Committee Cliff Notes: Weekly Recap – Week of September 18, 2023
Washington, September 22, 2023
Here’s a recap of key moments from House Republican committees during the week:
On Tuesday, September 19, the House Armed Services Committee held a full committee hearing on defense cooperation with Taiwan. Members pressed Department of Defense and State Department officials on the unacceptable backlog of FMS aid for Taiwan and President Biden’s inability to articulate a consistent policy toward Taiwan. Members also highlighted the importance of a strong military in deterring China’s aggression.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Cyber, Information Technologies, and Innovation held a hearing on industry perspectives on defense innovation and deterrence. The subcommittee received testimony from industry leaders on the defense innovation ecosystem.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Military Personnel held a hearing on meritocracy in the military services. Members pressed witnesses on the Biden administration’s radical leftist agenda that is plaguing our military services. In his opening statement, Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Military Personnel said, “We must do whatever it takes to ensure that effort, hard work, and results are the ONLY relevant measures of our servicemembers.”
On Wednesday, September 20, the House Budget Committee held a full committee markup to consider the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2024-FY2033, which would reduce the deficit by $16 trillion and balance the federal budget in 10 years. The resolution passed out of Committee by a vote of 20-14.
Education and Workforce
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing called "Academic Freedom Under Attack: Loosening the CCP's Grip on America's Classrooms." In K-12 schools, Confucius Classrooms pose as cultural exchange centers yet often act as vehicles for CCP propaganda. These CCP propaganda outposts have infiltrated more than 500 American K-12 schools, and their grip on education threatens America’s classrooms.Committee Republicans are at the tip of the spear fighting CCP influence in American K-12 education.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Development held a hearing called "Strengthening WIOA: Improving Outcomes for Jobseekers, Employers, and Taxpayers." In 2014 WIOA was enacted to help narrow the skills gap by equipping jobseekers with the skills and abilities required in the modern workforce. That being said, WIOA hasn’t been updated in nearly 10 years, and key reforms are needed to help ensure the workforce system is delivering high-quality services to jobseekers and job creators. The Committee took a major step towards delivering efficiency, flexibility, and accountability for America’s workforce system.
Energy and Commerce
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Health held a legislative hearing called "Examining Policies to Improve Seniors’ Access to Innovative Drugs, Medical Devices, and Technology." This hearing focused on a variety of possible policy improvements, including strengthening the Part D prescription drug program, which will give seniors better access to the best treatments, medical devices, and technology available.
The following legislation was discussed:
On Tuesday, September 19, the Energy and Commerce Committee held a full committee hearing called "Member Day Hearing." As Chair Rodgers and Ranking Member Pallone said, “The Energy and Commerce Committee is at the forefront of issues and policies powering America’s economy, including our global competitive edge in energy, technology, and health care … We welcome all members who wish to participate and look forward to a productive and insightful discussion.”
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security held a legislative hearing called "American Hydropower: Unleashing Reliable, Renewable, Clean Power Across the U.S." Hydropower is the largest source of clean, renewable energy in the country. It provides affordable, reliable baseload energy to power our communities, our businesses, and our homes, and it's key to reducing emissions. This hearing focused on H.R. 4045, the Hydropower Clean Energy Future Act, led by Chair Rodgers.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Innovation, Data, and Commerce held a hearing called "Mapping America’s Supply Chains: Solutions to Unleash Innovation, Boost Economic Resilience, and Beat China." America’s economic leadership depends on innovative solutions and strong, reliable supply chains. This legislative hearing focused on the following draft legislation to secure our supply chains:
On Thursday, September 21, the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology held a hearing called "Connecting Every American: The Future of Rural Broadband Funding." As Chair Rodgers and Subcommittee Chair Latta said, “Congress has dedicated an unprecedented amount of taxpayer dollars towards closing this digital divide. As these resources are made available and new funding programs are considered, it is critical that we ensure taxpayer dollars aren't being wasted or duplicated.”
