WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today released a comprehensive progress report on the panel’s key activities for 2011. The year-end report was provided to committee members and the House Republican leadership. The report outlines the committee’s job-focused accomplishments with over 100 hearings and 26 bills that align with the chairman’s commitment to focus on jobs, runaway spending, securing individual freedom, and conducting substantive oversight.
“Our committee has led the way in fundamentally changing the way Washington works. Our majority was elected with a promise to serve the American people, and we have,” said Upton in the report to his colleagues. “A few short years ago, fiscal debates revolved around the question of how much more to spend. Today, we look at the budget with an eye toward how much we can cut, and how to spend more wisely, with stronger protections for taxpayers. It used to be routine for Congress to create new programs and government offices. Now we scour federal agencies for waste and inefficiency, proposing a smaller government instead of a larger one.”
The year-end report includes summaries on the committee’s progress to achieve these goals.
Focus on Jobs and the Economy
The committee prioritized and advanced bills to protect jobs put at risk by this administration’s policies and foster the creation of new jobs through private-sector growth and innovation. Looking solely at those rules the Energy and Commerce Committee addressed through legislation, the high-end of these estimates show that approximately 5 million jobs could be at risk because of the regulatory choices being made by this administration. The bills the committee advanced to promote energy development and innovation in the communications sector have the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs thanks to private-sector investment and innovation.
Focus on Runaway Government Spending and Unsustainable Public Debt
As Congress focused on the drivers of annual budget deficits and the unsustainability of our national debt, the committee did its part to achieve immediate savings. That includes votes on bills to pare away both discretionary and mandatory spending with immediate changes to repeal unnecessary programs, reform one of the biggest unnecessary drains on our health system, and bring in revenue through spectrum auctions. These bills from the Energy and Commerce Committee, if enacted, together will save taxpayers more than $100 billion.
Focus on Securing Individual Freedoms
The relationship between patients and their doctors is extraordinarily personal, and the government’s intrusion into the exam room was a significant encroachment in citizen’s lives. After the House voted to repeal the entire health care law, the committee held nearly 20 hearings that revealed a rising price-tag, multi-billion slush funds, bailouts, and countless consequences. Securing individual freedom starts with protecting the sanctity of human life, which is why the committee placed top priority on bills that ensure tax dollars are not used to fund abortions through money allocated in the president’s health care law or any other federal program.
Conducting Substantive Oversight
The goal of congressional oversight is to shine the light of day on a massive government bureaucracy. The committee uses it to root out waste, fraud, and abuse, and to show the American people how government agencies are spending their hard-earned dollars and whether they are fulfilling their public mission. And there are few cases in the last year that more clearly demonstrate the need for–and the power of– congressional oversight than exposure of the half-billion dollar government loan guarantee to now-bankrupt Solyndra. Another central focus of the committee’s oversight last year was the president’s controversial health care law, which confirmed some of the greatest fears about the consequences of a massive government expansion into health care.
Protecting Individuals, Families, and Communities
While our nation’s 2.5 million miles of pipeline infrastructure remains the safest and most effective mode of transporting essential energy resources throughout the U.S., the committee worked together with the president and other congressional committees to make necessary updates and improvements to pipeline safety. The committee also focused on other critical physical and online infrastructures, including cyber-security policies and data security.
“In every area of our jurisdiction – health care, telecommunications, energy, the environment, consumer protection – we have passed legislation to promote the American economy,” said Upton.