Weekly Update: Opioid Epidemic Hearing, Midnight Regulations Review Act, Cybersecurity Investigation
This week, under threat of subpoena, members of the Sackler family, owners of Purdue Pharma (the creator of OxyContin), testified before the Oversight Committee at a hearing examining their and Purdue Pharma’s role in fueling the opioid epidemic. I also introduced the Midnight Regulations Review Act and launched an investigation with the Homeland Security Committee into the cyberattack on federal systems. More on these and other updates below.
COVID By the Numbers
Confirmed Cases: 17,206,647
New York State
Confirmed Cases: 815,468
Total Tested: 22,680,046
Testing Positivity: 3.60%
New York City – Last 7 Days
Total Cases: 22,327
Confirmed Deaths: 165
Oversight Hearing with Perdue Pharma and the Sacklers
Yesterday, I chaired an Oversight Committee hearing to examine the role of Purdue Pharma and members of the Sackler family in fueling the nationwide opioid epidemic for decades by pushing Purdue executives to flood the market with the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin.
As I said at the end of the hearing, the Sacklers have played a critical, active role in sparking and fueling the opioid epidemic. They approved and monitored dangerous marketing plans, directed sales representatives to focus on the highest-volume prescribers and the strongest versions of OxyContin, and targeted vulnerable populations with misleading messages.
Now, they have the ability to mitigate at least some of the damage they caused. They must stop hiding and offshoring their assets, stop nickel and diming the negotiators, make a massive financial contribution that leaves no doubt about their commitment, and finally acknowledge their wrongdoing. The families whose lives they and this drug have ruined deserve at least that much.
You can watch the full hearing here.
Investigation into Cyberattack on Federal Government Systems
On Thursday, Bennie G. Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, and I launched an investigation into the widespread cyberattack that has affected multiple federal departments and agencies.
In our letter to Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, and Mr. Chad Wolf of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), we asked for the latest information on the number of federal departments, agencies, and other entities affected by the breach, the extent to which sensitive information and data—including classified information—may have been compromised or exposed, the threat actor or actors responsible, and the Administration’s ongoing efforts to prevent further damage, secure its computer networks, and hold those responsible accountable.
Read more here.
H.R. 8956: Midnight Regulations Review Act
On Tuesday, I joined with Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Government Operations, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy, and Committee Member Rep. Jackie Speier to introduce the Midnight Regulations Review Act (H.R. 8956), legislation that will provide oversight of midnight regulations enacted during the presidential transition period.
The recent actions of the Trump Administration have shown us firsthand how outgoing administrations can take advantage of midnight rulemaking for partisan, political gain. Presidential transitions demand rigorous oversight, and midnight rulemaking is no exception.
Read more about the bill here.
Requesting a Briefing on Executive Order Canceling Diversity, Anti-Racism Training
On Tuesday, I was joined by Oversight Committee Subcommittee Chairs and members in demanding that Director Russell Vought, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), provide a member briefing and documents by December 22 about the Trump Administration’s cancellation of diversity and anti-racism training in the federal government and organizations that receive federal funds.
On September 29, 2020, we requested documents and information on this matter. Rather than provide the requested materials, OMB’s November 9 reply misleadingly claimed that the Executive Order “only seeks to curb trainings that ‘perpetuate racial stereotypes and division.’” OMB also wrote that if a training does not teach “divisive concepts,” then “that particular training would not be impacted by the Executive Order and may continue.”
You can read the letter to Director Vought here.
The Trump Administration’s Discriminatory Rule on Federal Contractors
Last week, the Trump Administration finalized a regulation allowing federal contractors to discriminate against minorities, women and LGBTQ Americans – undermining and severely weaking the civil rights laws that were enacted to protect our most vulnerable citizens.
As we continue to battle the coronavirus pandemic that is claiming thousands of lives a day, this new regulation could potentially destroy the health, safety and financial wellbeing of millions of Americans at the most critical time. I will continue to work with House leadership and the new Biden-Harris Administration to ensure this order is reversed to protect the rights of all Americans.
International Prevention and Treatment of Obstetric Fistula
This week, I reintroduced The Obstetric Fistula Prevention, Treatment, Hope and Dignity Restoration Act, legislation that would assist the estimated two million women worldwide suffering from obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula is a preventable and treatable condition resulting from prolonged labor in the absence of skilled medical assistance.
More than two million women worldwide suffer with obstetric fistula. Beyond the physical and psychological effects of this condition and the stillbirths that commonly result, mothers with fistulas are often ostracized by their families. The United Sates can and must take a leading role in the effort to eradicate obstetric fistula so that no other woman suffers from this preventable condition.
Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has taken steps to callously restrict access to healthcare for women and children around the world, putting them unnecessarily at risk. Under the leadership of the incoming Biden-Harris Administration, we must act immediately to reverse these harms. We must repeal the global gag rule and restore funding to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). UNFPA provides maternal care for women living in regions plagued by conflict or disaster and is a major partner in the fight against obstetric fistula, and we need to do our part to fund their efforts. Lives are depending on it.
Rwandan President Must Release Paul Rusesabagina
This week, I wrote to President Paul Kagame of the Republic of Rwanda requesting the immediate release and safe return of Paul Rusesabagina, known for hiding and saving 1,268 refugees as a hotel manager during the 1994 Rwandan genocide. I urged the Rwandan President to return Mr. Rusesabagina, a United States Legal Permanent Resident and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, to the United States to be reunited with his family.
Read my full letter to President Kagame here.
Supreme Court Census Ruling
Today, the Supreme Court ruled to dismiss a challenge to the Trump Administration’s plan to exclude undocumented immigrants from the U.S. Census. In this decision, the Court reaffirmed that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must take an “actual enumeration” of every person in the United States. Unfortunately, the Supreme Court did not address whether President Trump may or may not exclude undocumented immigrants from the Census count, but instead found that the Trump Administration’s actions are so speculative and unclear that the Court simply cannot rule at this time. This lack of information about the Census is a problem of Secretary Ross’s own making—and it applies not only to the Trump Administration’s plans for undocumented immigrants, but also to the accuracy, completeness, and timing of the entire Census itself.
Secretary Ross continues to withhold documents from the Oversight Committee about critical problems and delays that affect all 50 states and jeopardize the accurate and complete enumeration that is required by the Constitution. I expect a full response to the subpoena I issued to Sec. Ross on December 10 by this coming Monday.
As always, your concerns still and always remain my top priority. Please do not hesitate to email me through my website.
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