WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, today outlined an aggressive year-end agenda for the panel, including House floor action, committee votes, and key hearings. Upton offered details on his plans to move a series of bills through the committee and the full U.S. House of Representatives to cap a congressional session defined by legislative achievements to protect and create jobs, reduce the federal deficit, and protect American families.
“Job growth has been our focus from day one of the 112th Congress, and it’s only fitting that we sprint to the finish with a package of bills that will promote economic growth, innovation, and security for American families,” said Upton. “We are fulfilling our commitment to enact sound public policy on health care, energy, communications and technology, and a host of other vital issues that fall under our Energy and Commerce umbrella to promote economic certainty and job growth.”
Legislation Slated for a Vote in the Energy and Commerce Committee
Continuing what has been a highly productive legislative session, the Energy and Commerce Committee is preparing to advance a series of bills before the end of the year. The committee has held more than 100 hearings so far in 2011, building a robust legislative record while moving bills through “regular order” to include both subcommittee and full committee votes. Bills advanced through the committee will be available for consideration by the full House of Representatives depending on available time in the final weeks of the year. The following legislation is expected to be considered in the Energy and Commerce Committee in the coming weeks:
- The Jumpstarting Opportunity with Broadband Spectrum (JOBS) Act – a bill to create thousands of jobs, raise billions of dollars in revenue, and dramatically expand Americans’ access to wireless broadband, spurring innovation and new technologies. The legislation is the culmination of five hearings and extensive bipartisan negotiations to use voluntary incentive auctions to make more efficient and effective use of the public’s airwaves and support establishment of a nationwide, interoperable, broadband public safety network.
- H.R. 3309, the Federal Communications Commission Process Reform Act, and H.R. 3310, the Federal Communications Commission Consolidated Reporting Act – bills to reform the processes by which the FCC operates. These bills will increase transparency, predictability, and consistency as part of Republicans’ ongoing effort to ensure the commission’s work encourages job creation, investment, and innovation.
- H.R. 1173, the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act – a bill to repeal the fiscally unsustainable CLASS program, a new entitlement created by the health care law. The program was billed as a way to reduce the deficit and inserted in the law to inflate supposed savings, in spite of warnings from within the Obama administration that it appeared to be “a recipe for disaster.”
- H.R. 1633, the Farm Dust Regulation Prevention Act – a bill to provide regulatory certainty and protect the jobs and livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, and those employed in rural businesses by ensuring there will be no change in EPA’s current dust standard for one year and exempting rural dust from regulation if it is already regulated at the state, local, or tribal level.
Legislation Ready for Votes on the House Floor
Chairman Upton identified a series of bills ready for consideration by the full U.S. House of Representatives, adding to a long list of Energy and Commerce bills that have been approved by the House and are awaiting Senate action and readying additional bills expected to reach the president’s desk. The following legislative priorities are expected to receive votes on the House floor in the coming weeks:
- H.R. 2937, the Pipeline Infrastructure and Community Protection Act – a bill to strengthen and modernize pipeline safety requirements. With America’s energy needs expanding, safe and secure pipelines to transport oil and gas are essential to America’s energy future. H.R. 2937, authored by Chairman Upton and former-Chairman John Dingell (D-MI), is being combined with similar pipeline safety legislation developed by the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
- H.R. 908, the Full Implementation of the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Act – legislation that provides a long-term extension and improvements to the program that protects our nation’s chemical facilities from terrorist threats.
- H.R. 2405, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act, and H.R. 1254, the Synthetic Drug Control Act – a pair of bills approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee earlier this year by voice vote. These public health measures are designed, respectively, to build the nation’s preparedness infrastructure and foster the development of medical countermeasures to better respond to terrorist attacks, and to make synthetic drugs that imitate the effect of drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamines illegal.
Key Hearings in Energy and Commerce’s Active Subcommittees
Chairman Upton also outlined a sampling of high-profile hearings expected before the end of the year in the Energy and Commerce Committee and its six subcommittees. Among other matters, the committee will continue to pursue its investigation of the $535 million Solyndra loan guarantee and hold a hearing on the future of the Keystone XL pipeline. The committee is also continuing its work on longstanding initiatives, including efforts to reform the broken Medicare physician payment system, and will retain its focus on key health priorities into next year.
“Congress is not waiting to act on our nation’s most urgent priorities. As this year draws to a close, the Energy and Commerce Committee is not wasting a moment, filling the last days of this legislative session with important bills to spur economic recovery, extend essential programs and benefits, and protect our families and communities,” said Upton.