Morgan Griffith: Priorities for the new Congress
On Jan. 20, Joe Biden will be sworn in as president of the United States. I will attend his inauguration, which I consider one of my duties as a Member of Congress.
I also consider it my duty to conduct rigorous oversight of any Administration to ensure it upholds the Constitution and carries out the laws we enact.
Earlier this year, I was sworn in for a new term. I am honored to represent you for another term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The new Congress presents a chance to renew my work on priorities for the constituents of Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District.
Improving access to and lowering costs of health care remain among the topmost items on my agenda. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic obviously poses the most significant challenge in the health care space. Monitoring the rollout of new vaccines and therapeutics are a task for this phase of the pandemic, but this same task also points forward to a health care agenda beyond the pandemic.
The development of multiple safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines in Operation Warp Speed was a landmark accomplishment. It came about through a partnership between the Federal Government, private sector, and scientific institutions. Likewise, policies of the Federal Government must be geared toward promoting the development of new cures and treatments for other diseases and medical conditions through cooperation of these various sectors.
At the same time, the high cost of prescription drugs has long been a problem borne by Ninth District residents and a top concern. I have worked throughout my time in the House of Representatives on commonsense measures with bipartisan backing to address this problem.
In the last Congress, the bill passed by House Democrats pursued a different path, purporting to make drug prices affordable but only by a socialistic-style price control scheme that would have stifled innovation and new cures. That bill went nowhere. In this Congress, we have the chance to return to the bipartisan path that addresses costs without sacrificing development of new drugs and treatments.
Before the pandemic, I championed telehealth as a way to provide access to health care to more people, especially in rural and isolated areas such as those found in the Ninth District. The pandemic has increased the use of telehealth and shown just how valuable it can be. I will continue to advocate policies that encourage the use of telehealth to care for patients.
For telehealth to work at its best, communities need reliable internet access. Such access also enables economic growth, educational opportunities, and higher quality of life for residents.
I have supported legislative and regulatory measures that encourage the building out of broadband networks and promote other creative solutions, such as use of TV white spaces and satellite technology, to bring better service to more people. The work of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) under outgoing Chairman Ajit Pai has been very beneficial in this effort. I will encourage the FCC to continue its efforts to close the digital divide as well as work on legislation in the halls of Congress.
Job creation and economic growth are essential so constituents of the Ninth District can support themselves and their families, communities can attract new residents, and local jurisdictions can fund their services. In Congress, support for this effort means calling for the right tax and regulatory policies that lead to investment, hiring, and wage growth.
I have introduced legislation on a regulatory change that I believe would support efficiency and productivity in manufacturing. The current New Source Review (NSR) program, meant to prevent pollution emissions from industrial facilities, actually discourages these facilities from making upgrades that would ultimately lead to lower emissions. My bill would reform these counterproductive rules so manufacturers and others can make pollution-reducing upgrades to their facilities without running afoul of the Environmental Protection Agency.
The new Congress and Administration may look different, but my objective in the House of Representatives remains the same: to be a voice for the liberties, priorities, and needs of the people of Virginia’s Ninth Congressional District.
If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. 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. Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.
Morgan Griffith represents the Ninth District of Virginia in the U.S. House of Representatives.