Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) highlighted the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee in the 117th Congress today:
“Over the last two years, the Energy and Commerce Committee has successfully turned some of the biggest legislative solutions into law. As the nation fought to recover from the unprecedented public health crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Committee worked tirelessly to deliver relief to working families and foster a speedy, lasting recovery,” said Pallone. “And we didn’t stop there. We passed the most significant climate law in our nation’s history, empowered Medicare to negotiate the cost of lifesaving prescription drugs for seniors, and made historic investments to bolster our economy and modernize our infrastructure for the future. In addition to these historic wins, we also conducted robust oversight to ensure the American people had a steadfast advocate in Washington.”
The Committee worked expeditiously to modernize our nation’s crumbling infrastructure, lower health care and prescription drug costs, make unprecedented investments in climate action, tackle rising inflation, and boost American manufacturing and competitiveness:
- The American Rescue Plan provided the tools and resources necessary to crush the COVID-19 pandemic by ramping up distribution and administration of lifesaving vaccines and implementing a national testing strategy that helped track and contain the virus. The law also provided relief to struggling families by expanding access to affordable health care coverage, providing $5 billion to help keep Americans’ lights on throughout the pandemic, and expanding internet connectivity to students and teachers without home internet access;
- The Inflation Reduction Act is the single-largest investment in climate action in American history that will allow us to meet our aggressive climate goals, create nine million new jobs in the clean energy industry, and lower energy costs for American families by about $1,800 per year. The law also provides critical relief to America’s seniors by empowering Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices, capping annual out-of-pocket costs for seniors at $2,000, and penalizing companies that unfairly hike prices.
- The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is modernizing our crumbling infrastructure, revitalizing our economy, creating new good paying jobs, enhancing our economic competitiveness, and combating the worsening climate crisis. The law is making historic investments in the electric grid and electric vehicles, replacing lead water service pipes and ensuring every American’s access to safe drinking water, and broadband deployment and affordability; and
- The CHIPS and Science Act is bolstering our economy, lowering costs for consumers, creating tens of thousands of good paying American jobs, and ending our dangerous dependence on foreign manufacturers of critical goods.
The Committee moved major legislation that was included in the final fiscal year 2023 omnibus package that will:
- Make permanent a state option allowing states to continue to provide 12 months of continuous coverage during the postpartum period in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), require children to be provided with 12 months of continuous coverage in Medicaid and CHIP, extend funding for the Money Follows the Person and Spousal Impoverishment programs through fiscal year 2027, and extend funding for CHIP for two years through fiscal year 2029;
- Provide Puerto Rico with five years of increased Medicaid funding and an enhanced federal matching rate, and provide a permanently increased federal matching rate to American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, providing long-term stability and access to health insurance to low-income individuals in the territories;
- Strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ability to regulate the safety of cosmetics and personal care products;
- Modernize and strengthen FDA’s ability to oversee drugs that are approved through the accelerated approval pathway and require FDA to take a series of actions intended to modernize and improve clinical trials, including increasing the diversity and engagement of trial participants;
- Strengthen, expand, and establish more than 30 critical programs that collectively support mental health care and substance use disorder prevention, care, treatment, peer support, and recovery support services;
- Expand patient access to opioid addiction treatment by making it easier for health care providers to dispense buprenorphine for opioid use disorder maintenance or detoxification treatment;
- Provide important new authorities for improving the Strategic National Stockpile to ensure critical pandemic supplies are operational, resilient, and ready to deploy in times of need;
- Establish the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health (ARPA-H), an advanced research entity that will accelerate innovation in health and medicine by investing in novel, broadly applicable, high-risk, high-reward research projects;
- Curb the onslaught of counterfeit, defective, and unsafe products available to Americans shopping on third-party e-commerce sites;
- Keep dangerous furniture products that can tip over on small children off the market and out of our homes; and
- Enhance our nation’s manufacturing industry to promote America’s global economic competitiveness and support our domestic travel and tourism industries.
Key accomplishments also included advancing other legislation through the Committee that was enacted into law, including legislation that will:
- Restore commonsense methane pollution standards that had been gutted by the Trump Administration;
- Reauthorize life-saving transplant programs to help patients suffering from blood cancers, disorders, and diseases;
- Prevent misconduct and diversion of controlled substances, including opioids;
- Make communications devices more secure and protected from national security risks;
- Provide funding to help find effective cures and treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurodegenerative diseases;
- Keep dangerous baby products off the market, providing families with the peace of mind they deserve when purchasing new products for their newborns;
- Bolster research into minority health disparities through research endowments at former centers of excellence;
- Establish product safety standards for button cell batteries to protect children from ingesting them;
- Reauthorize for five years the FDA’s user fee programs that help fund the agency’s review of the safety and efficacy of drugs and medical devices;
- Expand much-needed research on the safety and efficacy of marijuana products that millions of Americans are using for medical purposes;
- Protect survivors of domestic violence, human trafficking, and other related crimes by ensuring that phone contracts cannot be used to perpetuate abuse when survivors and abusers share a phone contract;
- Require the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to include maternal health outcomes in its health data mapping tools in order to better analyze how to prevent maternal deaths through connectivity; and
- Limit exorbitant correctional facility phone costs so that people in jails and prisons can stay connected with their support system – a well-documented way to produce better outcomes and lower rates of recidivism nationwide.
The Committee also crafted legislation through the Committee that will:
- Strengthen our nation’s privacy and data security protections and putting people back in control of their data by creating a strong national standard that will minimize the amount of Americans’ information companies are allowed to collect, process, and transfer;
- Restore the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) longstanding authorities to provide redress to consumers who have been scammed;
- Help the Department of Energy (DOE) respond more effectively and efficiently to both physical and cyber threats to our nation’s pipeline and LNG facilities;
- Reauthorize the FCC’s expiring spectrum auction authority;
- Restore the authority of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to manage federal spectrum; and
- Use certain spectrum proceeds to fund the shortfall in the FCC’s rip and replace program and to fund Next Generation 9-1-1.
The Committee’s oversight and investigative efforts were as robust as its legislative efforts, including:
- Examining the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision overturning the right to abortion and the implications for health care access for all Americans;
- Investigating and publishing a staff report on the approval and pricing of Biogen Inc.’s Alzheimer’s drug, Aduhelm, to understand the process by which it was approved, how Biogen set its price, and what impact it will have on patients, future related treatments, Medicare, and the health care system;
- Holding social media platforms accountable for the growing rise of misinformation and disinformation;
- Conducting four oversight hearings on the availability, distribution, supply, and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines;
- Demanding answers from Big Oil executives on their companies’ roles in rising gas and energy prices;
- Investigating the Texas power crisis and the need to make our nation’s electric grid more reliable and resilient;
- Exploring the Biden Administration’s efforts to care for unaccompanied children at the U.S. border;
- Examining how to restore the mission of the Environmental Protection Agency after it was seriously undermined by the Trump Administration;
- Pressing utility companies to explain high customer shutoff rates during the COVID-19 pandemic;
- Reviewing the ongoing mission, governance, and staffing challenges at the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board; and
- Examining the infant formula shortage, including its causes and what more must be done to ensure access to safe formula across the nation.
The Committee’s full Activity Report for the 117th Congress can be found HERE.
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