News briefs from Congressman Francis Rooney

Congressman Francis Rooney introduces bill reinforcing requirements that drug companies include prices in TV ads

Congressman Francis Rooney introduced legislation that would codify the recent Department of Health and Human Services finalized rule that would require prescription drug companies to include list prices in television ads.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Prescription drug prices have skyrocketed over the last decade and many Americans can’t afford the medications they need. Last year, pharmaceutical companies spent $3.7 billion marketing prescription drugs and therapies through television advertisements, and many of these advertised medications cost several hundred dollars per month or more.

“Americans deserve to know upfront how much these medications cost. Many drug companies have already started the process of complying with this new rule. If drug companies have something to hide, this will help hold them accountable. By increasing transparency and including these prices in tv ads, we can create a market-based solution to lower prescription drug prices.”

This legislation would codify a rule proposed by the Trump Administration requiring pharmaceutical companies to include the list price of prescription drugs covered by Medicare and Medicaid that cost at least $35 for a 30-day supply or the usual course of therapy in television advertisements. The new rule will take effect on July 9.

House Natural Resources Committee passes Congressman Rooney’s offshore drilling ban

Today, the House Natural Resources Committee held a markup on the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act, Congressman Rooney’s proposal to ban offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. The bill passed out of the Committee by a vote of 24-12 (22 Democrats and 2 Republicans voting in favor).

Congressman Rooney stated, “Water quality impacts all of Florida’s residents and visitors. Drilling in this area would negatively affect our environment, tourism, and military readiness. I want to ensure that all areas east of the Military Mission Line in the Gulf of Mexico are permanently protected from offshore oil drilling. In 2022, the moratorium on drilling and exploration will expire unless Congress acts.

“I thank Chairman Grijalva and the Committee for taking up this legislation. Making the moratorium permanent is critical for Florida and for our military preparedness.”

The Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act can now be brought to the House floor for a vote from the entire House of Representatives.

Background:

  • The Eastern Gulf of Mexico hosts the Gulf Test Range, a 120,000 square mile range that stretches from the Florida panhandle to the Keys. The vast size allows the testing of hypersonic weapons, combat maneuvers training, drone testing, and untold future operations of weapons and platforms that will not only need space for testing, but also restricted access areas for classified operations.

Rooney votes no on irresponsible House appropriations bill that drastically exceeds budget caps

Congressman Francis Rooney voted against a bloated appropriations bill, H.R. 2740, the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, Legislative Branch, Defense, State, Foreign Operations, and Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, 2020.

Congressman Rooney stated, “This appropriations package contains nearly $1 trillion in discretionary spending and is $176 billion above current spending caps. Even with all this excessive spending, democrats inserted language to explicitly prohibit any funding for securing our southern border – which seems to be the only area where they have found a passion for spending constraints. Congress has a responsibility to address its spending addiction in a serious manner, not by playing politics with border security. Equally as bad, the legislation is openly hostile to those of us that believe in the sanctity of life.”

Specifically, this appropriations package:

  • Prohibits funding for a border wall or barriers of any type
  • Forces the Administration to provide grants to Planned Parenthood clinics
  • Prohibits implementation of the Administration’s expanded Mexico City policy
  • Provides $100 Million for flawed Obamacare Navigator grants

Congressman Francis Rooney announces FEMA grants of $5 million to Sanibel, Fort Myers, and Bonita Springs for Hurricane Irma Recovery

Congressman Francis Rooney made the following statement thanking FEMA for awarding grants to the cities of Sanibel, Fort Myers, and Bonita Springs for debris removal as a result of Hurricane Irma.

“I applaud FEMA for providing our communities much needed relief for Hurricane Irma cleanup efforts. In the aftermath of tropical storms and hurricanes, cities must provide immediate response for debris removal, which frequently totals millions of dollars. I am thankful that FEMA has awarded these grants to help our cities recover financially from this hurricane. It is important that the federal government does its part in the process of responding to natural disasters.

The grant awards per city, as released by FEMA, are listed below.

  •  City of Sanibel $2,480,511.91
  •  City of Fort Myers $1,152,054.25
  •  City of Bonita Springs $1,351,118.28

Funding is authorized under Section 428 of the Robert T. Stafford Act.

Congressman Francis Rooney introduces bill to continue NOAA monitoring of Harmful Algal Blooms – Even during government shutdowns

Congressman Francis Rooney introduced a bipartisan bill with Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur to require the National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS), which monitor waters for Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) to continue forecasting and monitoring, even during a government shutdown.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Over the last several years, Southwest Florida and the rest of the United States have been plagued by severe outbreaks of red tide. The most recent outbreak in the Gulf of Mexico lasted 16 months and generated over 2000 tons of dead sea life. In the midst of this outbreak, government shutdowns prevented NOAA’s satellites from monitoring red tide and publishing forecasts across the nation.”

