Congressman Curtis, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Block International Recognition of the Taliban Government

Congressman Curtis, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Block International Recognition of the Taliban Government

September 24,  2021

Washington, DC — Last week, Congressman Curtis, GOP Conference Chair Elise Stefanik, Congressman Joe Wilson, and Congressman Adam Kinzinger introduced the Taliban Recognition Prevention Act, which would prevent the Biden Administration from supporting the recognition of the Taliban-controlled government of Afghanistan in international organizations. The text can be seen here.

“The Taliban is not interested in playing any sort of productive role in the international community, and has already started to strip Afghan women, and others, of their basic human rights. Members of their new government even include individuals on sanctions and the FBI’s Most Wanted list,” said Curtis. “The U.S. should not endorse this anti-democratic and oppressive behavior.”

“The Taliban took Afghanistan by force and has violated standing diplomatic agreements,” Stefanik said. “Now, they are appointing wanted terrorists to leadership positions and restricting the basic human rights of their citizens. Recognizing the Taliban as a legitimate government would only embolden this behavior. The world is a more dangerous place now that the Taliban is in power – no country that stands for peace and stability should endorse their legitimacy.”

“It is unfortunate and disappointing that the Taliban’s charm offensive has duped the White House. A governing body with known terrorists and men who repressed the rights of women and minorities for decades just shows us that the Taliban has not changed,” said Kinzinger. “It’s why the United States, our allies, and all international organizations must keep pressure on the Taliban until they take meaningful steps to denounce terrorism and maintain the gains made by the Afghan people over the past 20 years.”

 

Background:

The bill states that Congress believes:

  • The President should not extend diplomatic recognition to the Taliban-controlled Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan
  • The President should not provide any funds to the Taliban, directly or indirectly, nor act to relieve any bilateral or multilateral sanctions on the Taliban or Taliban leaders
  • States that the Taliban maintains a close partnership with al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations that pose a threat to the national security interests of the United States

The bill would make it U.S. policy for our representatives in international organizations to oppose recognition to the Taliban-controlled government.

In addition to undeserved legitimacy, if the Taliban government wins UN recognition, it will inherit Afghanistan’s position on the UN Women’s Rights Commission.

Congressman Curtis also submitted language from the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act. That text can be seen here.

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Curtis Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Empower Patients to Take Control of their Pain Treatment

Curtis Introduces Bipartisan Legislation to Empower Patients to Take Control of their Pain Treatment

June 28,  2021

Washington, DC — Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) joined Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), David B. McKinley (R-WV),  and Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE), to introduce the bipartisan Non-Opioid Directive (NOD) Act, which would allow patients to notify health professionals that they do not wish to be treated with opioids. 

“There’s no question Congress must keep addressing the growing opioid crisis across the US. The COVID-19 pandemic has left many socially isolated and without access to adequate behavioral health care or addiction treatment services,” said Curtis. “Equally as important is focusing on preventing addiction altogether, which is why I’m proud to support the Non-Opioid Directive Act. This commonsense legislation gives patients better control of their health care by giving them the ability to decline the use of opiates for all future health care needs. I look forward to working across the aisle to getting this important legislation signed into law.”

Background:

The COVID-19 pandemic has just exacerbated this, with an expected 30% increase in overdose deaths, estimating they could exceed over 90,000 for 2020. These deaths are primarily driven by opioids and synthetic-opioids such as fentanyl. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. died from opioid involved overdoses in 2019. That same year, an estimated 10 million people misused prescription pain killers. The CDC estimates that the total “economic burden” of prescription opioid misuse alone in the U.S. is $78.5 billion a year, including the costs of healthcare, lost productivity, addiction treatment, and criminal involvement. 

