U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Republicans

U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Republicans Thanks for visiting the Senate HELP Committee Republicans page. Check back for committee news & updates from the press office of Ranking Member Richard Burr.
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Welcome to the Official page for the Republican Members of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. We will summarize our actions, highlight noteworthy statements and news stories, including updated legislative activity, links to live streams of hearings and other committee news. Follow the Senate HELP Committee GOP on Twitter: @GOPHELP

04/29/2021

While President Biden was promising unity in his inaugural address, his staff was engaged in partisan firings of government officials.

Watch Senator Burr grill nominee Jennifer Abruzzo about her involvement in the unprecedented removal of NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb.

03/16/2021

While Julie Su oversaw California's unemployment insurance system, the state paid out up to $31 billion in fraudulent claims during the pandemic.

Now the Biden Admin wants to promote her.

Ranking Member Burr explains his concerns with this Labor nominee’s track record:

03/16/2021

In May 2020, the Labor Department IG warned California it may have paid $1.2 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims early in the pandemic, but the state took months to act.

"Why did your agency not respond more quickly?" Senator Cassidy asks Labor nominee Julie Su.

03/16/2021

Senator Collins to Labor nominee Julie Su: “The sheer scale and scope of the fraud in California not only dwarfs that of every other state... but also seems to be directly related to directives that you issued.”

02/25/2021
www.burr.senate.gov

NEW: Read Ranking Member Burr's prepared opening statement on the nominations of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as Surgeon General and Dr. Rachel Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary for Health:https://www.burr.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Opening%20Statement%20-%202021.02.25%20-%20Nominations%20of%20Drs.%20Levine%20and%20Murthy.pdf

Watch Live: Senate HELP Committee considers the nominations of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as Surgeon General and Dr. Rach...
02/25/2021
Confirmation Hearing for Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy & Asst. Health Secretary Nominee Dr. Rachel Levine

Watch Live: Senate HELP Committee considers the nominations of Dr. Vivek Murthy to serve as Surgeon General and Dr. Rachel Levine to serve as Assistant Secretary of HHS ⬇️

Surgeon General Nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy and Assistant Secretary for Health Nominee Dr. Rachel Levine testified at their confirmation hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

02/23/2021

Ranking Member Burr to Biden HHS Nominee Xavier Becerra:

“I’m not sold yet. I’m not sure that you have the necessary experience or skills to do this job at this moment.”

06/19/2018

WATCH LIVE: The Senate HELP Committee is holding its third bipartisan hearing this year on the 340B Drug Pricing Program. Today the committee will hear from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), the agency overseeing the program.

04/25/2018
Senator Lamar Alexander

The Senate health committee I chair unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to take the next step in helping states like Tennessee fight the opioid crisis.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 includes 40 provisions from 38 different senators, including legislation to help stop fentanyl at the border, reduce inappropriate prescribing, accelerate research on non-addictive pain medicines, and support state interventions for children who have experienced trauma, such as a parent using opioids.

Over the last six months, our committee has heard from experts on how the federal government can be the best possible partner as we work to combat the nation’s largest public health crisis – the opioid crisis. The challenge before us has often been described as needing a moonshot. Solving the opioid crisis might require the energy and resources of a moonshot, but ultimately it is not something that can be solved by an agency in Washington, D.C. What the federal government can do is create an environment so that everyone – judges, mayors, counselors, police officers, Drug Enforcement Administration agents, doctors, nurses, parents, pharmacists, and hospitals – can succeed in fighting the crisis. The legislation we approved today aims to create that environment to help states and communities begin to bring an end to the opioid crisis. Learn more about the legislation here: https://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=9DE9FB64-4FE0-4E42-9179-922AE6D36BF2

The Senate health committee I chair today unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to take the next step in helping states like Tennessee fight the opioid crisis.

The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018 includes 40 provisions from 38 different senators, including legislation to help stop fentanyl at the border, reduce inappropriate prescribing, accelerate research on non-addictive pain medicines, and support state interventions for children who have experienced trauma, such as a parent using opioids.

Over the last six months, our committee has heard from experts on how the federal government can be the best possible partner as we work to combat the nation’s largest public health crisis – the opioid crisis. The challenge before us has often been described as needing a moonshot. Solving the opioid crisis might require the energy and resources of a moonshot, but ultimately it is not something that can be solved by an agency in Washington, D.C. What the federal government can do is create an environment so that everyone – judges, mayors, counselors, police officers, Drug Enforcement Administration agents, doctors, nurses, parents, pharmacists, and hospitals – can succeed in fighting the crisis. The legislation we approved today aims to create that environment to help states and communities begin to bring an end to the opioid crisis. Learn more about the legislation here: https://www.alexander.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/pressreleases?ID=9DE9FB64-4FE0-4E42-9179-922AE6D36BF2

If you or someone you know in Tennessee is struggling with a drug addiction, you can visit the TN Together website for resources: https://www.tn.gov/opioids/treatment/how-to-get-help.html

01/18/2018
Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Lamar Alexander

Today, we held another hearing about how to make it easier and simpler for 400,000 families in Tennessee to apply for federal aid for college—either grants or loans.

Tennessee leads the country in the number of students who apply for federal grants like FAFSA, but it takes so much time, and the paperwork is so intense that everybody complains to me about it, so we’re going to do two things.

One is, we’re going to take 108 questions for the federal aid form you have to fill out to get your grant or loan and take it down to 15 or 25.

And the second, we’re going to take the nine programs we now have to pay back your student loan, and simplify it down to one or two and make it easier for you to do. Especially making it easy so that you pay back the amount of money that is based upon the income you are receiving every year in your paycheck.

