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Pallone Remarks at Full Committee Markup

Jul 18, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C.Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) delivered the following opening remarks today at a Full Committee Markup of H.R. 6351, Advancing U.S. Civil Nuclear Competitiveness and Jobs Act; and H.R. 6378, Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018:

Today, we are marking up two bills – one I oppose and the other I support. 

First, I do not support passage of H.R. 6351, the “Advancing U.S. Civil Nuclear Competitiveness and Jobs Act.” This bill makes changes to the Department of Energy’s “Part 810” process by which the Secretary of Energy authorizes the transfer of certain nuclear energy technologies and assistance to foreign countries. 

I am concerned that this bill establishes a 45-day time limit for the Secretary to approve the transfer of nuclear technologies to countries that are not nuclear weapon states.  This is a national security issue, and I believe establishing artificial deadlines in this area is dangerous.  We should give the Department the time it needs to keep our country safe.  It’s just reckless to establish a rigid time frame on such an important national security matter.

And quite frankly, after President Trump’s embarrassing and disgraceful performance in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin this week, I simply do not trust him or his Administration to protect our national security.  Until we get to the bottom of why the President continues to America’s enemies,  I cannot support giving his Administration more latitude to share sensitive nuclear technologies. 

I’m pleased to join Reps. Brooks and Eshoo and the Chairman in introducing H.R. 6378, the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness and Advancing Innovation Act of 2018.  Congress created PAHPA a little more than a decade ago to improve our preparedness and response to a wide range of threats to public health, be it a hurricane, a disease outbreak, or a man-made disaster. 

PAHPA supports the development of new treatments and the stockpiling of medications and supplies that are constantly on standby for prompt deployment to communities in case of an emergency.  Since we considered this legislation in Subcommittee, we’ve made significant progress and worked closely with stakeholders and Members to include additional important policies.  This bill is critical to our national security and public health, and I urge its swift passage. 

Finally, I’d like to remind my Republican colleagues once again about the man-made disaster the Trump Administration has created at the border and across the country through its cruel “zero tolerance” policy.  I’m extremely disappointed that the Chairman still refuses to schedule a hearing on this crisis.  Children are still separated from their parents as we speak and Secretary Azar and Scott Lloyd need to answer directly to Members of this Committee on how they plan to fix this mess and what will happen to these families going forward.  We need to hold a hearing before the August recess. 

Thank you, I yield back.