Key highlights of the legislation below:

  • Instructs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop a non-opioid Pain Management Directive that will be included in a patient’s medical record.
  • It is voluntary. An individual may revoke a non-opioid pain management form executed by themselves at any time and in any manner. A guardian or patient advocate may also revoke the form for a minor at any time and in any manner.
  • Requires each group health plan or health insurance issuer to make the form available to each enrollee; and requires each group health plan or health insurance issuer to include a notice of the individual’s choice for non-opioid pain management to healthcare providers.
  • Requires group health plans and health insurance issuers to provide a copy of the non-opioid pain management form during annual enrollment, specifically asking the individual to opt-in or opt-out.
  • Allows an exception for providers to override the directive in the event a patient is receiving emergency treatment or receiving the opioid during surgery; and in the treating healthcare professional’s opinion, after due consideration of other options and inquiring about a history of opioid use, the administration of the opioid is medically necessary. 
  • The legislation extends full liability protections (criminal and civil) for providers who mistakenly administer an opioid when a patient has signed a directive or for failing to administer or prescribe an opioid.

To read the NOD Act bill text, click here.

To read the NOD Act one pager, click here.

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Rep. Curtis Introduces Conservative Climate Caucus With Over 60 Members

Rep. Curtis Introduces Conservative Climate Caucus With Over 60 Members

June 28,  2021

Washington, DC — Rep. John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced the new Conservative Climate Caucus in a press conference at the US Capitol. The Congressman will serve as Chairman and lead the Caucus of over 60 members, including representatives from every committee with jurisdiction over climate policy and various ranking members.

“I am proud to launch the Conservative Climate Caucus with many of my Republican colleagues. Republicans have conservative solutions to lower emissions while enhancing economic prosperity. We do care about climate – and we already have solutions and plan to find more. 

The goal of the Conservative Climate Caucus is to bring members of the Republican party together to educate each other on climate policies that will make real progress on reducing emissions through American innovation and resources. Proposals to reduce emissions and be good stewards of the earth do not have to hurt the American economy – in fact they do the opposite. There is a way to lower global emissions without sacrificing American jobs and principles – and I believe Republicans are the ones that can and should be leading the charge.

I look forward to working with my colleagues to advance a message of caring for our planet, and move away from the culture of shaming that has become all too prevalent in our public dialogue.”

Full list of Members on the Caucus:

John Curtis (Utah-03); Energy and Commerce

Garrett Graves (Louisiana-06); Select Committee on Climate (Ranking Member), Transportation and Infrastructure, Natural Resources

Cathy McMorris Rodgers (Washington-05); Energy and Commerce (RM)

Bruce Westerman (Arkansas-04); Transportation and Infrastructure; Natural Resources (RM)

Glenn Thompson (Pennsylvania-15); Agriculture (RM), Education and Labor 

Michael McCaul (Texas-10); Foreign Affairs (RM), Homeland Security 

Frank Lucas (Oklahoma-03); Financial Services, Science, Space and Technology (RM) 

Richard Hudson (North Carolina-08); Energy and Commerce, Republican Conference Secretary    

David McKinley (West Virginia-01); Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee RM    

Andy Barr (Kentucky-06); Financial Services, Foreign Affairs, Republican Study Steering Committee

Dan Newhouse (Washington-04); Appropriations, Western Caucus Chair 

Burgess Owens (Utah-04); Education and Labor, Judiciary

Chris Stewart (Utah-02); Appropriations, Intelligence 

Chuck Fleischmann (Tennessee-03); Appropriations   

Cliff Bentz (Oregon-02); Natural Resources, Judiciary 

Andrew Garbarino (New York-02) Homeland Security, Small Business 

David Joyce (Ohio-14); Appropriations, Modernization, Ethics  

Blake Moore (Utah-01); Armed Services, Natural Resources 

David Valadao (California-21); Appropriations 

Debbie Lesko (Arizona-08); Energy and Commerce

Doug Lamborn (Colorado-05); Natural Resources, Armed Services 

Jeff Fortenberry (Nebraska-01); Appropriations   

Jeff Van Drew (New Jersey-02); Transportation and Infrastructure, Homeland Security 

