Pallone Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup of 18 Bills
Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Full Committee markup of 18 bills:
Today, the Full Committee is taking another significant step in our work to protect consumers and the public health, strengthen our economy, secure our infrastructure and combat climate change.
We will be marking up 18 bills that worked their way through our five legislative subcommittees. We will mark up legislation to make our pipelines safer and more climate resilient. We will address the tobacco epidemic, improve maternity care, protect Americans from toxic chemicals here at home and scams from abroad. We will also support American businesses by reauthorizing Brand USA, secure our communications networks, fix our broadband maps and reauthorize our media laws.
I will speak more on these bills later on during the markup but want to focus on a couple of the bills right now.
We will begin by marking up legislation to reauthorize the federal pipeline safety program. This comprehensive legislation will help protect people, the environment and our climate from unsafe pipelines. Despite the progress we’ve made on pipeline safety over the last 20 years, more needs to be done. This legislation rebalances the law in favor of people and the environment instead of corporations and profits. It also helps protect our climate by reversing the Trump rollback of President Obama’s methane rules.
For months, we’ve been working to come to a bipartisan agreement with the Republicans on a reauthorization bill. We twice postponed markups of this legislation in hopes of coming to a bipartisan agreement, but several weeks ago it became clear that was simply not possible. This is a bold bill that is necessary to make our pipelines safe and secure, and I would hope it would receive the support it deserves.
We will also consider my legislation to reverse the tobacco epidemic. Congressional action is even more critical now after the President’s retreat from his promise to prohibit flavors in tobacco products that are so popular with our youth. The President’s reversal was extremely disappointing and demonstrates once again that he cares more about pleasing the special interests than he does about protecting the public health. We must advance this legislation in order to prevent losing another generation to tobacco-related illnesses and premature death.
We will also consider comprehensive legislation to address PFAS contamination – these are persistent, toxic chemicals that last forever and spread through our water, air and soil. An AINS will be offered to H.R. 535 that will incorporate the text of 11 other PFAS bills that advanced out of the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee in September. Together, they offer our communities the tools they need to combat this growing environmental problem. We will also finally ban asbestos for good – something the EPA has been trying to do for 40 years.
I commend the leadership of all five subcommittees and all my colleagues for their work in getting these bills to the Full Committee for action today.