On Tuesday, September 19, all Republicans on the House Financial Services Committee—led by Chairman Patrick McHenry—sent a letter to Federal Reserve Vice Chair for Supervision Michael Barr, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman Martin Gruenberg, and Acting Comptroller of the Currency Michael Hsu. Committee Republicans are demanding that the regulators withdraw their misguided Basel III Endgame proposal due to its flawed scope, depth, motivation, and process.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Capital Markets—led by Chairman Ann Wagner—held a hearing called "Oversight of the SEC’s Division of Investment Management." Republicans highlighted the repercussions of SEC Chair Gary Gensler’s rushed rulemaking agenda that is being pursued without analysis of the comprehensive impact of the expansive and numerous proposals.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy—led by Chairman Andy Barr—held a hearing called "A Holistic Review of Regulators: Regulatory Overreach and Economic Consequences." Republicans emphasized how Biden’s banking regulators’ partisan rewrite of capital requirements for financial institutions will weaken our economic competitiveness and lead to reduced credit for small businesses and consumers.
On September 19, Chairman Patrick McHenry issued a statement blasting the Treasury Department’s “Net-Zero Financing Guidance,” which would politicize capital allocation and advance progressive climate priorities at the expense of sound economic management.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Financial Services Committee held a full committee markup of various measures to bolster American national security, protect Americans’ financial privacy, and prohibit the issuance of a central bank digital currency (CBDC). The Committee advanced legislation to target the Chinese Communist Party’s military-industrial complex—Congressman Andy Barr’s Chinese Military and Surveillance Company Sanctions Act—which uses our most effective time-tested tool, sanctions, to limit the CCP’s ability to wage war by cutting off funding and technology from bad actors.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations held a hearing called "Efforts to Address Ritual Abuse and Sacrifice in Africa." Child sacrifice is a disturbing reality in today’s world and is happening on a huge scale – children are killed in sadistic rituals because some people believe this can help them overcome illness, gain wealth, or obtain other good fortune. This hearing aimed to illuminate this horrific issue, elucidate the current institutional framework, and explore solutions to bring these acts to an end.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection held a hearing entitled “Evaluating CISA’s Federal Civilian Executive Branch Cybersecurity Programs.” Members heard from private sector cyber stakeholders who provided feedback on CISA security programs.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Committee on Homeland Security held a full committee hearing entitled “The Financial Costs of Mayorkas’ Open Border.” This hearing launched the fourth phase of the Committee’s oversight investigation into Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas’ handling of the border crisis and the policies that sparked it.
On Monday, September 18, the Committee on House Administration hosted a security briefing for Members and staff titled, “Increased Violent Crime and Personal Safety for Members and Staff in D.C.” This briefing gave staff and lawmakers tips on surviving crime amid the crime crisis in our nation’s capital. Local law enforcement officers, members of U.S. Capitol security staff, and Hill staff victims of crime gave testimony and provided insights.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Oversight held a hearing titled “Oversight of United States Capitol Security: Assessing Security Failures on January 6, 2021,” with former United States Capitol Police (USCP) Chief Steven Sund testifying. This hearing examined over-politicization by previous Democrat leaders which prevented Capitol Police from appropriately preventing and responding to the January 6 Capitol attack.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Committee on House Administration held a full committee hearing titled “Oversight of the Federal Election Commission.” This was the first Federal Election Commission oversight hearing in over a decade, focused on keeping partisan interference out of the FEC.
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on the Central Intelligence Agency held a closed hearing titled “CIA Investigation Update.”
