Just a few days ago, my colleagues honored me with a reappointment to my second term as Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. When I took on this role two years ago, I committed my chairmanship to cutting spending and exacting tough oversight with a focus on transparency, teamwork, and outreach. Two years later, I am pleased to report that the Appropriations Committee has saved American taxpayers almost $100 billion and the process has never been more open. I look forward to continuing this important work, making the necessary strides to get the nation's finances on track, reducing unnecessary government spending, and investing in important programs that will benefit the nation both now and in the future.
On the minds of most Americans is the pending "fiscal cliff." As you know, unless Congress and the White House are able to come to an agreement within the next month, the American people will face massive, poorly targeted spending cuts and a huge tax increase on working families and small businesses starting on January 1, 2013. Failure to reach an agreement will have devastating consequences for our economy, American investment and the availability of capital. Our ability as a nation to create jobs will suffer. Although we face a tough road ahead in this next month and much work remains, I'm joining likeminded Members of Congress in pushing for serious reforms that will turn our nation around. Click here to take this month's survey on the "fiscal cliff."
Our nation also faces another year-end deadline with deadly consequences - the expiration of patents on the original formulas of highly addictive prescription pain pills like OxyContin. Starting in early 2013, generic versions of early OxyContin are slated to come to market in the U.S. in a low-cost, crushable formula. If the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not take action to prevent these generics from coming back to our pharmacy shelves, there could be potentially disastrous consequences for our law enforcement and health communities. These crushable pills will threaten the progress we've already made in our fight against the scourge of prescription drug abuse. I have pleaded with the FDA to keep these drugs off the market and pushed drug companies to develop life-saving tamper-resistant drugs -- but the clock is ticking. This health crisis has a partial solution, but failure to intervene by FDA will mean it has failed its basic mission. Just last week, The Hill blog published my opinion editorial urging the FDA to take action on this vital matter. I will continue to press our federal partners to take seriously the rampant abuse of prescription drugs.