Kelly Armstrong (North Dakota-AL); Energy and Commerce    

Lee Zeldin (New York-01); Financial Services, Foreign Affairs    

Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa-02); Education and Labor, Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security           

Mark Amodei (Nevada-02); Appropriations   

Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma-02); Energy and Commerce, Intelligence         

Michael Burgess (Texas-26); Energy and Commerce, Rules    

Michael Cloud (Texas-27); Oversight and Reform, Agriculture

Michael Waltz (Florida-06); Armed Services, Space, Science and Technology

Nancy Mace (South Carolina-01); Transportation and Infrastructure, Oversight and Reform, Veterans Affairs 

Pat Fallon (Texas-04); Armed Services, Oversight and Reform      

Peter Meijer (Michigan-03); Homeland Security, Foreign Affairs, Science, Space and Technology    

Rick Crawford (Arkansas-01); Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure, Intelligence 

Stephanie Bice (Oklahoma-05); Armed Services, Space, Science and Technology

Tim Burchett (Tennessee-02); Foreign Affairs, Transportation and Infrastructure  

Tim Walberg (Michigan-07); Energy and Commerce, Education and Labor       

Troy Balderson (Ohio-12); Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure 

Robert Latta (Ohio-05); Energy and Commerce,

Chris Jacobs (New York-27); Agriculture, Budget

Michelle Steel (California-34); Transportation and Infrastructure; Education and Labor

Morgan Griffith (Virginia-09); Energy and Commerce

August Pfluger (Texas-11); Foreign Affairs, Homeland Security

Steven Palazzo (Mississippi-04); Appropriations

Dusty Johnson (South Dakota- AL); Agriculture, Transportation and Infrastructure

Jay Obernolte (California-08); Budget, Natural Resources, Space, Science and Technology

Larry Bucshon (Indiana-08); Energy and Commerce

Jim Baird (Indiana-04); Agriculture, Science Space and Technology

Jack Bergman (Michigan-01); Armed Services, Veteran’s Affairs

Maria Salazar (Florida-27); Foreign Affairs, Small Business

Tom Rice (South Carolina-07); Ways and Means

Anthony Gonzalez (Ohio-16); Financial Services, Science Space and Technology

Fred Keller (Pennsylvania-12); Education and Labor, Oversight and Reform

Randy Weber (Texas-14); Science, Space and Technology, Transportation and Infrastructure

French Hill (Arkansas-02); Financial Services

Bill Huizenga (Michigan-02); Financial Services

Fred Upton (Michigan-06); Energy and Commerce

Paul Gosar (Arizona-04); Natural Resources, Oversight and Reform

Mario Diaz-Balart (Florida-25); Appropriations

Drew Ferguson (Georgia-03); Ways and Means

Bryan Steil (Wisconsin-01); Administration, Financial Services

William Timmons (South Carolina-04); Financial Services, Steering

John Rutherford (Florida-04); Appropriations

Statements of Support

Heather Reams, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions (CRES) Executive Director: “CRES applauds US Rep. John Curtis (R-UT) and the 51 other House Republicans who today announced the creation of the Conservative Climate Caucus and looks forward to working with Members and staff on its agenda. The climate is changing and to address it, our country needs a commonsense approach that works by reducing energy prices, not energy choices; shrinking our emissions, not our economy; and, exporting American innovation, not American jobs.  Despite what fringe activists and their Capitol Hill champions say, overregulating America will not lower emissions globally. This caucus understands that climate change is a global issue. Today, 85 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions occur outside of the United States – a share that will increase to 90 percent by the end of the next decade. This means that U.S. climate and energy policy must foster innovation and commercialization pathways that work for Indiana as well as for India. Achieving emissions-reduction solutions are possible with the leadership demonstrated by the creation this caucus today.”

Rich Powell, ClearPath Executive Director: “Republicans have real solutions for climate change – ones that are technologically realistic, economically feasible, and politically sustainable. Over the past decade, conservatives have institutionalized big, bold goals anchored by clean energy breakthroughs as the best approach to solving the climate challenge. Higher taxes and more regulations won’t solve it – and this Conservative Climate Caucus will continue advancing solutions that strengthen the American economy, and reduce global carbon emissions.”  

