American ratepayers pay for the fallout from these retirements and the state utility commissions must justify the costs.  “The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) monitors grid reliability and develops standards. They continue to warn us that over two-thirds of the country is running into a shortage of generation capacity, which will have dire consequences for grid reliability.   “When an electric generator plans to retire and a study shows that the retirement would violate NERC reliability criteria, many states choose to ignore this guidance in favor of their radical environmental policies that increase the likelihood of blackouts.   “For decades, people knew that when the lights went out, the state commissions and utilities were responsible. Because of the changes in the electricity landscape, it is now unclear who is responsible.   “However, it is clear who is blamed—the state utility commissions.”  “We must listen to state utility experts about the reliability challenges they are facing. Congress must learn what must do to prevent further retirement of reliable resources and to keep electricity affordable. “Today will continue this process.” 



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.”