Pallone Opening Remarks at Full Committee Markup of 25 Bills
Washington, D.C. – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) gave the following opening remarks today at a full Committee markup of 25 bills that advanced out of four subcommittees:
Today we will be marking up 25 bills that continue this Committee’s commitment to putting consumers first, strengthening our economy, combating climate change and ensuring all Americans have access to affordable and quality health care.
We’ll put consumers first by addressing annoying robocalls and dangerous consumer products.
The American people are fed up with robocalls. Who can blame them – an estimated 47 billion robocalls were made last year. That’s outrageous. Today this Committee will provide some much needed relief by considering the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act that I introduced with Ranking Members Walden and Latta and Subcommittee Chairman Doyle. This legislation gives consumers control of their phones again.
We’ll also consider six bills that will protect American families from dangerous products, including some that should no longer be on the market.
We’ll combat climate change and strengthen our economy by considering five bills that invest in energy efficiency programs in communities across the country – programs that create good-paying jobs, save consumers money and reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution emitted into the air. We’ll also discuss legislation that will make our nation’s energy infrastructure more secure by addressing cybersecurity.
And finally, we will continue our work of ensuring all Americans have access to affordable and quality health care by reauthorizing and strengthening critical public health and Medicare programs. A number of these programs, including funding for Community Health Centers, will expire at the end of September if we do not act. We will also consider a long-term funding agreement for the Medicaid programs for the U.S. Territories that is long overdue.
We will also bring more transparency to the prescription drug pricing process. The METRIC Act includes five bipartisan bills that will ensure consumers have access to more information about how prescription drugs are priced and why prices are increasing.
We’ll also tackle the issue of surprise bills. The days of patients receiving surprise bills, sometimes as high as one hundred thousand dollars, must end. We’ll consider the bipartisan No Surprises Act, which I introduced with Ranking Member Walden. This bipartisan legislation will protect consumers from surprise bills. Patients must be held harmless in situations where they are not aware, through no fault of their own, that a provider is not within their insurance network, and that’s exactly what this legislation does.
Finally, we had planned to markup legislation to reauthorize the federal pipeline safety program, but we’re going to hold that for a future markup. I want a bipartisan bill and that’s my intent, but one way or another we need to get this done early this fall.
I commend all members and staff for their work in helping us get 25 bills ready for markup today, and hope that they receive strong, bipartisan support.