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Balderson Recap: Looking Back at 2023

This past January marked the beginning of the 118th Congress. With Republicans regaining control of the House of Representatives, we were able to bring oversight and fiscal responsibility back to Washington. 

At the start of the year, I was selected to serve on the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has the broadest jurisdiction of any committee in Congress–from securing our nation’s supply chains to ensuring all Americans have access to quality, innovative health care. The committee stayed busy all year, held 93 hearings, and sent 120 bills to the full House for consideration and passage. 

More importantly, I was able to continue working on behalf of the people of Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. Throughout the entire year, I criss-crossed the district’s 12 counties, holding hundreds of meetings with health care workers, small business owners, and individuals who work every day to improve the world around them. 

As I reflect on 2023 and look onward to 2024, I want to share with you a handful of issues that meant a lot to me this year. These are issues where I have been a leader among my House colleagues, and issues where I believe meaningful progress has been made.
Boosting American Energy and Preserving Consumer Choice

Earlier this year, the House passed H.R. 1, the Lower Energy Costs Act. This is House Republicans’ flagship legislation to boost U.S energy production and ensure an abundance of affordable, reliable energy for American families. 

The bill provides meaningful permitting reforms, streamlines the energy export process, and boosts domestic production. Simply put, this bill enables American energy producers to tap into the resources we have right beneath our feet in a timely manner by cutting red tape, instituting concrete timelines for permitting review, and incentivizing energy investment here at home. 

Relying on bad actors like Russia and Iran for our energy is shortsighted and reckless. And though this seems like commonsense, the policies coming out of the Biden White House today ignore this reality. If not stopped, the United States will remain dependent on hostile nations to meet our energy needs.

Consumer choice has also come under assault this year. Activist bureaucrats are pushing bans on gas-powered cars and electric vehicle (EV) mandates. 

In March, I joined my colleagues on the Energy and Commerce Committee in introducing the Preserving Choice in Vehicle Purchases Act (H.R. 1435). This bill passed the House this summer that blocks California from implementing its all-out ban on gas-powered cars beginning in 2035. In order to carry out this ban, they need approval from the EPA through a waiver–our legislation would block the approval of this waiver and prevent this kind of ban in any other state going forward. 

I also was a co-sponsor of the CARS Act (H.R. 4468), which also passed the House this year and would prevent the EPA from finalizing a federal rule that would mandate two-thirds of all vehicles sold by 2032 be all-electric. Freedom of choice and the power of the American consumer make the United States the envy of the world. There is nothing wrong with buying an EV if it best fits your family’s needs, but no government agency should have the right to unilaterally take that decision away. 

Despite trying to require the adoption of all-electric vehicles, the Biden Administration is pushing to shut down power plants across the country, slashing the capacity to charge the very vehicles they seek to mandate.

Their top proposal requires fossil fuel power plants to retrofit facilities to cut or capture their carbon dioxide emissions by 2040. The problem is carbon capture has yet to be successfully deployed at commercial level, and it would be prohibitively expensive for energy producers. In fact, this proposed rule would force many coal- and gas-fired plants to permanently shut down to avoid these cost-prohibitive retrofits. 

Report after report shows that American energy demand is growing while energy production is shrinking. In order to avoid a future where rolling blackouts and unexpected power outages become the norm, I introduced the Grid Reliability and Resiliency Improvements Act (H.R. 2875), which would provide increased transparency and information on the long-term reliability of America’s electrical grid. 

I also joined my fellow Energy and Commerce Committee Republicans in a letter to the EPA administrator demanding the agency extend its public comment period for their strict, costly proposed rules. Over the last year, the Committee has held the Biden Administration accountable for its reckless proposals, conducting a number of hearings where I have been able to underscore the importance of grid reliability with energy experts and agency officials.

Promoting Innovation in Health Care

For many Ohioans, access to affordable, quality health care can be a challenge. This is particularly true for those who live in more rural parts of the state and the elderly, who may have issues getting to and from their appointments. Telehealth is a critical tool that connects people to their health care providers regardless of their zip code or ability to travel. 

