News

Oversight & Investigations Updates


Feb 26, 2024
Letter

E&C Republican Leaders Demand Answers on the Biden Administration’s Ineffective EV Infrastructure Program

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg regarding growing concerns over the Biden administration’s inability to implement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant programs, as well as the implications for American taxpayers. KEY QUOTE:   “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provided $5 billion for the NEVI Formula Program ($1 billion annually from FY22-FY26), and a total of $2.5 billion from FY22-FY26 for the CFI Discretionary Grant Program. Despite recent award announcements, little progress has been made in the buildout of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. On December 15, 2023, the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation announced the opening of America’s first EV fast charging stations funded through the NEVI Formula Program: in Ohio and New York. This announcement for merely eight charging stations comes more than two years after the passage of the IIJA.  “The problems with these programs continue to grow – delays in the delivery of chargers, concerns from States about labor contracting requirements and minimum operating standards for chargers, the fact that 22 States (44 percent) have not issued solicitations for NEVI funding, and the limited and questionable delivery of awards from the CFI Discretionary Grant Program.”  Members asked Secretaries Granholm and Buttigieg to answer the following questions by March 7, 2024: How many EV chargers does the administration expect to be constructed using NEVI Formula Program and CFI Discretionary Grant Program funds in 2024?   Because private sector deployment of EV chargers is outpacing the federal government, how is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation updating its review of State plans to ensure federal dollars do not overbuild private sector investments?   In the Federal Highway Administration’s January 11, 2024, press release, it stated, “More than 70 percent of the CFI funding announced today will support project sites in disadvantaged communities.” Understanding EVs are extremely cost prohibitive for many, expensive to maintain, and have high insurance costs, can you please share how the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is ensuring charging stations being awarded will receive maximized usage?   What changes is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation making to ensure the timely review of State plans and delivery of awards?  Regarding the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation:   How many employees does the office have? What is the administrative budget for the office for each year since it has been in existence? Considering the Biden administration’s waiver of Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in EV chargers, how will you ensure federal funds are not supporting Chinese or Chinese-affiliated entities?  IN THE NEWS:   “Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from two federal agencies regarding the Biden administration’s lagging electric vehicle (EV) charger subsidy program.”   […] “Beyond noting that the rollout has been sluggish to date, the lawmakers asked the agencies to provide estimates of how many chargers the administration is anticipating the program will help build by the end of the year and steps the agencies are taking to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not benefit Chinese interests in light of the administration’s ‘Buy America’ requirement waiver for certain charger components.”   CLICK HERE to read the full article from the Daily Caller.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.



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 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 6, 2024
Hearings

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on the Shortcomings in the FDA’s Foreign Drug Inspection Program

