A successful first quarter
I want to take a chance to reflect on what I have been working on thus far and what we have accomplished in the House of Representatives.
I started this year securing significant changes to the House rules. The Holman rule was reinstituted. It can be used to help control federal spending. I also fought to tighten the House’s interpretation of germaneness, hopefully leading to smaller bills. The House also instituted my single purpose rule, which has never existed before in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Since January, the Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee, on which I sit, has wasted to no time delving into the most pressing issues facing our nation. In these first three months, we’ve held over 20 hearings, including four Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee hearings which I have chaired.
The Committee has held roundtables, hearings, and I chaired a bipartisan joint field hearing in McAllen, Texas, to examine our country’s fentanyl crisis and issues related to unaccompanied minors.
I introduced legislation to permanently schedule fentanyl analogues, which have been scheduled on a temporary basis. The HALT Fentanyl Act passed the full Committee on March 24 and now heads to the House floor for a vote.
The Committee spent considerable time examining the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. For almost three years, questions on how the pandemic started have been unanswered. The E&C Committee has brought in the heads of the National Institute of Health, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection, as well as a Government Accountability Office official and multiple academic experts.
I want to bring in Dr. Fauci, but the timing has to be worked out through the byzantine labyrinth of competition between various committees.
E&C is also focused on improving this country’s energy approach, exploring ways to make energy more affordable, increase production, and removing bureaucratic red tape (see below H.R. 1).
The House Administration Committee, which I joined in January, has held a series of hearings examining both the successes and failures of the 2022 midterm elections, given its jurisdiction over federal elections.
Recently the Committee held a hearing on Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. The county proved to be wholly unprepared on election day. We heard testimony they ran out of paper ballots as early as 9 a.m. on election day. This is unacceptable and we must do better in the 2024 elections than we have done in the past.
Those directly responsible for elections in Luzerne County have yet to agree to come before the Committee to explain.
I believe it is time for the Committee to issue subpoenas.
Stonewalling by county officials should not be tolerated.
House Administration’s Oversight Subcommittee has also launched an investigation into the January 6th Committee, created by House Democrats last Congress. In the initial stages of combing through the January 6th Committee’s documents, the Subcommittee has found that some of their work appeared to push a pre-determined narrative despite having evidence to the contrary.
Republicans know that after two years of flawed energy policies by the Biden Administration, we must unleash American energy. After many hearings in several committees (see E&C above), House Republicans recently passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. H.R. 1 has five objectives: reversing anti-energy policies advanced by the Biden Administration; increasing domestic energy production; reforming the permitting process for all industries; streamlining energy infrastructure and exports; and boosting the mining and processing of critical minerals. Though the President has threatened to veto the legislation, I hope that the Senate will work with us pass a package that will lower energy costs for all Americans.
In a rare act of unity, the House passed S. 619, COVID-19 Origin Act, by a vote of 419-0. Having previously passed the Senate by unanimous consent, the legislation was signed into law by President Biden on March 20th. The COVID-19 Origin Act requires the Director of National Intelligence to declassify information relating to the origin of COVID-19.
House Republicans have also addressed the alarming trend of parents being forcibly shut out of their children’s education by certain school districts. House Republicans passed H.R. 5, the Parents Bill of Rights Act, aiming to restore parents’ rights by guaranteeing them the right to know what’s being taught in schools and to see reading material; the right to be heard; the right to see school budget and spending; the right to protect their child’s privacy; and the right to be updated on any violent activity at school.
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