WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Fred Upton (R-St. Joseph), Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today released a report on the committee’s activities from the 2nd quarter of the 2nd Session of the 112th Congress. The report, the sixth such quarterly report that has been issued by Upton, was delivered to members of the committee and offers highlights of their efforts to create jobs, spur economic growth, protect taxpayers by limiting the size and scope of government, and strengthen protections for individual liberty and safety, all as part of their overall agenda crafted earlier this year.
In the report Upton notes, “With the first half of the year now complete, and three-fourths of the 112th Congress now in the rearview mirror, it seems like a fitting time to revisit the goals we set forth a few short months ago. I am pleased to report to you that we have made significant progress on the legislative initiatives we identified at the beginning of the year, and work is underway to complete them all.”
The report highlights a number of issues where the committee has been able to make strides toward the overall goal of creating a more efficient, limited government that provides the necessary conditions for job creation and economic growth. A summary of the committee’s progress on key initiatives follows:
Supporting Job Creation and Economic Growth
The committee’s work to support job creation and economic growth spanned a broad range of issues, from FDA and spectrum reform to expanded energy development and stronger support for American manufacturing. Following over a year of hearings and public input from patients and innovators before the Subcommittee on Health, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act moved through the committee, the House, and negotiations with the Senate; it was given final unanimous approval and signed into law. As part of the push for a true “all-of-the-above” energy strategy, the Subcommittee on Energy and Power continued pressing for approval of the Keystone XL pipeline and the jobs and energy security it would bring, fought against the costly agenda of the Obama EPA, and advanced legislation providing for increased hydropower development. And the Subcommittee on Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade moved legislation aimed at reducing red tape and restoring America’s competitiveness in manufacturing.
Standing Up for Taxpayers, Reducing the Size and Scope of the Federal Government
The Energy and Commerce Committee has made it a priority to stand up for the interests of taxpayers and work to reduce the size and scope of the federal government, an important objective in this time of record debt and sustained deficit spending. Because it represents a dramatic increase in spending and government intervention into people’s lives, the committee continues working to repeal Obamacare in order to allow Congress to start again, by listening to the American people, to pursue commonsense reforms to our health care system. Eliminating elements of Obamacare was also an important component of the committee’s efforts to get rid of wasteful, unaccountable spending the country simply cannot afford. The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations continues working to uncover and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Medicare program. At the same time, the Oversight and Investigations team’s investigation of the failed loan-guarantee to Solyndra is culminating in the “No More Solyndras Act,” legislation aimed at phasing out the loan guarantee program, which despite the claim of “enormous success” from the administration, has left taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of dollars in bad investments. And continuing the effort to promote good government, the House approved legislation out of the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology that will bring increased efficiency, transparency, and predictability to the Federal Communications Commission.
Protecting Individuals, Families, and Communities
The committee’s efforts to protect individuals, families, and communities encompass everything from standing up for individual liberty to examining solutions to protect online privacy in a dynamic, digital age and to assuring the safety of our nation by prioritizing nuclear safety, cybersecurity, and much more. Cybersecurity remains a priority of several of the panel’s subcommittees, and the committee’s members are working diligently to assess both cyber threats and the costs and benefits of potential responses. The committee continued oversight of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to address major management failures and emphasize the importance of moving forward on long-term solutions for our nation’s nuclear sector. Likewise, the Environment and the Economy subcommittee continues to closely monitor the issues surrounding chemical plant security; the subcommittee also advanced a good-government solution to bring hazardous waste manifests into the 21st century with electronic reporting. Finally, the Commerce, Manufacturing, and Trade Subcommittee continues to be at the forefront of the complex issues that surround online privacy and what can be done to protect and inform consumers without stifling the vast potential of the Internet.
“Together we have crossed another milestone, wrapping up the first half of 2012 at the same aggressive pace that we have sustained throughout this busy 112th Congress. Our committee has a great deal to be proud of, with a long record of informative hearings, compelling investigations, and legislative accomplishments,” Upton concluded. “We have moved bills through regular order from a subcommittee hearing through passage on the House floor, and we will continue to do so as long as this Congress is in session.”
Submitted by Joan Hillebrands