“Especially due to the adverse implications that red tide causes for human health, I introduced this bipartisan legislation to make sure NCCOS continues forecasting and monitoring during a shutdown. Specifically, we must ensure that the information gathered is continually updated and available to local officials and the public.”

“The negative economic and environmental impact harmful algal blooms have on Lake Erie and coastal communities across the country cannot be overstated,” said Rep. Kaptur. “I look forward to supporting this legislation to reign in the spread of deadly algal blooms and thank Congressman Rooney for his leadership on this issue.”

This legislation requires that web services and server processing for the HAB Operational Forecasting System (HABOFS) continue monitoring and remain online during a government shutdown.

Rooney votes no on expanded subpoena power for Judiciary Committee – It’s time for Congress to govern instead of harassing the President

Congressman Francis Rooney voted against H. Res. 430, a resolution that would have expanded power of the House Judiciary Committee by allowing its members to pursue a civil lawsuit to enforce subpoenas issued to Attorney General Barr and former White House Counsel Donald McGahn and petitions for disclosure of grand jury information that is protected under federal law.

Congressman Rooney stated, “As of January 3rd, Congress had an approval rating of 18% – and with legislation such as this we can understand why.  While the House Judiciary Committee continues to pursue a collusion narrative that was proven false our borders remain unsecured, our immigration system remains broken, America’s infrastructure continues to crumble, and deficits continue to climb.  It is past time for Congress to get to work for the American people and stop its political grandstanding. The presidential election of 2016 has been decided – it is time to move on.”

  1. Res. 430 would also:
  • Res. 430 also allows House Committees other than Judiciary to initiate civil proceedings in federal court if approved by a Legal Advisory Group – a group of 5 lawmakers, 3 leaders from the Majority and 2 leaders from the Minority.  This is historically unprecedented.
  • It is important to note that President Trump enacted executive privilege with regard to releasing the full report, which would put Attorney General Barr in direct violation of the law if he chose to do so.

Congressman Rooney offers amendment to Appropriations bill to ban offshore drilling in Eastern Gulf of Mexico

Congressman Francis Rooney provided testimony to the House Rules Committee on the inclusion of his amendment to appropriations legislation that would prevent offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. Without additional legislation, the current moratorium would be lifted in 2022, leaving open the possibility of drilling just a few miles off Florida’s shores.

Congressman Rooney stated, “The Eastern Gulf is home to the Gulf Test Range, a 120,000 square mile range that stretches from the Florida panhandle to Key West. This unimpeded training and testing area is of critical importance to our military now and will become even more important in the future, as hypersonic and drone testing increase. Our military has no better location to carry out these exercises and there is no compelling reason to place drilling interests ahead of military necessities. The proximity to major military bases and its large scale make the Eastern Gulf of Mexico area a unique asset for national defense that cannot be replicated.

“Additionally, Florida’s tourism economy faces an existential threat from offshore drilling. Deepwater Horizon may be the most infamous recent Gulf oil spill but there are many other occurrences of leaks, some still happening, like the Taylor Energy spill, which has dumped over one million gallons of oil over fourteen years. The fact that there have been pipeline to well head leaks every few years by some of the industry’s best operators show that the environmental danger cannot be sufficiently eliminated to justify the risks more offshore drilling presents.

“In addition to the risks to our economy, we don’t need to take this risk to be energy secure anymore. The United States is now a net exporter of oil, meaning that current supply exceeds domestic demand.

“The economic, environmental, and national security case for extending the drilling moratorium is strong. We must act now to safeguard our Gulf and our way of life in Florida.”

Congressman Rooney is the sponsor of H.R. 205, the Protecting and Securing Florida’s Coastline Act. This simple bill makes the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico permanent.

Congressman Rooney to host first Congressional App Challenge in Florida’s 19th district

Congressman Rooney will be hosting the first Congressional App Challenge (CAC) in southwest Florida, an app competition for students in middle and high school.

The CAC was created because Congress recognized that STEM and computer-based skills are essential for economic growth and innovation, and that the U.S. has been falling behind on these fronts. By some estimates, the U.S. may be short by many as a million programmers by 2020. These are high-paying, high-demand jobs.

To maintain American competitiveness, it’s crucial that the United States invests in our youth now, and helps them acquire these valuable skills. The CAC encourages students to pursue those skills and recognizes them for their efforts.

