News from Representative DeGette

       

Dear Friend,

I spent much of the week pushing back on the bad governance of the GOP Congress and shining a spotlight on the questionable ethics of the Trump administration. But there was also some important progress on a number of policy objectives.

As a member of Congress, it’s my duty to hold fellow public servants accountable when they break the public trust, which Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has done time and again. On Thursday, I called him out on it at a hearing of the Environment Subcommittee. I made Administrator Pruitt answer for his growing list of ethical lapses spanning decades, questioning him about EPA’s illegal purchase of a $43,000 soundproof booth for his office and a suspicious real estate deal he made while in the Oklahoma legislature. True to form,  Mr. Pruitt worked to dodge these questions, but I wouldn’t let him get away with it. To protect the integrity of this vital agency and its mission, I will continue calling for him to step down or be fired.

The GOP leadership of the Energy and Commerce Committee tried mightily to let Scott Pruitt off the hook. If only they’d been putting that kind of energy into fighting the opioid epidemic all this time, our country would have made more progress. After months of inaction, on Wednesday, the Health Subcommittee considered more than 60 opioid-related bills. While taking action is critical, committee Republicans’ slow response to addressing the crisis won’t be remedied by hastily advancing a slew of bills, half of which hadn’t even been introduced. 21st Century Cures, my biomedical research bill, was thoroughly drafted and debated with bipartisan input from colleagues and stakeholders, resulting in good policy that is yielding results. Congress must take the same approach in our fight against these dangerous drugs.

Also this week, my Congressional Diabetes Caucus co-chair, Congressman Tom Reed (R-NY), and I shared valuable information we received in our ongoing bipartisan inquiry into rising insulin prices. Last November, we sent out an official Request for Information to stakeholders asking whether value-based contracting, a system that sets the cost of a drug based on its efficacy, could be applied to insulin. The respondents shared important insight that will guide us as we continue our efforts to craft solutions that provide much-needed relief for the millions of Americans living with diabetes. Read the key findings here 

There were signs of progress in other efforts to strengthen public health. On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration announced a crackdown on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors, but the agency shouldn’t stop there: It should also ban flavored e-cigarettes. Tobacco has serious health consequences, especially for young people who are more susceptible to addiction. Flavored e-cigarettes have proven especially popular with young people, so I’ve been circulating a letter to my congressional colleagues that will urge the agency to ban these products. I’m also working to pass my Tobacco to 21 Act (H.R. 4273), which prohibits the sale or distribution of all tobacco products to people under age 21. We can’t let Big Tobacco jeopardize the health of our kids any longer.

In other good news, the House of Representatives passed my legislation giving airports greater ability to develop their non-federal property, as long as it doesn't hinder the Federal Aviation Administration’s efforts to operate them safely and efficiently. Removing this red tape helps airports such as Denver International Airport raise revenue, improve infrastructure and create jobs.

As the week began, I was delighted to announce the winners of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition, which was held at the Denver Art Society. I’m proud of all of the students in our community who participated in this annual event. Check out the submission below, “Dog on Film” by Elisa Lobatos of Abraham Lincoln High School. It was awarded the Best in Show and will be displayed in the halls of the U.S. Capitol. Congratulations to all of the participants. You continue to strengthen our community’s reputation as a haven for art, creativity and self-expression.

And I’d like to remind you about another local event happening soon. On Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m. MT, I’ll be hosting a live telephone town hall to provide my constituents with an update on the many important things happening in Congress and to hear from them. To participate, sign up here. You’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the call. I’m looking forward to a great discussion.

As always, you can visit my website, where you can read my positions on issues and learn about the different ways my staff can assist you. While you’re there, be sure to visit the “Contact” page and send me an email about what matters most to you and your family. Finally, be sure to share this email with your friends, family, and neighbors so that they too can be a part of this important dialogue.

Sincerely,

Diana DeGette
Member of Congress

 

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