|Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 10.20.14
Monday, October 20, 2014 â€“
46 and 387
In an October 2 speech, President Obama asserted, â€śBy every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.â€ť The President may think everything is okay, but I donâ€™t. And when I talk to constituents, they donâ€™t think everything is okay either. Too many are unemployed or underemployed, have only part-time jobs when they want full-time work, or have dropped out of the workplace entirely. Too many people are seeing their income and wages reduced.
46 jobs bills (solutions) that would encourage more employment have passed the United States House and are stuck in Senator Harry Reidâ€™s (D-NV) do-nothing Senate.
When the President and others say Congress doesnâ€™t do anything, I would remind them that the House has sent 46 pro-job bills to the do-nothing Senate.
I am not only concerned about what is taking place with our economy, but also what is happening with our countryâ€™s energy sector, what is happening with our constitutionally protected rights, and what is happening with our health care system, among other issues. Some ask the question: what are you doing about it? Well, there are in fact, 387 House-passed bills (solutions) dealing with these and other issues that are gathering dust on Senator Reidâ€™s desk. The Senate isnâ€™t acting on our proposed solutions. Further, they arenâ€™t making reasonable proposals of their own.
In the words of an old Wendyâ€™s restaurant commercial, â€śWhere is the beef?â€ť Unfortunately, the only â€śbeefâ€ť in the Senate is in the fancy steak dinners some Senators eat while not passing bills.
Ebola, EV-D68, and the 21st Century Cures Initiative
Similarly, the Administration and the Democrat Senate need to work with House Republicans to come up with solutions dealing with health care issues. While the President will never agree that his health care plan known as Obamacare is a failure, there are other areas where I hope he will see that we can work together to develop a strategy to assure the American people that they are being protected from diseases.
That strategy should include reasonable travel restrictions. It should include actions to secure our nationâ€™s porous borders. It should include the additional training of health care workers and other personnel to properly identify and treat Ebola, etc. And it should include the accelerated review and approval of vaccines and cures to stop the spread of disease.
I would encourage the Administration, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other agencies to also pursue the expedited review and approval of treatments for Enterovirus D68. Also known as EV-D68, this is a respiratory illness that has been linked to the deaths of several children and to paralysis symptoms in dozens. Currently, there are no specific treatments, antiviral medications, or immunizations for this virus.
The 21st Century Cures initiative - launched in May by Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO) as a bipartisan effort of my Committee, the House Energy and Commerce Committee - will play a significant role in expediting the development of new drugs and treatments for diseases like Ebola and EV-D68.
Through this initiative, we are inviting medical experts and patient advocates to hearings in Washington and roundtable discussions throughout the nation to share with us their perspective on how to best accelerate the pace of cures. I have attended the 21st Century Cures hearings in Washington, and I am holding a regional 21st Century Cures roundtable discussion in Blacksburg with Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. (R-TN) and a number of medical experts. Discussions at the roundtable include the Food and Drug Administrationâ€™s Drug Approval Process, clinical trials, telemedicine, mobile health apps, and more.
The collaborative 21st Century Cures effort is about saving more lives, keeping this country the leader in medical innovation, and accelerating the discovery, development, and delivery cycle of new cures and treatments for diseases including Ebola and EV-D68. I look forward to a continued insightful and productive conversation on these issues.
Medicare Open Enrollment
As a reminder for all our seniors, the Medicare open enrollment period began last week and runs through December 7, 2014. For more information, you can visit www.medicare.gov or call 1-800-MEDICARE.
Upcoming Veterans Town Hall in Salem
To those veterans living in the area serviced by the Salem Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC), please be advised that there is a veterans town hall/listening session scheduled for November 10, 2014 from 3:00pm-4:00pm at the Salem VAMC Auditorium in Building 5. With questions or to confirm this event is still in effect, please contact Salem VAMC Customer Service Manager Ann Benois at 540-982-2463 ext. 3554 or Public Affairs Officer Marian McConnell at 540-855-3460.
On a Personal Noteâ€¦
We send our weekly column to every newspaper we know of in the district. Some newspapers print the column, some do not. If you live in an area where the newspaper does not carry our column, please remind friends and family they can sign up at www.morgangriffith.house.gov to receive it from us by email.
As always, if you have concerns or comments or wish to inquire about legislative issues, feel free to contact my offices. You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at www.morgangriffith.house.gov.