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on the Constitution and Limited Government held a hearing called "Examining Proposed Constitutional Amendments," to review Article V of the Constitution and propose amendments, including those limiting congressional terms and mandating a balanced federal budget.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Judiciary Committee held a full committee hearing called "Oversight of the U.S. Department of Justice," to examine how the Justice Department has become politicized and weaponized under the leadership of Attorney General Merrick Garland.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing titled “Examining Barriers to Access in Federal Waters: A Closer Look at the Marine Sanctuary and Monument System.” Marine protected areas (MPA) can restrict activities that communities, including tribal and underserved areas, rely on to remain economically viable. The economic activities affected communities rely on include commercial fishing, mining, oil and gas production and renewable energy development. The hearing was essential in conducting necessary, and ongoing, oversight on the Biden administration's bureaucratic overreach.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources held an oversight hearing titled “Examining the Biden Administration’s Mismanagement of the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Program.” This hearing focused on the Biden administration's failures when it comes to energy production. Members sought answers on how the administration's failures have hurt Americans everywhere including local and native communities. Deputy Director of the Bureau of Land Management Mike Nedd testified on behalf of the administration.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a legislative hearing on the following bills:
Oversight and Accountability
On Tuesday, September 19, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a full committee hearing called “The Role of Pharmacy Benefit Managers in Prescription Drug Markets Part II: Not What the Doctor Ordered.” At the hearing, members and witnesses highlighted how Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have monopolized the pharmaceutical marketplace and push anticompetitive practices that undermine patient health and deliberately drive up the cost of prescription drugs. Both Republicans and Democrats stressed the importance of greater transparency in the PBM industry and highlighted the need for Congress to address PBMs’ harmful pricing tactics. The Oversight Committee will continue to examine PBM practices to inform legislative solutions that can greatly benefit patients and reduce drug costs.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Economic Growth, Energy Policy, and Regulatory Affairs held a hearing called “Bidenomics: A Perfect Storm of Spending, Debt, and Inflation.” Members examined the failures of President Biden’s “Bidenomics” policies and their impacts on American households, workers, and small businesses.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic held a classified briefing with senior HHS officials to discuss the challenges facing the Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. SSCP Members also toured the SNS on Monday, September 18.
The House Rules Committee met this week on several priorities critical to Americans. Chairman Cole and members advanced measures supporting our troops and national defense (H.R. 4366), keeping our government open and bolstering border security (H.R. 5525), restoring America’s energy dominance (H.R. 1130), and condemning the New Mexico Governor's attempt to subvert the Constitution and second-amendment rights of law-abiding citizens (H. Res. 684). Continuing their work, the Committee also held a hearing today to begin consideration of H.R. 4367, H.R. 4665, H.R. 4365, and H.R. 4368.
Science, Space, and Technology
On Tuesday, September 19, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a full committee hearing called "Chips on the Table: A one year review of the CHIPS and Science Act." The Honorable Gina Raimondo, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, joined to take questions from Science Committee Members on the progress made by the Department in implementing the semiconductor incentive, manufacturing, and research and development provisions of the CHIPS and Science Act.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight held a hearing called "A Bar Too High: Concerns with CEQ’s Proposed Regulatory Hurdle for Federal Contracting." The hearing examined the Administration’s recently proposed regulation requiring federal contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions to a foreign entity (SBTi) and set science-based targets to reduce their GHG emissions. The discussion also examined the practical, financial, and national security implications of this proposed regulation as well as the proposed rule’s constitutionality. Witnesses included representatives from the Aerospace Industries Association, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Ceres Accelerator for Sustainable Capital Markets, and the Congressional Research Service.
Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party
On Monday, September 18, following the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) suspension of imports of all Japanese seafood products in response to Tokyo Electric Power’s release of treated water from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, Chairman Gallagher and members of the Select Committee on the CCP attended a sushi and sake tasting provided by the Japanese Embassy to show support for the Japanese seafood industry and call out Chinese Communist Party economic coercion targeting a critical U.S. ally.
On Tuesday, September 19, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA), alongside members of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, requested a briefing from Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and FBI Director Christopher Wray amidst a drastic increase in Chinese Communist Party spies accessing sensitive military, economic, and technological secrets on U.S. soil.
On Tuesday, September 19, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas, requesting that the cabinet officials rigorously enforce the Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act (UHRPA) and the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) by imposing sanctions on Chinese officials responsible for human rights abuses and forced labor.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Committee on Small Business held a full committee hearing called "Athletes and Innovators: Analyzing NIL’s Impact on Entrepreneurial Collegiate Athletes." At the hearing, members highlighted the patchwork regulatory framework and other challenges in the current state of Name, Image, and Likeness. Members heard from witnesses that while NIL has upsides such as providing athletes with entrepreneurial skills, in the current state it allows for bad actors to take advantage of them.
