Pallone Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr.’s (D-NJ) remarks as prepared for delivery for today’s Full Committee markup of H.R. 3477, Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act; H.R. 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2018; and H.R. 4986, the FCC Reauthorization Act of 2018:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Today we are considering three important bipartisan bills from our subcommittees on Energy, Health, and Communications and Technology.
H.R. 3477, the Ceiling Fan Energy Conservation Harmonization Act, sponsored by Representative Hudson, was reported by the Subcommittee on Energy by voice vote at the end of last month. The legislation’s stated purpose is to align the current 2019 compliance deadline for the ceiling fan light kits standard with a separate standard for ceiling fans set for 2020. New standards for these kits will save money and reduce carbon emissions, so I would have liked to see them in place sooner. However, this legislation will make it easier for some retailers to comply, and it enjoys broad, bipartisan support. I expect the bill will be reported by voice vote and move swiftly to the Floor.
H.R. 1876, the Good Samaritan Health Professionals Act of 2018 would limit the civil liability of volunteer health professionals that provide their services during a disaster. I am always concerned about preempting state laws and do not think Congress should do this lightly. However, I think we can all agree that we need to support our health care professionals who are volunteering their services during national disasters, which are occurring with greater and greater frequency. I want to thank the Chairman for working with us on a bipartisan basis to improve the bill and address the scope issues that we had raised at the subcommittee markup.
The third bill, H.R. 4986, would reauthorize the Federal Communications Commission. The legislation before us today, with our bipartisan amendments, is better as a result of our work together.
The Manager’s Amendment includes text that will finally protect television viewers and radio listeners during the incentive auction repack. I’ve been working hard to solve this problem since last Congress, and I’m pleased this Committee is finally acting. We have to ensure that all Americans have access to their local broadcast stations during the repack. Access to local information has become even more important in the wake of last year’s deadly natural disasters. In this amendment, not only do we help ensure consumer’s broadcast stations don’t go dark, we also include $50 million in funding to help educate consumers about the transition. All of our efforts will go to waste if people do not know how to get their televisions to work.
During the Subcommittee markup, I made clear that protecting viewers was a prerequisite for me to move forward with reauthorizing the FCC at Full Committee, and I appreciate the bipartisan work that got us here today.
I also want to mention that the bill is fittingly named after Ray Baum, and I will have more to say on that when the bill is called up.
With that, I yield back.