Energy and Commerce Committee Votes to Pass O’Halleran Bills During Markup

September 10, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Yesterday, Congressman Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01) participated in a House Energy and Commerce Committee full committee markup of 38 bills, including his bipartisan Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy (EASE) Act, legislation to promote the adoption of energy storage technologies for rural electric cooperatives, and the Tribal Health Data Improvement Act, a bill O’Halleran cosponsored to address chronic challenges faced by Tribal Epidemiology Centers (TECs) in accessing federal health care and public health surveillance systems—data they are entitled to by law.

Both O’Halleran-led bills passed out of committee with broad, bipartisan support, and all 38 bills marked up yesterday enjoyed support from both sides of the aisle.  

“Energy storage technology is increasingly being lauded as a solution to increasing energy efficiency, limiting carbon emissions, and saving money for consumers,” said Rep. O’Halleran. “However, as our energy market continues to evolve, it is important that the needs of our rural energy providers are not overlooked. I thank my colleagues for joining me to pass my EASE Act that will assist rural electric cooperatives in developing and implementing energy storage technology.”

Electric cooperatives power more than 19 million businesses, homes, schools, and farms, and serve 42 million people across America. O’Halleran’s EASE Act would establish a grant program within the Department of Energy for rural electric cooperatives to identify, evaluate, and design energy storage and microgrid projects. The legislation instructs the Department to provide rural electric cooperatives with technical assistance and to provide Congress with a report detailing the cost savings and environmental benefits gained from energy storage technology integration.

“The EASE Act will substantially boost energy storage deployment in rural communities," said Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. “I commend Representatives O’Halleran and Mullin for leading this effort, which provides grants and technical expertise to help electric co-ops implement storage technologies and encourages their deployment nationwide.”

Watch O’Halleran speak on the EASE Act, HERE.

“Tribal nations were some of the communities hit hardest by COVID-19. Now, more than ever before, it is critical that they have access to all data related to health care and public health surveillance programs,” continued O’Halleran.“The Tribal Health Data Improvement Act ensures that sovereign tribal nations will have the information they need to make the best decisions to keep their citizens safe, advancing public health initiatives across Indian Country."

The Tribal Health Data Improvement Act requires the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to give direct access to all data related to health care and public health surveillance programs and services to tribal nations, the Indian Health Service, and Tribal Epidemiology Centers, and require the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to give technical aid to tribes and Tribal Epidemiology Centers for improving health statistics.

Watch O’Halleran speak on the Tribal Health Data Improvement Act, HERE

In addition to O’Halleran’s legislation, the Committee also voted in a bipartisan way to pass:

  • H.R. 945, the Mental Health Access Improvement Act of 2019, which provides for the coverage of marriage and family therapist services and mental health counselor services under part B of the Medicare program;
  • H.R. 2075, the School-Based Health Centers Reauthorization Act of 2019, to reauthorize funding for school-based health centers, which O’Halleran testified in favor of in July of 2020;
  • H.R. 1109, the Mental Health Services for Students Act, which provides access to school-based comprehensive mental health programs; and
  • H.R. 4439, the Creating Hope Reauthorization Act, that empowers the Secretary of Health and Human Services to issue priority review vouchers to encourage treatments for rare pediatric diseases;
  • H.R. 6435, the Combating Pandemic Scams Act of 2020, that directs the Federal Trade Commission to develop and disseminate information to the public about scams related to COVID-19; and
  • H.R. 2610, the Stop Senior Scams Act, which establishes a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Council to collect and disseminate model educational materials useful in identifying and preventing scams that affect seniors. This bill also directs the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work with Tribal authorities to study scams targeting Tribes and Tribal members.

Summaries and full bill text for all legislation marked up can be found, HERE.