Transportation and Infrastructure
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management held a hearing called "FEMA: The Current State of Disaster Readiness, Response, and Recovery." Chairman Scott Perry led members of the subcommittee in pressing FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell on the agency’s disaster preparedness, response, and recovery efforts and raised a number of issues related to FEMA programs and bureaucracy that are impacting their districts and the nation.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing called "Use and Regulation of Autonomous and Experimental Maritime Technologies." Subcommittee Republicans engaged in a productive back-and-forth with Coast Guard officials and industry experts about the role and regulation of autonomous and experimental maritime technologies.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure held a full committee hearing called "Oversight of the Department of Transportation’s Policies and Programs." T&I Republicans questioned Secretary Buttigieg on a range of issues, including inflationary impacts on Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) funds, electric vehicles (EVs) and EV infrastructure policies, supply chain and energy issues, high-speed rail project cost overruns, air traffic control and aviation workforce issues, project permitting issues, and more. The hearing marked the first time Secretary Buttigieg testified before the Committee in more than a year.
On Tuesday, September 19, the Subcommittee on Health held an oversight hearing titled “VA’s Federal Supremacy Initiative: Putting Veterans First?” The Health Subcommittee held an oversight hearing to examine VA’s Federal Supremacy Initiative, which will set national standards of practice for over 50 clinical specialties in VA. Additionally, the Subcommittee discussed the professional perspective on the development of the national standards and deliberated how this could impact patient care moving forward. Witnesses included the American Medical Association, American Academy Of Ophthalmology, American Optometric Association, American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology, American Society of Anesthesiologists, and VA.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity held an oversight hearing titled “Less is More: The Impact of Bureaucratic Red Tape on Veterans Education Benefits.” The Subcommittee heard testimony from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the National Association of State Approving Agencies (NASAA), and other relevant stakeholders concerning Risk-Based Surveys and other GI Bill benefits. The witnesses suggested ways to improve communication between VA and stakeholders, as well as ways to restructure Risk-Based Surveys and some GI Bill education assistance to improve veterans' earned benefits.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held an oversight hearing titled “VA Procurement: Made in America.” The Subcommittee examined VA’s compliance with Made in America Laws to include the Buy American Act, the Make PPE in America Act, as well as related Executive Orders and federal regulations. Senior officials from the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction and the Veterans Health Administration testified. Committee Members questioned the VA witnesses about the Department’s efforts to improve training and oversight of their procurement operations, reduce the number of Buy American waivers, purchase more domestically produced pharmaceuticals and medical devices, incentivize domestic manufacturing, and implement the purchasing requirements in the Make PPE in America Act. The VA witnesses described the Department’s efforts to correct past deficiencies and adapt to the new domestic purchasing requirements while emphasizing their commitment to purchasing American made products and services. Chairwoman Kiggans stressed the importance of VA leaders continuing to shape the Department’s procurement policies to support investment in domestic manufacturing and re-shoring of critical public health supply chains.
Ways and Means
On Tuesday, September 19, the Committee on Ways and Means held a full committee hearing called "Reduced Care for Patients: Fallout From Flawed Implementation of Surprise Medical Billing Protections." Patients are losing access to care and their health insurance covers fewer doctors, while medical providers are struggling to get reimbursed for services provided, all because of the flawed implementation of the bipartisan No Surprises Act of 2020. At a hearing before the Ways and Means Committee, witnesses testified that the system set up by unelected federal bureaucrats is leading to doctors being dropped from insurance networks and receiving significantly lower reimbursement rates that are making it harder for them to pay the staff needed to provide quality health care. Equally concerning, federal agencies have thus far failed to implement the law’s “Advanced Explanation of Benefits” provision – an important tool that was promised to America’s patients so they could know the cost of health care services before they walk into a medical facility.
On Wednesday, September 20, the Subcommittee on Trade held a hearing called "Reforming the Generalized System of Preferences to Safeguard U.S. Supply Chains and Combat China." The Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee examined how the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) trade program has worked in the past and what possible reforms could help align the program with America’s strategic trade goals. Witnesses emphasized the importance of the United States using trade policy to benefit American workers, farmers, and small businesses while combatting China’s unfair trade practices and coercive economic model.