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing on the FDA’s foreign inspection program. “The FDA’s mission statement states that it is responsible for ‘the safety, efficacy, and security’ of items including pharmaceutical drugs. “The ‘FDA approved’ stamp on a drug or generic drug has long stood as the gold standard that allows Americans to trust in the safety and effectiveness of their medication. “This means trusting that the science behind an approved drug is sound. “But equally as important is the ability to trust that the drug was manufactured in a safe and secure facility before it reaches the patient. “This has become even more important as our drug supply chain becomes increasingly globalized and our health care system relies more on foreign-manufactured generic drugs. “I’m concerned that the FDA is failing in its mission. It is not adequately executing its foreign inspection program, which was questionable before the pandemic, became non-existent during the pandemic, and has seen little improvement since. “This poses major risks to the integrity of medicine and drugs on the market in the United States.” U.S. DEPENDENCY ON FOREIGN DRUG MANUFACTURERS “China and India combined manufacture the active pharmaceutical ingredients used to make nearly 70 percent of generic drugs on the US market. “In some instances, the quality of drugs manufactured in foreign facilities that enter the US market is highly questionable or dangerous. “Last May, eye products manufactured overseas introduced a never-before-seen strain of infectious bacteria in the U.S. “The outbreak affected 81 patients in 18 states, causing 18 individuals to lose their eyes or vision, and four others to lose their lives. “After this tragic incident, the FDA’s site-inspection of the facility found unsanitary conditions, including a failure to clean equipment and failure to perform adequate batch testing. “In China the situation is dire as the FDA has a single investigator—just one—based full time in the country. “It was in China where a whistleblower warned—despite FDA resistance—that a commonly used blood pressure medication was contaminated, leading to a wide scale recall in 2018. “What makes all of this even more disturbing is that in practice we hold domestic manufacturers to much higher standards than we do foreign manufacturers, including those from countries that are our adversaries like China. “We need a level playing field that encourages domestic manufacturing.” FDA’s RESPONSIBILITY AND LONGSTANDING ISSUES “Unfortunately, the issues with FDA’s foreign inspection program go back decades. “In 1998, the Government Accountability Office reported the FDA had problems with the timeliness with which investigators submitted inspection reports, the frequency of routine inspections, and delays in taking prompt enforcement action against foreign drug manufacturers. “In 2007, GAO highlighted the FDA didn’t know how many foreign manufacturers were subject to inspection, that the agency inspected relatively few foreign manufacturers, and the agency could not provide the exact number of uninspected foreign establishments.   “In 2019, GAO raised questions about the adequacy of FDA’s foreign inspections compared to domestic inspections. “While domestic inspections are almost always unannounced, the FDA has a practice of preannouncing foreign inspections—up to 12 weeks in advance. “This massive disparity is one of the reasons why companies manufacture drugs abroad rather than here in the United States. “In 2022, yet another GAO report found the FDA was still struggling to hold foreign drug manufacturers accountable. “It is past time that FDA address these issues. People’s lives depend on it.” FDA INSPECTIONS DURING COVID “The COVID-19 pandemic made an already bad situation worse. “In March 2020, FDA postponed almost all of its foreign inspections. “Although domestic inspections resumed in July 2021, most foreign inspections conducted were still limited only to those deemed 'mission critical.' “The agency instead resorted to alternative tools, like virtual inspections and record reviews, and relying on inspections conducted by conflicted home country regulators. “These tools are no substitute for in-person inspections given the risk of cover-up and fraud. “As long as foreign facilities remain uninspected, they pose a risk to the quality and safety of life-saving medications that many Americans rely on. “It is completely unacceptable that FDA refused to participate in today’s hearing under any circumstances, but especially given their long history of challenges in fulfilling their mission. “Their absence will not stop us from continuing to hold them accountable and ensuring the safety of the American people. “I thank our witnesses for being here today and look forward to hearing your testimonies.” 



Feb 6, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Griffith Opening Remarks on the Shortcomings in the FDA’s Foreign Drug Inspection Program

