Washington, DC – Bipartisan Energy and Commerce Committee leaders today held a press conference to provide an update on their ongoing investigation into alleged pill dumping in the state of West Virginia. The leaders spoke to continued stonewalling by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Department of Justice (DOJ), despite numerous requests for basic information.
“My colleagues and I are fed up with the DEA’s intransigence and withholding of information on what’s happening in West Virginia, which has national implications,” said DeGette, who is Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. “The DEA refuses to cooperate; the redacted documents they've just sent us are pitiful.”
“We worked with the DEA at every turn, believing that we could be partners in this effort. We should be partners in this effort. But to our surprise and dismay, DEA has all but stonewalled our investigation,” Committee Chairman Greg Walden (R-OR) said. “…We are done waiting for their cooperation.”
Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Gregg Harper (R-MS) stressed that while the bipartisan investigation’s focus is on West Virginia, it is a nationwide problem. He added, “This is just not acceptable. …We urge the DEA to stop playing games.”
Talking about the opioid crisis’ impact in West Virginia, Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) shared some of the committee’s findings and local statistics, including the fact that West Virginia is ranked the number one state in the country for overdoses. “It’s just ravaging West Virginia,” McKinley said.
Denver – Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-CO), a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, today said she would co-sponsor a congressional effort to restore Net Neutrality protections that were rolled back yesterday in a party-line vote by the Federal Communications Commission. DeGette supports a resolution to be introduced by Congressman Mike Doyle (D-PA), the ranking member on the Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, reversing the FCC’s new regulations.
“I have long supported Net Neutrality safeguards and have worked to prevent the FCC’s recent efforts to reverse them,” DeGette said. “Net Neutrality is essential to promoting freedom of expression, competition and economic growth on the internet. It creates a level playing field for consumers, innovators and small businesses. In ending the Open Internet Order, the FCC abdicated its responsibility to ensure that these values are safeguarded.
“My constituents feel strongly about this matter, too: Through social media, phone calls to my office, and day-to-day discussions at home in Colorado, they have made it abundantly clear that they value Net Neutrality as a means to ensure an open internet that protects free speech and promotes economic opportunity for all. Our fight doesn’t end this week. The FCC vote was a setback, but not a defeat.”
DeGette was one of 118 members of Congress who earlier this week sent a letter to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai asking him to delay the FCC vote. In August, she was one of eleven Democratic members of the Energy and Commerce Committee to submit public comments arguing that the FCC’s proposal was contrary to the intent of Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996.