Telehealth boomed during the Covid-19 pandemic, and I have been working ever since to ensure that health care providers continue to cover telehealth services and invest in telehealth capabilities. 

Remote patient monitoring (RPM) lies at the heart of new, cutting-edge telehealth technologies. RPM lets patients remain in the comfort of home while doctors track their medication adherence and monitor vital signs. This can be especially useful when patients are prescribed opioids. 

My bill, the Remote Opioid Monitoring Act, aims to use this technology to combat the opioid epidemic by helping doctors identify and stop the misuse and abuse of lawfully prescribed opioids, preventing addiction from the outset. Last week, the legislation overwhelmingly passed the House 386-37 and now heads to the Senate for consideration. 

I have also introduced the Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act (H.R.5394), which would ease restrictions on health care providers and allow more seniors to benefit from remote monitoring services. RPM became widely available during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) lowered the threshold for who could be eligible. During this time, we saw just how effective RPM can be at reducing long-term health care costs, improving health outcomes, and increasing options for seniors. My bill would extend the COVID-era rules so more seniors can benefit from this technology. 

The Expanding Remote Monitoring Access Act is still being considered by the Energy and Commerce Committee.
Stopping the Border Crisis

In 2023, the U.S. saw record-breaking numbers of migrants flow across our border. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, there have been 7.8 million illegal immigrant encounters nationwide since President Biden took office. These individuals are drawn to our country because of the Biden Administration’s lax immigration policies and feeble border enforcement. 

The crisis is only getting worse. Just days ago, on December 18th, the southern border saw a record 12,600 migrant encounters in a single day. 

Because of the President’s failure to secure our southern border, we are seeing a surge of deadly fentanyl smuggled across our border. This poison makes its way from the Mexico border to communities across the country–including here in Ohio. In a report released in December, the Ohio Department of Health found that fentanyl was involved in 81% of Ohio’s unintentional drug overdoses in 2022. 

The ongoing crisis at the southern border shows how misguided policy decisions in Washington can have widespread, tragic impacts nationwide. 

House Republicans immediately put together and passed a border security package when we regained control of the House earlier this year. The Secure the Border Act (H.R. 2), is the strongest border security bill ever put forward in Congress, and it takes a two-pronged approach to fight the immigration crisis. 

First, it secures the border by resuming construction of the border wall, deploying more border agents, and implementing new technologies to detect illegal crossings. 

Second, H.R. 2 reforms U.S. policies to deter migrants from illegally entering the country by ending catch and release, streamlining the asylum process, ending in executive abuse of immigration authority, and strengthening current law to protect unaccompanied children from human trafficking. 

This immigration package passed the House in May, yet the Democrat-led Senate has ignored the legislation while the White House continues to downplay the border crisis. Going into 2024, I will continue calling on Democrats in Washington to take the border seriously, and I will urge my counterparts in the Senate to follow House Republicans’ lead and pass H.R. 2.
Supporting Israel

For Israelis and Jewish people across the world, the shock of Hamas’s attack on October 7th was unimaginable. In a matter of hours, terrorists from Gaza invaded Israel to massacre and abduct innocent men, women, and children. 

Immediately following the attack, I signed on as an original co-sponsor to a resolution declaring that the United States unequivocally stands with Israel and its people. The resolution condemned Hamas’s brutal invasion and affirms American support for Israel as it continues to defend itself. 

Israel is our greatest ally and friend in the Middle East. That’s why I voted in support of a $14.3 billion security assistance package that provides equipment needed for their ongoing defense. The bill also replenishes American defense stockpiles and allocates funds to evacuate American citizens in Israel. 

I also signed on to the Stop Taxpayer Funding of Hamas Act, which would ensure that no American taxpayer dollars will be authorized to Gaza until the President certifies to Congress that these funds will not benefit terrorist organizations and that there are no hostages currently being held in Gaza. If we truly want to stand with Israel, in both our words and actions, then we must not give aid and comfort to the very terrorists carrying out barbaric acts of violence and kidnapping civilians.

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Wishing you and your family a Happy New Year!


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