Chair Rodgers Convenes the Energy and Commerce Committee for the 118th Congress
Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) held the Committee’s organizing meeting today, its first meeting in the 118th Congress.
Below are highlights and excerpts of her remarks:
“Welcome everyone to the Energy and Commerce Committee’s first meeting of the 118th Congress.
“Today we will welcome our newest members and we will vote on our rules and organize our subcommittee assignments.”
THE PROMISE OF AMERICA
“For 227 years, the Energy and Commerce Committee has been at the forefront of the most important issues before us as a nation.
“It’s the oldest committee in Congress. It was here at the beginning for the very first hopes and dreams in the Promise of America where we have lifted more people out of poverty and led the world in raising the standard of living through free markets and individual liberty.
“Millions of Americans are depending on us to tackle today’s greatest challenges so they have the opportunity for a brighter future.
“Like families who struggle to afford their gas, grocery, doctors, and electricity bills...
“Young people in danger of dying from a fentanyl poisoning;
“Parents telling Big Tech to stop manipulating and harming our kids;
“Parents who want accountability for school closures that hurt our children’s mental health and well-being
“The person with a disability like my son Cole who dreams of a life full of possibilities;
“Patients who are searching for a cure;
“The next generation of thinkers and doers who want to create new things to challenge our broken institutions and broken systems.
“So many in America are in need of hope and healing and all of us are eager to begin the people’s work.
“We will honor E&C’s rich history of plowing the hard ground to legislate, deliver results, and help make people’s lives better.”
TRUST IS KEY
“Of course, it isn’t just what you do, it is how you do it.
“Trust is key. It’s where the magic happens. It’s foundational to everything we do.
“Where trust has been broken, we will work hard to rebuild it.
“Restoring accountability will begin with robust oversight. Oversight is fundamental and we must provide that oversight of the Biden administration and the agencies in our jurisdiction.
“This will inform how we legislate and fulfill our Article I responsibilities.
“We will be exercising Energy and Commerce’s authorizing authority to bring accountability and congressional direction to agencies like the CDC, NIH, the FTC, and FERC, that have become disconnected so often from their core mission.”
BUILDING BIPARTISAN TRUST
“Trust is also foundational to relationships here.
“Ranking Member Pallone, I’m grateful for the trust we’ve built to honor the committee’s strong bipartisan history.
“In the last Congress, we moved a national data privacy standard further than anyone ever had.
“In addition, our mental health package passed the House with more than 400 votes and was signed into law with several other significant bipartisan accomplishments.
“I want us to keep building on this work, move more across the finish line, and keep the pressure on the Senate to act.
“Finally, I look forward to the opportunities ahead to engage in the battle of ideas.
“I believe E&C must lead by a different example than the broken institutions and systems—like the media, our universities, Big Tech, and the government—that are shutting down the freedom to debate.
“Listening and welcoming ideas is how we drive better outcomes.”
WE THE PEOPLE
“I think about America’s origin story, the story that began with ‘We, the People.’
“Our start wasn’t about any specific individual or position of power or political party.
“It was about all of us—searching for a more perfect union.
“We fought a civil war, passed a Constitutional amendment to give women the right to vote, defended freedom during two world wars, the civil rights movement, and we will continue our search of a more perfect union today.
“None of us are perfect. Our founders certainly weren’t perfect.
“And this search that continues is much bigger than any one of us.
“Together, we can lead the way to inspire people to again believe in the promise of America and remind them that American leadership for free speech, free markets, and individual liberty matters.
“It matters not just for improving people’s lives and raising the standard of living here at home but showing people around the world that there is a better path than the oppressive, authoritarian approaches like the Chinese Communist Party.
“So, I look forward to working with all our members in the many days ahead.”
INTRODUCING OUR NEW MEMBERS
“I now have the honor of introducing our nine new members of Energy and Commerce.
“First, we have Congressman Randy Weber from Texas’s 14th District.
“He brings strong energy expertise to our committee.
“He knows the priorities of small business owners across the country because he built his own business, Weber Air and Heat, from the ground up.
“As a former cheerleader, I’m told Congressman Weber will bring even more pep to the oldest committee in Congress.
“Next, we welcome Congressman Rick Allen from Georgia’s 12th District.
“He started his own construction business at 25 years old.
“This year, he will soon celebrate his 50th wedding anniversary with his wife, Robin. They have 14 grandchildren.
“He’s never without a Masters tie. Georgia’s 12th is also home to the Masters Tournament.
“Please welcome Congressman Troy Balderson from Ohio’s 12th District.
“Before public service, he worked on the family farm and ran the service department for his family-owned small business.
“He was also a fierce multi-day mountain bike competitor.
“Welcome Troy, and may I say, ‘Go Bucks!’
“Congressman Russ Fulcher joins us from Idaho’s 1st District.
“His district neighbors mine, so we’ll agree to disagree on who grows the better potatoes.
“He spent 24 years in the high-technology industry and 10 years in the Idaho Senate, where he passed the largest tax cut in Idaho’s history.
“We’re proud and grateful for Russ. He beat cancer in 2021.
“I am pleased to now recognize the 2022 Congressional baseball game’s MVP, Congressman August Pfluger from Texas’s 11 District.
“He graduated from the Air Force Academy, he served twenty years as a decorated fighter pilot.
“He’s a dad of three girls.
“Thank you for your service, Congressman Pfluger. We value your expertise on why unleashing American energy in places like Midland, Texas, is vital to our national security.
“Now we have Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger from Tennessee’s 1st District.
“I’m excited for her to join us and watch out Buddy, we have another pharmacist on the dais.
“She is also a mom and grandmother to 2 boys.
“Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks from Iowa’s 1st District.
“She’s a doctor and brings important public health expertise to E&C.
“She served for 24 years as a private, nurse, and doctor in the Army.
“This year’s Army-Navy game was a heart breaker for my family but not for Mariannette’s with Army squeaking it out in over time. Maybe next year!
“Thank you for your service, Congresswoman Miller-Meeks.
“Please welcome Congresswoman Kat Cammack from Florida’s 3rd District.
“Kat is a strong voice for the hardworking people of this country and their families, including farmers, small business owners, and first responders.
“Kat grew up on a cattle ranch and fun fact, was a rodeo queen in high school.
“Last, but not least, we have Congressman Jay Obernolte from California’s 23rd District.
“Congressman Obernolte’s background is in innovation, business, and video game development.
“His two sons must think that is very cool!
“In addition, Congressman Jay Obernolte served in the California State legislature and as Mayor of the City of Big Bear Lake.
“Again, welcome all our new members! We’re excited to have you on the team.
“I know you will make the biggest impact possible for those you serve on the best committee in Congress.”