01/25/2017
Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Lamar Alexander

Democrats desperately are searching for a valid reason to oppose Betsy DeVos for U.S. Education Secretary because they don’t want Americans to know the real reason for their opposition.

That real reason? She has spent more than three decades helping children from low-income families choose a better school. Specifically, Democrats resent her support for allowing tax dollars to follow children to schools their low-income parents’ choose — although wealthy families choose their children’s schools every day.

Tax dollars supporting school choice is hardly subversive or new. In 2016, $121 billion in federal Pell Grants and new student loans followed 11 million college students to accredited public, private or religious schools of their choice, whether Notre Dame, Yeshiva, the University of Tennessee or Nashville’s auto diesel college. These aid payments are, according to Webster’s — “vouchers”-exactly the same form of payments that Mrs. DeVos supports for schools.
America’s experience with education vouchers began in 1944 with the GI Bill. As veterans returned from World War II, federal tax dollars followed them to the college of their choice.
Why, then, is an idea that helped produce the Greatest Generation and the world’s best colleges such a dangerous idea for our children?

Mrs. DeVos testified that she opposes Washington, D.C., requiring states to adopt vouchers, unlike her critics who delight in a National School Board imposing their mandates on states, for example, Common Core academic standards.
So, who is in the mainstream here? The GI Bill, Pell Grants, student loans, both Presidents Bush, President Trump, the 25 states that allow parents to choose among public and private schools, Congress with its passage of the Washington, D.C. voucher program, 45 U.S. senators who voted in 2015 to allow states to use existing federal dollars for vouchers, Betsy DeVos — or her senate critics?

The second reason Democrats oppose Mrs. DeVos is that she supports charter schools — public schools with fewer government and union rules so that teachers have more freedom to teach and parents have more freedom to choose the schools. In 1992, Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party created a dozen charter schools. Today there are 6,800 in 43 states and the District of Columbia. President Obama’s last Education Secretary was a charter school founder. Again, who is in the mainstream? Minnesota’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor party, Presidents Bush, Clinton and Obama; the last six U.S. Education Secretaries, the U.S. Congress, 43 states and the District of Columbia, Betsy DeVos — or her senate critics?

Her critics dislike that she is wealthy. Would they be happier if she had spent her money denying children from low-income families choices of schools?

Mrs. DeVos’ senate opponents are grasping for straws. We didn’t have time to question her, they say, even though she met with each one of them in their offices, and her hearing lasted nearly an hour and a half longer than either of President Obama’s education secretaries.

Now she is answering 837 written follow up questions from Democratic committee members — 1,397 if you include all the questions within a question. By comparison, Republicans asked President Obama’s first education secretary 53 written follow-up questions and his second education secretary 56 written follow-up questions, including questions within a question. In other words, Democrats have asked Mrs. DeVos 25 times as many follow-up questions as Republicans asked of either of President Obama’s education secretaries.

Finally, Democrats are throwing around conflict of interest accusations. But Betsy DeVos has signed an agreement with the independent Office of Government Ethics to divest, within 90 days of her confirmation, possible conflicts of interest identified by the ethics office, as every cabinet secretary is required to do. That agreement is on the internet.

Tax returns? Federal law does not require disclosure of tax returns for cabinet members, or for U.S. Senators. Both cabinet members and senators are already required to publish extensive disclosures of their holdings, income and debts. Cabinet members must also sign an agreement with the Office of Government Ethics to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.

One year ago, because I believe presidents should have their cabinet in place in order to govern, I worked to confirm promptly President Obama’s nomination of John King to be Education Secretary, even though I disagreed with him.

Even though they disagree with her, Democrats should also promptly confirm Betsy DeVos. Few Americans have done as much to help low-income students have a choice of better schools. She is on the side of our children. Her critics may resent that, but this says more about them than it does about her.

Address

835 Hart Office Building
Washington D.C., DC
20002

General information

About Sen. Alexander: I’m a seventh generation Tennessean born in Maryville near where we live now. My father was an elementary school principal, and my mother was a kindergarten teacher. I serve on committees overseeing education, clean air, highways, science, appropriations and the Tennessee Valley Authority. I am the only Tennessean ever popularly elected both governor and U.S. Senator. I have been U.S. Education Secretary, University of Tennessee president, and professor at Harvard's School of Government. I chaired the National Governors' Association and President Reagan's Commission on Americans Outdoors. In private life, I helped found the nation's largest provider of worksite day care. In my campaign for governor, I walked 1,000 miles across Tennessee in my now famous red and black plaid shirt. Once elected, I helped Tennessee become the third largest auto producer and the first state to pay teachers more for teaching well. I am a classical and country pianist and the author of seven books, including Six Months Off, the story of my family's life in Australia after I was governor. Honey and I married in 1969. We have four children and eight grandchildren, and a dog named Rufus. More about me: *I am the first Tennessean elected to consecutive four-year terms as governor. *I started Tennessee's Governor's Schools for outstanding students. *I am the first Tennessee Republican to serve on the Senate Appropriations Committee. *In 2006, the NCAA named me to the list of the "100 Most Influential Student-Athletes" in its 100-year history. *I met Honey Buhler at a staff softball game when I worked for Sen. Howard H. Baker of Tennessee and she worked for Sen. John G. Tower of Texas. *While clerking for Judge John Minor Wisdom of the U.S. Court of Appeals in New Orleans I played trombone, tuba and washboard at night at "Your Father's Moustache" on Bourbon Street.

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