Pallone Remarks at Full Committee Markup
Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Full Committee markup:
Today, we are considering 13 bipartisan bills that have worked their way through our five legislative committees. We will also consider one resolution of inquiry that I introduced last week regarding the President’s inhumane family separation policy.
I’ll talk more about the Resolution of Inquiry further when it comes up – but it is critical that we approve this resolution since the Republican Majority refuses to schedule a hearing with Secretary Azar on how HHS is reuniting these families. Every Committee Democrat has called for a hearing, and I reiterate that request today. HHS simply is not reuniting these families fast enough. And even when they are reunited, we are hearing heartbreaking stories of infants not even remembering their mothers. We need answers and we’re not getting them from this Administration. That’s why we must pass this resolution and then we need to hold a hearing.
Let me now turn to the legislation before us. We will be considering four bipartisan public health bills, all with the goal of strengthening our health workforce. We will consider a bill from Rep. Matsui that supports the recruitment, training, and retention of nursing professionals. Rep. Engel is sponsoring a bill that will improve education, training, and research into palliative care and hospice care. Rep. Schakowsky has championed a bill that supports several important workforce programs operated by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Her bill would also boost training for geriatric providers, who are increasingly in demand across the country. And then there is legislation from our Subcommittee Ranking Member Green and Chairman Burgess that will allow Children’s Hospitals to continue to train the next generation of pediatric providers.
The Committee will also consider four bills dealing with nuclear energy and waste cleanup. I support the two bills that address important nuclear legacy waste cleanups, as well as the bill to incentivize advanced reactor fuel development. Regarding H.R. 1320, I appreciate the willingness of Chairman Shimkus – and Representatives Kinzinger and Doyle – to work with me to address concerns I had with the bill. While I still have some questions, I do not intend to oppose this legislation.
We will also mark-up four bipartisan communications bills. One strengthens the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to crack down on pirate radio operators. Another bill sets up a process for the FCC to consider how to support internet connected farming techniques. A third bill would help the federal government better target federal support of broadband. And the fourth bill examines important improvements to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I look forward to supporting these bills.
Finally, I will also support Reps. Latta and Welch’s SMART IoT Act that came out of our Digital Commerce and Consumer Protection Subcommittee.
Thanks to all our Members and staff for their work on these bills. I yield back.