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on the FDA’s foreign inspection program. LACK OF INFORMATION ABOUT FOREIGN MANUFACTURERS “Today’s hearing is an opportunity to examine the FDA foreign drug inspection program. “I would be remiss if I did not note that I am disappointed the FDA declined to provide a witness after being invited to participate in this hearing. “Regular reviews of the current state and effectiveness of the agency’s foreign drug inspection program is an important oversight function. “It is an area where this Committee has been able to work on a bipartisan basis for many years. “More and more of our drugs and their bulk active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) come from foreign countries. This is especially true of generic drugs where manufacturers in China and India comprise a majority of facilities supplying the U.S. market. “Also, India is heavily reliant on China for their bulk API when manufacturing medicines. “Unfortunately, we do not know the true number of medicines and the bulk API that come from foreign manufacturers. FDA has even admitted this themselves. “Congress passed a provision in the 2020 CARES Act that requires any manufacturer who is registered with the FDA to annually report drug substance and volume data, including API. Only about 50 percent of manufacturers are in compliance. “When this Subcommittee last held a hearing on this issue in December 2019, before the known start of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were reasons for cautious optimism that the FDA was taking action to increase the number of foreign inspections and to expand the foreign inspections program to better meet the demands of our global pharmaceutical supply chain. “FDA’s team of inspectors was almost up to full strength. The number of foreign inspections conducted in India increased from 207 in 2016 to 305 in 2019 with about 70 percent of those inspections being surveillance inspections. “The FDA was implementing mutual recognition agreements with European regulatory agencies that would reduce overlapping inspections and improve inspection record sharing, freeing up resources to focus on high-risk facilities. “However, there were still serious shortcomings. Foreign inspections were all pre-announced.” COMPLIANCE FAILURES BY FOREIGN MANUFACTURERS “Prior to 2020, the FDA would notify foreign facilities ten to twelve weeks in advance, compared to zero advanced notice for US facilities. “It’s alarming that—given this advanced warning—the FDA still found deficiencies during 66 percent of foreign inspections, including serious deficiencies in 16 percent of those inspections. “FDA was also too slow to act, in 2019 it took the agency on average 136 days to issue an import alert. “Whatever fitful, halting progress the FDA made towards strengthening its foreign inspection program has been undone by the COVID-19 pandemic and, to date, the FDA has been slow or unable to get foreign inspections back on track.” FDA DEVOLVING SINCE COVID “From March 2020 through February 2022, the FDA’s foreign inspection program essentially ceased functioning. FDA conducted only 21 foreign inspections in the 12 months after the March 2020 pause was announced, as compared to 977 foreign inspections in 2019. Pre-announced inspections were replaced by alternatives, such as zoom tours. “Currently, according to the FDA, there is only one investigator solely based in China and five solely based in India. This workforce shortage presents a huge problem when trying to comb through the backlog of foreign facilities. “It is little wonder that in the absence of regulatory inspections and actions, that we’ve seen numerous quality control failures in imported drugs. “It is promising to see the FDA implement their Foreign Unannounced Inspection Pilot program with both China and India. The goal of this pilot program is to increase the unannounced surveillance inspections of foreign drug facilities. “Since March 2022, the FDA has completed 35 unannounced and short-term notice inspections in India. I hope they continue implementing this program and that it will lead to changes within the FDA for foreign inspections. “China on the other hand is a completely different story. The FDA has not completed any unannounced or short notice inspection since the pilot program was initiated. “FDA has even stated sometimes when their inspectors arrive at the facility, they are prevented from inspecting firms in China. “This is unacceptable. “Further, China’s new interpretation of its national security law criminalizes the dissemination of routine business records, including information the FDA needs for meaningful inspections. “We need to begin thinking about whether we should continue to rely on medicines and/or API coming from such a closed regime. “Without a functioning foreign inspection program, one with unannounced inspections and that imposes real consequences for failing to maintain good manufacturing practices, we’ve lost the ability to deter negligent actors thus putting Americans at risk. “Again, I’m disappointed not to have the FDA here.  “We will have additional hearings on this issue. And at future hearings, if the FDA does not come willingly, we have other means to secure their attendance.” 



Feb 5, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Subpoenas NIH for Documents Related to Investigation into Sexual Harassment at NIH and NIH Grantee Institutions

