“Our agenda promotes free markets, free speech, and the individual freedoms that this country was founded on.”

McMorris Rodgers Lays Out Priorities as Incoming Chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee

WASHINGTON, DC – The Ripon Society held a breakfast discussion yesterday morning with U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA-5), who discussed taking over as Chair of the Energy & Commerce Committee in the 118th Congress and some of the key issues she expects the panel to address in the coming year.

“I’m very excited to be getting the gavel of the Energy and Commerce Committee,” stated McMorris Rodgers, who will become the first woman to chair the Committee in the panel’s 227-year history. “It’s an extraordinary committee with an extraordinary history. It attracts some of the best members on Capitol Hill from both sides of the aisle who really want to legislate.”

McMorris Rodgers was first elected to the House in 2004.  A mother of three and former Minority Leader in the Washington State House of Representatives, she has quietly but confidently climbed the leadership ranks during her time in Congress, having previously served as Chair of the Republican Conference, the third highest leadership position in the House.  In her remarks yesterday, she laid out some of the ideas and principles that will guide her leadership of the E&C Committee.

“Our agenda promotes free markets, free speech, and the individual freedoms that this country was founded on,” she stated. “These are the principles and ideas that have done more to lift people out of poverty and raise the standard of living than any other nation in the history of the world.”

The Washington State lawmaker also highlighted some of the priorities that she expects to be on the Committee’s agenda in 2023.

“The United States of America has led in reducing carbon emissions while promoting innovation by utilizing America’s abundant, clean, reliable, and affordable energy,” she said.  “Republicans on Energy and Commerce will be leading with solutions that build on this legacy by lowering cost and emissions across the country. That includes solutions to make our infrastructure and electricity grid more resilient, and unleashing innovation for cleaner natural gas, emissions-free hydropower, nuclear power, and carbon capture technologies.”

That also includes, McMorris Rodgers stated, making sure Congress watches out for U.S. interests abroad.

“To ensure American leadership,” she observed, “we need to secure our supply chains. The Covid 19 pandemic highlighted how dangerously dependent we had become on other countries — especially China — for critical supplies. We’re vulnerable and we’re still feeling the effects of that today.”

“If we’re going to lead on next generation technologies, we need to ensure that America has access to essential minerals. This will inevitably require that we lift the regulatory burden and the permitting barriers that are hampering American industries. Whether we’re talking about American energy, healthcare, broadband, or securing our supply chains, burdensome regulations are a damper on entrepreneurs and businesses. They’re increasing the cost, the time, and the uncertainty for funding and deploying these innovative technologies.”

“They’re probably the number one barrier to doing anything in the United States … We’re going to be ready on Day One to lift these burdens and be good stewards of the environment, while also unleashing America’s full economic potential.”

The incoming E&C Chair also touched on another priority for the Committee next year – health care.

“Republicans will prioritize solutions that lead to more treatments and cures,” she stated, “not fewer, like what we saw included in the IRA (Inflation Reduction Act), the government price controls for prescription drugs. Our committee will conduct vigorous oversight of the Administration as it begins to implement the law. And we can do all of this and mitigate the impact on innovation and new drugs.

“We’re going to prioritize price transparency within healthcare, which I believe is a key to restoring that doctor-patient relationship and also giving patients peace of mind. We’re going to be working to prepare for the next pandemic and to address the growing mental health and substance abuse disorders plaguing our nation. We’re also going to be pushing to make fentanyl-related substances permanently scheduled as a Schedule 1.

“Last year, more than 70,000 individuals in the United States of America overdosed and many died of illicit fentanyl or fentanyl analog poisoning. That’s nearly 200 a day.  We must empower our law enforcement to crack down on the scourge of these dangerous drugs coming across the border.”

McMorris Rodgers concluded her remarks by returning once more to the importance of principles and the vision that will guide the Energy & Commerce Committee in the coming year.

“American leadership matters,” she declared.  “Over the last century, it’s been the United States of America that has led the world in technological and medical innovations. It’s been the United States of America that has led the world in increasing the standard of living. It’s been the United States of America that has led in reducing carbon emissions.  It has been the United States of America that is a beacon of hope, prosperity, and freedom to the world.

“The next Congress will be an opportunity to remind people that America is a force for good, has been a force for good, and will continue to be a force for good.”

The Ripon Society is a public policy organization that was founded in 1962 and takes its name from the town where the Republican Party was born in 1854 – Ripon, Wisconsin. One of the main goals of The Ripon Society is to promote the ideas and principles that have made America great and contributed to the GOP’s success. These ideas include keeping our nation secure, keeping taxes low and having a federal government that is smaller, smarter and more accountable to the people.