Washington, D.C. — Eastern Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-05) delivered remarks at today’s House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee legislative hearing on public health bills to support patients and research integrity.
Cathy’s remarks as prepared for delivery:
HOLDING CHINA ACCOUNTABLE
“We are discussing today about the threat to biomedical research posed by our adversaries and examining a few steps we could take to address those threats.
“In the last few years there have been numerous reports of FBI investigations into researchers taking U.S taxpayer supported intellectual property to China, not disclosing foreign connections, or tampering with the peer review process.
“Republicans are leading to try to address those issues and hold China accountable.
“Mr. Curtis’s bill H.R. 5442, the Fix Nondisclosure of Influence in Health Research Act, which requires HHS to report on how they address noncompliance with disclosure requirements or research misconduct related to foreign influence.
“Mr. Hudson’s H.R. 6305, the Protect America’s Biomedical Research Enterprise Act, requires the administration to identify ways to improve intellectual property protection and develop strategies to prevent national security threats in biomedical research.
“Mr. Bilirakis’s H.R. 5478, the Protecting the Integrity of our Biomedical Research Act, requires National Institutes of Health (NIH) grantees to disclose their participation in foreign talent programs.
“These are critical to protecting our national security.
“They also compliment work done in the ARPA-H Act related to research security, which just passed the House, to stop the CCP’s influence in our biomedical research.
“If we don’t do a better job of safeguarding our research, both America’s national security and our global leadership will be more at risk.
“The pandemic has only made the need for action more urgent, and I thank my Republican colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee for solutions to hold NIH and Heath and Human Services (HHS) accountable for their responsibilities to protect national security.”
“In addition to provisions related to research integrity, there are a number of other NIH related bills we’re considering today.
“I have not been shy about my concerns with NIH. Their lack of accountability and response to Congressional oversight is appalling. Their authorization has expired. There is no permanent director.
“I think we need to have NIH testify and do more oversight of how NIH is functioning as a whole before providing new authorizations of funding for NIH. I have spoken to the Chair of the Subcommittee about that and hope we can work in a bipartisan way to reform NIH and rebuild trust that the NIH has broken with the American people.”
RURAL HEALTH CARE
“In addition to NIH, we will also be considering solutions that increase access to health care services in underserved and rural communities – like my district.
“Mr. Pence’s Rural Telehealth Access Task Force Act will help identify barriers to telehealth services in rural areas, so we can better understand how to make telehealth more widely available.
“We are also considering the MOBILE Health Care Act, which allows community health centers to use their funding to purchase mobile health clinics as well as conduct facility renovations and construction projects.
“I understand the need for increased access to health services and appreciate how helpful mobile units have proven to be in rural areas. However, I do want to note that I am concerned about permanently allowing funds to be used for construction, instead of health care delivery.
“Community Health Centers are an integral part of the health care safety net and have received almost $38 billion over the last 5 years – this includes supplemental funding provided during the public health emergency. I am hopeful that we can come to a consensus on this legislation and work together to conduct oversight in advance of the funding expiring next year.”
“I wanted to thank our witnesses for testifying. A special thanks goes out to Desiree Sweeney, CEO of NEW Health in my district in Colville, Washington– it’s great to have you here today.
“I also want to emphasize the importance of oversight and topical hearings before legislating, including having federal agencies come before this committee to comment, discuss programs, and other related health initiatives. That should have happened today.”