House Majority Leader Weekly Guidance
Last week we were all reminded how quickly life can change. Christopher Foley was a 28-year-old father of one who was killed in the train accident on the way to Greenbrier. His colleagues have started a GoFundMe for his family.
6,500 PILLS PER PERSON
Starting in May 2017, the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations began investigating AmerisourceBergen Corporation, CardinalHealth, McKesson Corporation, and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
Most recently, the investigation looked into how a town of 3,200 people received 21 million pain pills over the past decade, totaling 6,500 pills per resident. The pill dumping in Williamson, West Virginia helped fuel the growing opioid epidemic.
Late last week the committee sent a follow-up letter to distributor Miami-Luken, and probed a fifth distributor, H.D. Smith. The letters asked for explanations why the companies increased painkiller shipments and didn’t flag suspicious drug orders from pharmacies while overdose deaths continued to climb in West Virginia.
IMPROVING MINE SAFETY
As President Trump highlighted during his State of the Union speech, “We have ended the war on American Energy and we have ended the war on beautiful clean coal. We are now an exporter of energy to the world.”
This week, the Education and Workforce Committee will hold a hearing on mine safety, continuing its work to ensure the vibrancy of America's energy industry. Mining remains a critical industry for growth, innovation, and job creation, and this oversight improves the safety of the workers and work environment. In 2017, there were 319,465 miners employed and 13,015 mines in the United States (MSHA Stats).
PRETTY SWEET “CRUMBS”
America’s comeback continues in 2018:
Hostess Brand, Inc. will give its employees one-time bonuses of $1,250, including $750 in cash and a $500 contribution to 401(k) accounts thanks to tax reform. It will also provide a year of free snacks to its employees.
Haim Saban’s Haim Capital Group is giving each of its employees a $1,000 bonus. Bonus fact: Haim Saban created the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
UPS announced that it will make more than $12 billion in investments to their company and increase pension funding.
Lowe’s is giving more than 260,000 hourly employees bonuses of up to $1,000.
Starting May 1, Lowe’s will expand benefit packages including adoption assistance, 10 weeks of paid maternity leave, two weeks of paid parental leave, and faster eligibility for health benefits.
Cigna is increasing its minimum wage to $16 an hour and plans to add $30 million to its 401(k) program, benefitting the retirement accounts of over 300,000 employees.
All of this while Minority Leader Pelosi has doubled down on her “crumbs” comments. Maybe she forgot in 2011 when she thought $40 would make a big difference.
SUPPORTING THE AMERICA DREAM
No one understands a community’s financial needs more than a local bank. Dodd-Frank’s one-size-fits-all approach to banking regulations have crushed small and local financial institutions and limited access for low and moderate-income American and minorities to qualify for a mortgage.
On Wednesday, the House will work to fix that problem and give Americans more access to qualified mortgages. A qualified mortgage contains features that help make it more likely that a borrower will be able to afford their mortgage.
The Mortgage Choice Act of 2017 (H.R. 1153), is a bipartisan bill that provides clarity on the points and fees necessary to become a qualified mortgage, increasing the choice for low and moderate-income borrowers and first-time homebuyers. This legislation preserves consumer choice and helps our fellow Americans achieve the dream of becoming homeowners.
A STRONG GLOBAL DEFENSE
Strengthening our alliances is crucial to protecting America and countries across the global. On Monday, the House will vote to help do that:
The Ukraine Cybersecurity Cooperation Act of 2017 (H.R. 1997) strengthens the cybersecurity relationship between the United States and Ukraine and requires a report from the secretary of state 180 days after this bill is enacted. The report will outline new areas for collaboration and cooperation with regional partners and organizations to address shared cyber challenges.
Committee work: On Tuesday the Foreign Affairs Committee is holding a hearing, U.S. Cyber Diplomacy in an Era of Growing Threats. Chairman Royce on the hearing, “This hearing will explore foreign threats to the internet and the important role diplomacy plays in addressing them.”
Committee activity for the week of February 5 can be found here.