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Committee Cliff Notes: Week of February 5, 2024

Here’s a recap of key moments from House Republican committees during the week: Armed Services On Tuesday, February 6, the Quality of Life panel, led by U.S. Representative Don Bacon (R-NE), held a hearing to receive testimony from other members of Congress on their perspective regarding military quality of life issues. This hearing comes as the panel prepares its policy recommendations for the FY25 NDAA to improve housing, compensation, childcare, spousal employment, and healthcare for servicemembers and their families.
On Wednesday, February 7, the Subcommittee on Readiness held a hearing on the state of aging and undermaintained infrastructure across the Department of Defense.  Members received testimony from Department of Defense officials on the impacts of deferred maintenance on facilities. Improving military housing and providing adequate facilities is vital for maintaining readiness and capability. The FY25 NDAA will build upon last year’s work to improve conditions at housing and other military facilities.
Budget On Tuesday, February 6, the House Budget Committee held a full committee markup of three bipartisan bills:
  • H.R. 766, the Preventive Health Savings Act, led by Representatives Burgess (R-TX) and DeGette (D-CO), aimed at bettering CBO’s budgetary analysis of preventive health care legislation and was advanced by a bipartisan vote of 30-0.
  • H.R. 7032, the Congressional Budget Office Data Sharing Act, led by Ranking Member Boyle (D-PA) and Chairman Arrington (R-TX), which ensures CBO has the tools it needs to provide the accurate and timely cost accounting Congress relies on. This legislation also advanced by a bipartisan vote of 30-0. 
  • H.R. 5301, the Eliminate Useless Reports Act of 2023, led by Representatives Garcia (D-CA) and Grothman (R-WI), eliminates duplicative reports to streamline the budget process.

  Education and the Workforce On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education held a hearing called "Protecting Missing and Exploited Children." The issue of child exploitation online is top of mind for many in Congress. In fact, experts say there has never been a worse time to be a child online. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has direct insight on this issue. Working with parents, law enforcement, and schools, NCMEC works to prevent the abduction and exploitation of children. The hearing also discussed the importance of passing the Missing Children's Assistance Reauthorization Act of 2023, which reauthorizes the 1984 law that created NCMEC. Specifically, H.R. 5224 enhances NCMEC’s coordination with law enforcement and state child welfare systems, promotes safety for children using technology, and combats the online exploitation of children.

  Energy and Commerce
On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security held a hearing called "Politics Over People: How Biden’s LNG Export Ban Threatens America’s Energy and Economic Security." Members condemned President Biden’s LNG export “pause” as a blatant political decision to appease his radical base at the expense of American energy security and the security of our allies. President Biden’s LNG export ban will kill good American jobs, increase emissions, and raise energy prices for people across the board. 
On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing called "Protecting American Health Security: Oversight of Shortcomings in the FDA's Foreign Drug Inspection Program." Members discussed the FDA’s foreign manufacturing facility inspection program, which has failed to hold foreign drug manufacturers accountable for repeatedly violating regulations. To ensure the safety of the American people, the FDA must address their failures and improve in-person foreign inspections. 
  Financial Services Last week, the Chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Patrick McHenry (NC-10), Chairman of the Financial Institutions and Monetary Policy Subcommittee, Andy Barr (KY-06), and Chairman of the Digital Assets, Financial Technology and Inclusion Subcommittee, French Hill (AR-02) sent a letter to Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Chair Martin Gruenberg expressing concern over the agency’s persistent efforts to minimize engagement with the public on financial technology and innovation. The lawmakers noted the dismantling of the external facing portion of the agency’s FDITech Office as a catalyst for their inquiry and demand information regarding how the FDIC will provide regulatory guidance for burgeoning FinTech firms and financial innovators moving forward.  
  On Monday, February 5, Chairman McHenry and Subcommittee Chairman Barr sent letters to Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President Mary Daly and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams regarding their banks’ ongoing relationships with opaque and unaccountable global governance organizations, including the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) and Bank of International Settlements (BIS). The lawmakers are requesting information related to the Federal Reserve (Fed) regional banks’ past work and written agreements with these organizations, which cede authority over U.S. financial regulation while putting our financial system at a competitive disadvantage.   On Tuesday, February 6, Chairman McHenry, the Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Subcommittee Chairman Hill, and the Chairman of the Commodity Markets, Digital Assets, and Rural Development Subcommittee, Dusty Johnson (SD-AL), sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in her capacity as Chair of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) demanding answers on FSOC’s calls to fill existing regulatory gaps in the spot market for digital assets that are not securities. The bipartisan FIT for the 21st Century Act would provide the clarity and certainty that digital asset spot markets desperately need. On Tuesday, February 6, the Committee on Financial Services, led by Chairman McHenry, held a full committee hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the annual report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). Republicans delivered much-needed accountability to Secretary Yellen’s FSOC for its failure to fulfill its statutory mission of identifying and responding to emerging risks in pursuit of progressive priorities.

