Rep. Peters Votes to Advance Several Energy & Commerce Committee Portions of the Build Back Better Act
September 14, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Over the last three days, Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) voted on the advancement of legislation out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee that will become part of the Build Back Better Act, a reconciliation package that will make transformational investments in America’s future.
“The Energy and Commerce Committee was tasked with the important work of crafting legislation to combat climate change, make health insurance more affordable and available, and to invest in our families and our communities. We must take this opportunity to make meaningful investments that can help us tackle the 21st-century challenges our country faces,” said Rep. Peters. “I advocated for many climate-related resources that are part of the bill, including $150 million to help communities mitigate the harmful effects of wildfire smoke, $30 billion in new loan authority for the Department of Energy to facilitate the development of next-generation clean technologies, $8 billion to help construct long-distance interstate transmission lines, and $150 billion for a new Clean Energy Performance Program.”
During the three-day markup, Rep. Peters spoke about the problems of combatting climate change. While the Clean Energy Performance Program incentivizes cleaner electricity production, he wants to ensure states who previously invested in clean energy, like California, are rewarded and not penalized for their early action. He also made clear that we cannot meet our climate goals without a technology-neutral, economy-wide price on carbon pollution. A carbon price is a more efficient and effective way to incentivize moving away from fuels that drive climate change. He added that a carbon polluter fee is the only budgetary tool that can substantially address our revenue and investment needs while reducing harmful climate pollution.
Rep. Peters continued, “Our committee’s portions of the Build Back Better Act also include critical funding that will improve broadband nationwide, strengthen the Affordable Care Act marketplace, and expand Americans’ access to quality, affordable health care.”
Access to health care continues to be a critical issue for all Americans. The committee passed language from the State Health Care Premium Reduction Act of 2021, a bill introduced by Rep. Peters and Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02) earlier this year, to provide states with the funding they need to establish state reinsurance programs. Reinsurance programs help insurers cover their most expensive claims and reduce premium costs, with the Congressional Budget Office estimating that these provisions will lower individual market premiums by seven percent.
Although Rep. Peters voted to advance key portions of the Build Back Better Act, he expressed concerns about the process and reiterated his longstanding issues with the House drug pricing proposal: “This bill will provide life-changing investments if we get it right. But good things take time and real deliberation. I'm disappointed that this package wasn't pre-conferenced with the Senate and that the rushed process is keeping individual members from making the informed and difficult decisions our constituents sent us here to make. That’s, in part, why I was unable to vote yes on the drug pricing subtitle.”
“I’ve been forthright about my stance to ensure we lower drug costs while preserving the American innovation that brings us life-saving cures and treatments. I proposed an alternative drug pricing reform model that will keep Democrats’ promise to lower out-of-pocket costs for medicines, in part by empowering the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate prices. It’s my hope that we can continue to work with the Committee, House Leadership, and the Senate to find a drug pricing solution that makes a real difference for our constituents while maintaining the incentive for innovation.”