New #Cures2015 White Paper Seeks Continued Feedback as Legislative Phase Begins

WASHINGTON, DC – The House Energy and Commerce Committee today released a discussion document in the 21st Century Cures initiative, outlining many of the ideas submitted over the past year, including ideas from both Republicans and Democrats. This release marks the beginning of the #Cures2015 legislative phase. In conjunction with the discussion document, the committee is releasing a new white paper, continuing its request for feedback on the ideas outlined in the discussion document to accelerate the discovery, development, and delivery of new cures and treatments.

Read the introduction to the white paper below and the complete paper online here.


House Energy & Commerce Committee: A Super Push for LNG Exports

The U.S. shale gas revolution has proved to be a game changer for the American economy and the entire global energy market. Technological breakthroughs in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have allowed America to claim victory as the world’s number one natural gas producer. We are now producing more than enough natural gas to meet our nation’s energy needs and now have excess supplies to sell.

The increasing influx of affordable, American gas to the global market has the potential to create more jobs here at home and strengthen energy security abroad. Despite America’s increasing dominance, countries like Russia and Iran still have their grip on the world’s energy. Our allies in Eastern Europe and across the globe are rooting for the U.S. to step up and make a winning play, but the administration continues to block the increase of U.S. exports. By stalling the approval of liquefied natural gas (LNG) export applications, the Department of Energy is sadly running out the clock on jobs and energy security. Since 2010, DOE has only issued a final decision on five applications to export LNG to countries with which the U.S. does not have a Free Trade Agreement.


New roles for Charlie Dent as his seniority rises in Congress

Moments before he walked on to the U.S. House floor to be sworn in, Lehigh Valley Congressman Charlie Dent picked up a packet of manila envelopes marked “146.”

What was it last year, one staffer asked another. “183.”

“That’s out of the whole Congress?” Dent asked them.

The lower the number, the higher the seniority in a 435-member body run on rules and tradition. As the 114th Congress gets underway, one signal of Dent’s rising status is the 37-spot drop in the number adorning his official license plates.


Chamberlain: They’re Doing It Wrong – It’s Not Enough To Make A Statement, Republicans Need to Lead

They’re Doing It Wrong: It’s Not Enough To Make A Statement, Republicans Need to Lead

By: Sarah Chamberlain

On November 4th, the American people went to the ballot box and delivered a historic victory for the Republican Party.

With the largest House majority in a generation and 9 new Republican senators who will end Harry Reid’s reign as Majority Leader, Republicans will have the opportunity to help restore common-sense conservative Republican principles to Washington and to hold President Obama accountable. 

Yet, just six weeks later, the headline in Politico this week screamed, “Ted Cruz Reignites GOP Civil War,” as the junior Senator from Texas once again decided to publicly blindside his Republican colleagues over an issue with an already pre-determined outcome.


Roll Call: New Governing Coalition Emerges

In the wake of the “cromnibus,” a new governing coalition may have emerged in Washington.

For the first time in eight years, it doesn’t necessarily include Nancy Pelosi.

It does include Steny H. Hoyer.

The coalition doesn’t seem to need Sens. Ted Cruz, Elizabeth Warren or Jeff Sessions.


Main Street Partnership: Pass Tax Extenders Now To Prevent Tax Hike On America’s Families & Businesses

(Washington, DC) – Calling it “must pass” legislation before Congress adjourns in December, the Main Street Partnership today called on Congress to pass a tax extender package next month that already enjoys bipartisan support and includes numerous provisions important to jobs and the American economy.

“In an ideal world, all of these issues would be addressed in a comprehensive tax reform bill but until that becomes a reality, Congress must act to prevent an immediate tax increase on millions of Americans,” said former U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-OH), President of the Main Street Partnership. “American taxpayers deserve consistency and predictability, and they shouldn’t be threatened with the prospect of a massive tax hike heading into the holiday season. That should be enough to make any Republican want to act.”

“This is particularly important to women in our country who are in charge of the vast majority of family budgets. They deserve certainty as they plan for their family’s future in the months ahead,” said Main Street Partnership’s Chief Operating Officer Sarah Chamberlain.

Main Street’s statement comes in the wake of a report in Politico last week that Heritage Action and other Washington conservative groups are threatening Members of the House with attack ads if they stand with their constituents and support a tax extender package in the lame duck session. As Politico reported:

  • “That’s raising alarms among more moderate Republicans because it could disrupt the upcoming 2015 tax-filing season. Millions of Americans could suddenly find their tax refunds delayed or be forced to file twice — potentially leaving Republicans to blame.”