  Foreign Affairs On Tuesday, February 6, the Foreign Affairs Committee held a full committee markup on the following legislation:
  • H.R. 7151, the Export Control Enforcement and Enhancement Act (Wagner)
  • H.R. 6609, the Foreign Military Sales Technical, Industrial, and Governmental Engagement for Readiness Act or the TIGER Act (Waltz)
  • H.R. 7089, the Global Anti-Human Trafficking Enhancement Act (James)
  • H.Con.Res. 27, Condemning Russia’s unjust and arbitrary detention of Russian opposition leader Vladimir Kara-Murza who has stood up in defense of democracy, the rule of law, and free and fair elections in Russia (Keating)
  • H.R. 6603, the No Technology for Terror Act (Moran)
  • H.Res. 82, Expressing the sense of Congress regarding the need to designate Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in and tolerating systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom, the need to appoint a Special Envoy for Nigeria and the Lake Chad region, and for other purposes (Smith)
  • H.R. 7159, the Pacific Partnership Act (Case)
  • H.Res. 965, Calling for the immediate release of Ryan Corbett, a United States citizen, who was wrongfully detained by the Taliban on August 10, 2022, and condemning the wrongful detention of Americans by the Taliban (Tenney)
  • H.R. 6046, the Standing Against Houthi Aggression Act (Clyde)
  • H.R. 7122, the Stop Support for United Nations Relief and Works Agency Act of 2024 or the Stop Support for UNRWA Act of 2024 (Smith)
  • H.R. 7152, the Divided Families National Registry Act (Wexton)
The markup advanced significant legislation on measures addressing a range of issues, including ending U.S. funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) after the agency’s employees participated in the October 7 attacks, designating the Houthis as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), boosting U.S. engagement in the Pacific, and condemning human rights abuses, religious persecution, and arbitrary detentions around the world. On Wednesday, February 7, the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere held a meeting called "The Fight for Freedom in Venezuela: A Conversation with María Corina Machado." This was an opportunity for Congress to engage in a dialogue with Maria Corina Machado, Venezuela’s leading opposition figure and presidential candidates. As the situation in Venezuela continues to deteriorate, the roundtable will provide a rare opportunity to hear from Machado directly as she engages with U.S. legislators on the importance for continued bipartisan support for Venezuela’s democratic efforts and their importance to US global interests.

Homeland Security   On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection held a hearing entitled, “Securing Operational Technology: A Deep Dive into the Water Sector.” Members heard from industry witnesses about the importance of cross-sector partnerships to address threats to operational technology (OT) across sectors, including the water sector, and discussed the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency’s role in securing OT.

House Administration   On Wednesday, February 7, the Committee on House Administration held a full committee hearing titled “American Confidence in Elections: Confronting Zuckerbucks, Private Funding of Election Administration.” This hearing investigated the influence private funding has on the administration of our nation’s elections. Zuckerbucks distort Americans’ confidence in our elections.

Judiciary   On Tuesday, February 6, the Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government held a hearing called “Hearing on the Weaponization of the Federal Government,” to examine the threat to the First Amendment posed by artificial intelligence and the federal government's role in funding the development of AI-powered censorship and propaganda tools that can be used by governments and Big Tech to monitor and censor speech at scale.

Natural Resources On Tuesday, February 6, the Committee on Natural Resources held a full committee markup on the following bills:
  • H.R. 1829, To require the Secretary of Agriculture to convey the Pleasant Valley Ranger District Administrative Site to Gila County, Arizona (Crane)
  • H.R. 2925, the Mining Regulatory Clarity Act of 2023 (Amodei)
  • H.R. 4297, the Bolts Ditch Act (Neguse)
  • H.R. 4984, the D.C. Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium Campus Revitalization Act (Comer)
The bills advanced at this markup range on issues from unlocking America's mineral resources and ensuring responsible mineral development can continue on federal lands, to supporting veterans and revitalizing aging infrastructure. These represent some of the highest priorities of the Chairman this congress and the committees continued work to secure our national mineral supply chain to secure our energy independence.  On Thursday, February 8, the Subcommittee on Federal Lands held an oversight field hearing in Sierra Vista, Arizona, titled “Biden’s Border Crisis: The Consequences of Failing to Secure Federal Border Lands.” The Biden administration’s ongoing failure to secure our nation’s southern border has created a confluence of security, environmental, and humanitarian crises as record numbers of migrants cross illegally into the country. Approximately 35 percent of the United States’ southern border is managed by federal land management agencies. Federal lands along the border are often targeted by criminals, drug smugglers, and human traffickers because they are remote, uninhabited, and less frequently patrolled. Due to this the committee will travel to Sierra Vista, Ariz. tomorrow to hear from local witnesses from the community on the devastating consequences of the Biden border crisis on their lands.
Oversight and Accountability On Tuesday, February 6, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability held a full committee markup and passed the following legislation:
  • H.R. 5798, the Protecting Our Nation's Capital Emergency Act of 2023 (Garbarino)
  • H.R. 262, the All Economic Regulations are Transparent (ALERT) Act of 2023 (Good)
  • H.R. 6972, the Securing Chain of Command Continuity Act (Kiggans)
  • H.R. 6283, the Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging (DRUG) Act (Miller-Meeks)
  • H.R. 5658, the Vote by Mail Tracking Act (Porter)
  • H.R. 5887, the Government Service Delivery Improvement Act (Khanna)