Committee seeks whistleblowers to inform investigation Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) today issued a subpoena to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for documents and information related to the Committee’s multi-year investigation into the NIH’s handling of sexual harassment complaints within the agency and its grantee institutions. The investigation, led by Chair Rodgers and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA), has uncovered at least 300 cases related to harassment since 2018. Over the course of the Committee’s investigation, the NIH has refused to turn over more information related to its handling of this widespread problem. The subpoena comes after Chair Rodgers notified the NIH of the Committee’s intent to use compulsory measures, including in a formal letter on January 26, 2024, and subsequently last week. The NIH failed to respond adequately to the request by last Friday's deadline.  In the January 26 letter, Chair Rodgers wrote:  “ Sexual harassment is degrading and illegal. Studies show it has a negative effect on the ability of women to engage in research at the same level as men. Title IX prohibits sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding, and federal agencies are required to enforce the law at the universities they fund. As the largest public funder of biomedical research, the NIH is uniquely positioned to transform the culture of science to prevent sexual harassment and mitigate its detrimental impacts.”  […]  “ Unfortunately, the NIH has failed to comply adequately with requests for information and documents related to its handling of sexual harassment complaints. The NIH’s course of conduct demonstrates a lack of good faith and an unwillingness to engage with the Committee voluntarily. Accordingly, the Committee has no choice but to issue a subpoena compelling production of these documents so that the Committee can carry out its oversight responsibilities. ”  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.  CLICK HERE to read the subpoena cover letter.  TIMELINE LEADING UP TO SUBPOENA :  August 10, 2021 : E&C Republican Leaders Question NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints  August 11, 2022 : E&C Republican Leaders follow up with NIH on Insufficient Response to its Letter on the NIH’s handling of Sexual Harassment  November 30, 2022 : E&C Republicans to NIH: Turn Over Previously Requested Information Ahead of New Congress  March 14, 2023 : E&C Republicans Press NIH for Information on Handling of Sexual Harassment Complaints  October 6, 2023 : E&C Republicans Signal Intent to Issue Subpoenas to Obtain Information on NIH’s Handling of Sexual Harassment if Questions Go Unanswered  January 26, 2024 : Chair Rogers notifies NIH of Imminent Subpoena  WHISTLEBLOWERS:   The Committee is seeking whistleblowers with knowledge of sexual harassment at the NIH or NIH grantee institutions, as well as those with knowledge of how the NIH handles such complaints.  The right for public employees to communicate with Congress, in their private capacities, is established in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. In addition, various U.S. laws prohibit retaliation against whistleblowers for providing information to Congress. However, individuals still take serious risks when they engage in whistleblowing activity.  To better protect your communications, do not contact the Committee using work resources, work contact information, or while you are working . Further, consider consulting an attorney experienced in representing whistleblowers before you make a disclosure.  Do not submit classified information or other information barred from release through this form or by email. Unauthorized handling of classified information could result in criminal prosecution.  The Committee respects your need to remain confidential and will use your contact information only to follow up with you regarding your submission. You may submit a disclosure anonymously. However, please be aware that anonymous disclosures may limit the Committee’s ability to respond to the information that you provide.  Individuals with information about harassment at the NIH may contact the Committee via email at:  ReportNIHAbuse@mail.house.gov   Individuals with information about harassment at institutions that receive NIH grants may contact the Committee via email at:  ReportNIHGranteeAbuse@mail.house.gov   Additional resources can be found HERE .



Jan 30, 2024
Press Release

Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Fighting the Misuse of Biden’s Green Bank Giveaway

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearing to provide oversight of the EPA’s $27 billion green slush fund.  Remarks as prepared for delivery: THE INFLATION REDUCTION ACT   “President Biden and Congressional Democrats made it their top priority in 2022 to jam through the so-called ‘Inflation Reduction Act.’  “They did this at a time when millions of Americans were struggling to put food on their tables, afford to heat their homes, and keep their businesses afloat. “The President boasts that it is one of his administration’s crowning achievements. “In reality, this disastrous legislation—which actually led to record inflation that is still hurting families—is filled with massive subsidies to the administration’s favored industries and giveaways to radical special interests. “The IRA’s climate and green energy provisions alone give away nearly $400 billion in incentives to further President Biden’s radical rush-to-green agenda. “Let that sink in for a moment. The Biden administration is giving away hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to its political allies to force Americans to use less reliable energy sources and electric vehicles they don’t want. “This rush to green agenda only further compromises America’s economic, national, and energy security. “China dominates the market for electric vehicle components, solar panels, and the materials essential to renewable energy production and storage. “Increasing our reliance on these resources and products increases our reliance on China—our biggest adversary and the world’s leading polluter.” THE GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION FUND “There are many issues with the IRA, but, today, we’re focused on the largest non-tax program in the IRA—the so-called 'Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. “Through the program, the EPA plans to hand out $27 billion to support so-called 'green technology projects.’  “Even more concerning, two of the fund’s programs were designed so that the EPA can funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to non-profits who happen to be their political allies that can then fund green projects of their choosing.  “This is the perfect scenario for cronyism to take hold. “Another concern is the timeline for these funds being allocated. The IRA was enacted in August 2022. “The law requires the EPA to allocate all $27 billion by September 30, 2024.  “That’s only two years to design a new first of its kind program and choose which entities will receive taxpayer dollars. “The EPA’s Inspector General warned us that this program is at serious risk of waste, fraud, and abuse in part because of this timeline at a hearing before this Subcommittee last March. “This program is a perfect storm for green corruption.” SAFEGUARDING FEDERAL FUNDS “The American people expect us to hold agencies accountable for their use of hard-earned tax dollars, and that is exactly what we intend to do today. “With the massive infusion of funding in recent years for agencies, like the EPA, this responsibility has never been more important. “The EPA has been given $100 billion for President Biden’s radical rush-to-green agenda. $100 billion! “That’s over ten times the amount of the agency’s annual appropriations! “This hearing is an important part of our efforts to ensure accountability and transparency.”