“As Main Street and other common-sense Republican groups demonstrated across-the-board this past primary season, we will be there to support Members of Congress who do what’s right for their constituents and the country. It’s important that Congress acts this year before taxes go up on America’s families and job creators,” LaTourette concluded.


Although most Republicans – and Democrats, for that matter – agree that temporary tax policy is generally not a good practice, the extender package includes numerous provisions important to jobs and the economy.  For example, among the extenders are the R&D credit, 50% bonus depreciation to encourage capital investment, the Section 179 expensing provision for small businesses, as well as provisions that level the playing field for U.S. companies competing abroad.  To encourage charitable giving, there are provisions like the IRA Charitable Rollover, the food donation deduction, and land conservation deduction.  Numerous other extenders serve a solid policy purpose, including the option to deduct state and local sales taxes instead of state income taxes – very important in states with no or low income tax, like Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

There is one important reason why every Republican should be in favor of that notion:  to fail to act will mean an immediate tax increase on millions of Americans.   Importantly, the tax extenders have already expired – at the end of 2013.  The failure to extend them retroactively to the beginning of 2014 will result in a tax increase equaling billions of dollars.

The House passed a number of business and charitable tax extenders permanently, while the Senate Finance Committee passed the entire tax extender package for a 2 year period.  Combining the two approaches will result in a the solid policy achievement of making some meritorious provisions permanent in the tax code, thereby avoiding the extender exercise for those provisions in the future.

Tax extenders are one measure Congressional Republicans should act on expeditiously in lame duck.



The Obama Republicans?

More GOP House members must defend Democratic-friendly districts.

About a week after the Republican midterm romp, nearly 20 soon-to-be House GOP freshmen huddled for a private lunch on the third floor of the Capitol Hill Club. The mood was jubilant: Each had prevailed in a swing district, exploiting deep unhappiness with President Barack Obama and angst over the country’s future.

But as they dug into platters of lasagna, salad and chicken, the newbies were given some sobering news. GOP officials explained that they would be among Democrats’ top 2016 targets — when they’d be up against a more diverse electorate — and they needed to start preparing now.

“The message,” said one aide who was in the room, “was, ‘Don’t bask in the glow of victory.’”


Rise of the Republican Pragmatists

Expect the new GOP majorities in Congress to press forward with a governing agenda, avoiding the intra-party conflicts of years past.

In Washington, narratives last long past their sell-by date. One of the most common tropes is that Republicans are controlled by the far-right wing of the party and have little ability to govern. That was certainly true for several years, in the wake of their party’s wipeouts in 2006 and 2008, along with the subsequent tea-party wave in 2010 that gave Republicans control of the House. Of the 66 Democratic seats that House Republicans picked up that year, more than half (36) were in solidly red districts John McCain carried in the 2008 presidential election. Many of those newly elected members hailed from the GOP’s tea-party wing, reflecting their conservative constituencies. With little room to maneuver, House Speaker John Boehner had trouble managing a fractious caucus and found himself battling his own party as much as the Democrats. The 2013 government shutdown marked the party’s low point, with leadership at the mercy of several dozen uncompromising conservative backbenchers.

But many pundits are mistakenly looking to the past to determine the future of the new Republican-controlled Congress. With Republicans determined to improve their image in the run-up to a presidential election, and a crop of new, more-pragmatic members heading to Washington, all the signs suggest that the GOP will be eager to unite and advance a legislative agenda.


NY delegation to the House gains clout

The three newest members of New York’s delegation to the House of Representatives appear to fit the “Main Street Republican” image of the rest of the delegation.

The nine Republicans who will represent New York in the U.S. House next year likely will play an important role helping House Speaker John Boehner marginalize tea party dissidents.

“Leadership will be very happy to have New York Republicans there taking votes sometimes that people in other parts of the country would find it difficult to vote yes on,” Rep. Chris Collins, R-Clarence, said.


Chairman Upton Outlines Priorities for the 114th Congress

House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, issued the following statement regarding the committee’s priorities for the 114th Congress. Upton recently unveiled the #RecordOfSuccess webpage chronicling the committee’s bipartisan achievements in the 113th Congress.

“At the Energy and Commerce Committee we have had a proven record of bipartisan success and that will only continue to grow in the coming years. Earlier this year my Democratic colleague Diana DeGette joined me in launching the 21st Century Cures initiative with the goal of accelerating the pace of new cures and treatments. We have heard from patients, researchers, care givers, and innovators for the past several months about the tremendous opportunities we have in the United States to find treatments for the thousands of diseases without them and close the gap between the science of cures and how we regulate them. In the coming weeks we will continue to advance this initiative and work with our colleagues in Congress and the administration to deliver hope to patients and loved ones all across the country. ”