Rules This week, the Rules Committee advanced measures that addressed the failure of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to uphold his constitutional oath (H. Res. 863) and protected access to lifesaving treatments for vulnerable Americans (H.R. 485). A spotlight was put on how Secretary Mayorkas has willfully refused to enforce and comply with our laws and breached public trust. His actions have left our southern border wide open to millions of migrants, cartel activity, terror watchlist individuals, and human and drug traffickers—and Rules members reiterated their commitment to holding him accountable. Representatives also made clear that federal bureaucrats shouldn’t determine the value of someone’s life. By moving the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act forward, they acted to protect individuals with disabilities and chronic illness from being denied necessary medical treatment due to quality-adjusted life years metrics.

Science, Space, and Technology On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Energy and the Subcommittee on Research and Technology held a joint hearing called "Federal Science Agencies and the Promise of AI in Driving Scientific Discoveries.” Witnesses from NSF, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, academia, and the private sector joined to discuss how federal science agencies are harnessing artificial intelligence to drive discoveries in new scientific domains and pursue leading-edge AI research.

Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party On Wednesday, February 7, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party wrote to the Departments of Defense and Transportation, exposing critical deficiencies in the United States’ military sealift capabilities in the Indo-Pacific. The Chinese military has embarked on an unprecedented naval buildup.  On Thursday, February 8, Chairman Mike Gallagher (R-WI) and Ranking Member Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL) of the House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) unveiled the findings of their bipartisan investigation into five U.S. venture capital firms. The lawmakers found that these firms invested at least $3 billion in, and provided expertise and other benefits to, People's Republic of China (PRC) critical technology companies, including many aiding the Chinese military, surveillance state, or the CCP's genocide in Xinjiang.

Small Business On Tuesday, February 6, the Committee on Small Business held a full committee hearing called "Under the Microscope: Reviewing the SBA’s Small Business Size Standards." During the hearing, witnesses emphasized the need for the SBA’s size standards to accurately reflect the needs of different industries. Witnesses also put forth suggestions that could help small businesses grow and not fall off a cliff when they lose their small size status.

Transportation and Infrastructure On Tuesday, February 6, the Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing called "The State of American Aviation and the Federal Aviation Administration." Subcommittee members received testimony from Michael Whitaker, Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on a wide range of aviation issues, including the status of recent aviation accident investigations, FAA reauthorization, and the DOT’s lack of response to House Republican questions about the administration’s policies encouraging the sheltering of illegal migrants at U.S. airports.

Ways and Means On Tuesday, February 6, the Committee on Ways and Means held a full committee hearing titled “Examining Chronic Drug Shortages in the United States.” America is too dependent on foreign countries for ingredients and medical supplies, warned witnesses at a Tuesday Ways and Means Committee hearing on the drug shortage crisis. Over 80 percent of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in essential medications taken by Americans are made in a foreign country. China and India produce the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in 60 to 70 percent of generic drugs in the United States. Witnesses urged Congress to examine policies that make our medical supply chain less reliant on foreign countries. Well-intentioned Medicare reimbursement structures meant to lower health care costs for taxpayers and patients may be incentivizing providers to seek low-cost drugs without regards for quality, further contributing to the shortage of generic drugs. To ensure more Americans can access medicine, witnesses shared innovative models that keep drugs supplied during a shortage and secure domestic production of more affordable generic drugs. 
On Wednesday, February 7, the Subcommittee on Trade held a hearing titled "Advancing America’s Interests at the World Trade Organization’s 13th Ministerial Meeting." At a Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee hearing, Republican and Democrat members made clear that the Biden Administration must stand up for American interests at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) upcoming 13th Ministerial Conference. The hearing was spurred by the Biden Administration’s repeated failures to fully and strongly stand up for the interests of American workers, families, farmers, and small businesses at the WTO. Witnesses urged the Administration to continue to press forcefully for critical dispute settlement reforms to ensure China and other nations play by the same set of rules as American producers, build on the success of the previous ministerial conferences and advocate for banning forced labor provisions in fisheries, and protect American farmers from unfair and protectionist trade barriers imposed by other nations.