Congressman Rooney stated, “This is my first time hosting a Congressional App Challenge in southwest Florida and it is great to see our students interested in learning how to code and furthering their knowledge in the computer science and STEM fields. I am encouraged to see our young people investing in the skills they can use to succeed in our transitioning economy, and I look forward to seeing the unique applications they create.”

The Challenge launches June 5th at 12pm. Students are encouraged to register online by September 10th before submitting their app by the final deadline of November 1st. The competition is open to all students who meet the eligibility requirements, regardless of coding experience.

The CAC accepts computer programs (or apps) written in any programming language (example: C, C++, JavaScript, Python, Ruby, “block code” etc.) and using any platform (PC, web, tablet, robot, mobile, etc.) Students must submit their final app to https://www.congressionalappchallenge.us

We strongly encourage students of all skill levels to participate, to learn how to create their own apps. Winners will be selected by panels of judges, drawn from the local community, and honored by their Member of Congress. Their apps are eligible to be featured on a display in the U.S. Capitol building, on house.gov, and on the Congressional App Challenge website.

For further information about the Congressional App Challenge, please visit Congressman Rooney’s website at https://francisrooney.house.gov/constituent-services/congressional-app-challenge.htm

 

Rooney votes no on DREAMER legislation that fails to fix broken immigration system or secure the border

Congressman Francis Rooney voted no on H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act” – politically motivated legislation that does nothing to address the crisis on our southern border or the issue of fixing our broken immigration system.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Once again, Congress is playing politics instead of addressing the very Today, Congressman Francis Rooney voted no on H.R. 6, the “American Dream and Promise Act” – politically motivated legislation that does nothing to address the crisis on our southern border or the issue of fixing our broken immigration system.

Congressman Rooney stated, “Once again, Congress is playing politics instead of addressing the very real immigration crisis facing our country. As I have repeatedly and consistently said, any proposals must begin with securing the border, as that is the only logical way to proceed. In the last two years there have been many proposals built around strengthening the southern border which all sides have supported conceptually, but partisan politics has gotten in the way of executing on any of them. Congress must provide a long-term solution that will fix both our border and our broken visa system, and I have worked hard to this end sponsoring or cosponsoring many bills that would accomplish these goals.

“Today’s proposed legislation is not humane or fair. It provides greater incentive for illegal border crossings and a disincentive for people to follow the law when coming to our country. Lawlessness should not be rewarded, and Congress should fully fund border security and pass meaningful fixes to our broken immigration system.”
real immigration crisis facing our country. As I have repeatedly and consistently said, any proposals must begin with securing the border, as that is the only logical way to proceed. In the last two years there have been many proposals built around strengthening the southern border which all sides have supported conceptually, but partisan politics has gotten in the way of executing on any of them. Congress must provide a long-term solution that will fix both our border and our broken visa system, and I have worked hard to this end sponsoring or cosponsoring many bills that would accomplish these goals.

“Today’s proposed legislation is not humane or fair. It provides greater incentive for illegal border crossings and a disincentive for people to follow the law when coming to our country. Lawlessness should not be rewarded, and Congress should fully fund border security and pass meaningful fixes to our broken immigration system.”

Rep. Rooney, Sen. Cruz Reintroduce Bill to Counter Chinese Espionage Efforts in American Universities

Today, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee reintroduced the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act (SHEET), a bill to counter Chinese espionage efforts and influence operations in American universities.

“Thirty years ago, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers mowed down protestors who had assembled in Tiananmen Square to demand freedom from the tyranny of Communism,” Sen. Cruz said. “That tyranny lives on today in forms as open as political violence and as insidious as mass ubiquitous surveillance. Today we remember the bravery of Chinese dissidents all around the world. We must stand with the brave men and women who continue to fight for liberty in China, both to honor the legacy of those who died in the fight and to elevate the cause of those who continue the battle today. As we remember their courage, the U.S. must remain steadfast in protecting our own people. The Communist Party is infiltrating American society to censor free speech and steal sensitive research. Groups like Confucius Institutes, China Student Scholars Association, and the Thousand Talents program threaten the integrity of our universities and research. We must counter these efforts, and I am proud to reintroduce the SHEET Act.”

Congressman Rooney stated, “We must stop foreign intelligence from using college exchange programs to steal technology, recruit agents and spread propaganda. Geopolitical adversaries, including China, are infiltrating our universities and stealing intellectual property. Centers like the Confucius Institutes, backed by the Chinese Communist Party, must be held accountable for their malign activities.”

Sen. Cruz has led a series of efforts against Chinese influence and espionage operations targeting American higher education, having secured a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 prohibiting the Department of Defense from funding Confucius Institutes used by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate American universities for influence and espionage operations.