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Pallone Challenges GOP Intent To Short-Circuit Public Process

Press Release

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Alarmed by the decision to short-circuit the committee process for two important health care bills, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., the ranking Democrat with the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, sent the below correspondence to the subcommittee's chairman, Congressman Joe Pitts, and the chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, Congressman Fred Upton, to reconsider their intention to deny other committee and subcommittee members the opportunity to debate changes to the bills, to block outside experts from providing input and to prevent the public from getting a full view of their actions.

The Honorable Fred Upton
House Energy and Commerce Committee
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Joe Pitts
House and Energy Commerce Committee
Subcommittee on Health
2125 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chairmen:

I am writing today to express great disappointment in your plans to move legislation through the House Energy and Commerce Full Committee without following regular order.

Under regular order, the Committee begins consideration of a bill with a legislative hearing in Subcommittee, followed by a Subcommittee markup, before the bill comes before the full Committee. This allows the Subcommittees Members, who have expertise on the relevant subject matter, to solicit and synthesize the views of outside experts as well as the individuals and entities affected by the bill, and thoroughly analyze the relevant policy issues. This Subcommittee process should play a critical role in the Committee's effort to make its best recommendations on a measure to the full House of Representatives.

Unfortunately, you have indicated that next week you intend to move H.R. 5, the Help Efficient, Accessible, Low-cost, and Timely Healthcare (HEALTH) Act of 2011, a controversial, historically partisan bill that transforms the medical malpractice system, directly to a full committee markup. While the Health Subcommittee was able to weigh in during its hearing, it's important that Members are given the opportunity to amend that bill at both Subcommittee and full Committee.

In addition, you also have said you intend to mark up H.R. 1683, a bill to repeal the Maintenance of Effort Medicaid provisions of the Affordable Care Act, without a legislative hearing. This bill could have devastating effects on low-income women, children and the disabled, and it is imperative that we hear from stakeholders who represent these populations before moving forward on any potential legislation. Simply hearing from State Governors does not satisfy this requirement.

Because both bills have broad implications for a range of constituencies we serve as Members of Congress, I urge you to reconsider your timetable for these bills and use the Subcommittee process moving forward.

Sincerely,

Frank Pallone, Jr.
Ranking Member
Subcommittee on Health
House Energy and Commerce Committee


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