Jan 30, 2024
Hearings

Subcommittee Chair Griffith Opening Remarks on Fighting the Misuse of Biden’s Green Bank Giveaway

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on the EPA’s $27-billion green slush fund.  “Over these past three years the Biden administration has made clear it is willing to push the boundaries of executive authority.   “Whether it is making rules to force power plants utilizing our most reliable energy resources offline, setting impractical standards designed to mandate electric vehicles on the American consumer, or shelling out billions of federal funds to preferred industries, and giving outside organizations billions of taxpayer dollars. It seems to be obsessed with a rush to a green society. “Unfortunately, the passage of the so-called Inflation Reduction Act or 'IRA' last Congress has only further empowered the administration to pursue its radical green agenda.   “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which has been chomping at the bit for this green push, received around $41.5 billion for 24 new and existing programs.  “Today, we will focus on one of the more unconventional programs I’ve come across in my tenure, the so-called 'Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund.’  “This fund includes some characteristics of what are known as 'green banks,’ or institutions that receive taxpayer funds and then claim to mobilize and leverage investment in low carbon technologies and infrastructure. “Under the IRA’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund provisions, the EPA received $27 billion to hand out to nonprofits, states, Tribes, and cities to support the deployment of zero-emissions technologies and greenhouse gas reduction projects. This is a staggering amount of money, almost doubling the regular appropriations of EPA.  GREENHOUSE GAS REDUCTION FUND “Under the IRA, EPA must decide how it is going to hand out all $27 billion by September 30, 2024. That’s just 9 months from now.  “In order to accomplish this, the EPA has decided to split the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund into three accounts or programs and hold three separate funding competitions. “Under the National Clean Investment Fund, the EPA will pick two or three nonprofits to establish the so-called 'national clean financing institutions.'  “These national clean financing institutions will then choose green technology projects that will receive taxpayer dollars. “The second program is called the Clean Communities Investment Accelerator, and it will choose two to seven nonprofits to serve as 'hubs' that will then provide taxpayer dollars and technical assistance and training to small and unconventional lenders to finance so-called green projects in poorer and disadvantaged communities. “Finally, the so-called 'Solar for All' program will award grants to states, territories, Tribal governments, municipalities, and nonprofits for community solar programs. “Particularly with the first two programs, EPA is picking a handful of nonprofit grantees and giving them wide latitude to manage and distribute taxpayer dollars and abdicating a lot of the responsibility for how that money spent.  “In other words, a few nonprofits are going to make decisions on who receives billions of dollars of taxpayer funds. There is something that doesn’t sit right with non-profits giving out billions of taxpayer dollars. UNANSWERED QUESTIONS “The EPA has never administered a program like this, and this Committee has a lot of questions. How is the EPA evaluating applicants and attempting to select the best grantees? Who will be involved in this process?   “When these grantees make loans for clean energy projects, how will they determine which projects to finance? What qualifications will their staff possess? How will the EPA monitor the work of grantees once the money goes out the door, and how will the agency maintain accountability? What remedies will the EPA have if the money is not used as directed? “Did certain special interest groups or individuals have priority access or outsized input in designing these programs and therefore gain an unfair advantage in the competitions? What happens when projects fail?  “We hope to answer these questions and more today. “The Committee has been pushing the EPA for more information about the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. And while it unfortunately took some prodding, the EPA has agreed to join us for this hearing today. “We welcome Mr. Zealan Hoover, Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the EPA. Mr. Hoover oversees the EPA’s implementation of both the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the IRA. As part of these duties, he has also been involved in establishing the new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. “Thank you for joining us, Mr. Hoover, and I look forward to learning more about this new program and the controls on these $27 billion dollars at stake.”