Background

The Caucus will be focused on educating Republican House Members on conservative climate solutions that align with Republican principles and are based on an agenda that will make real progress through American innovation and ultimately enhance American prosperity. Learn more HERE.

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Curtis, O’Halleran Introduce Bipartisan Rural Broadband Bill

Curtis, O’Halleran Introduce Bipartisan Rural Broadband Bill

June 22,  2021

Washington, DC — Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, introduced HR 3970—the bipartisan Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act— which will significantly increase internet access in rural America through needed regulatory easing. The legislation specifically requires federal agencies to review broadband infrastructure permits on federal-rights-of-way within a reasonable time period and establishes a fair licensing fee to build broadband infrastructure on federal land.

Taken together, these common-sense measures will encourage future investments in underserved communities, bolster current broadband services in underserved communities, and successfully close the digital divide in unserved communities. This is especially important since nearly thirty percent U.S. landmass is federal lands or property, and broadband infrastructure permits on these lands can take up to five years in some cases. In Utah, the situation is even dire with over sixty percent of San Juan County being federal lands and some permits taking up to nine years to complete.

“Mr. O’Halleran and I both represent very similar districts geographically and both share parts of the Navajo Reservation, which lags in its technological capabilities but not due to a lack of trying,” said Curtis. “In many of the rural communities that I am privileged to represent, people are itching for reliable broadband service. The problem is that they are hamstrung by Washington, D.C., bureaucrats who are completely disconnected from the realities that millions of Americans face and especially when it comes to broadband availability. Sensible, bipartisan, and cost-effective reforms such as these will ensure that every parent, student, patient, health care provider, and business owner have reliable internet access that is needed to succeed in the digital age.”

“Rural and tribal communities throughout Arizona experience some of the slowest and most outdated broadband infrastructure in the nation, hamstringing our ability to access the high-speed internet that is so often necessary for work, school, and telehealth,” said O’Halleran, Co-Chair of the Rural Broadband Caucus. “Our bipartisan bill will hold federal agencies accountable for their part in this problem by ensuring they quickly turn around these applications and get the ball rolling for communities most in need.”

Statements of Support

Shirley Bloomfield, CEO, NTCA — The Rural Broadband Association

“High costs are a large enough barrier to deploying broadband service to rural areas without adding costly, time consuming processes for gaining access to federal lands. On behalf of NTCA’s members, I applaud Senators Daines and Kelly for introducing the Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act to ensure that providers can gain timely approval to access federal rights of way for deploying high-speed broadband networks. This legislation will make it easier to deploy essential broadband service to some of the hardest to reach areas of our country.”

Brandon Heiner, Senior Vice President, Government Affairs, USTelecom — The Broadband Association

“We all agree on the need to extend broadband infrastructure deeper into unserved parts of rural America, but too often our network innovators bump into red tape and outdated rules that can make construction slow, inefficient or nearly impossible. This is a common sense and bipartisan approach to increase high-speed connectivity from Representatives Curtis and O’Halleran. This plan expedites access to federal rights-of-way and streamlines the building process in service of a universal, bipartisan goal: bring the power and promise of broadband connectivity to every corner of the country.”

NCTA – The Internet and Television Association

“We commend Reps. Curtis and O’Halleran on introducing the Accelerating Rural Broadband Deployment Act, legislation that would accelerate broadband deployment by streamlining access to federal rights-of-way. To ensure that all Americans have access to the internet, federal policy should not only consider subsidizing network construction to reach unserved households, but should also equally focus on removing barriers to broadband deployment – such as obstacles that prevent timely access to federal lands and buildings – that slow private expansion efforts. We look forward to working with the sponsors and other members on this bipartisan bill.”

 

Background

The bipartisan legislation would specifically:

  • Grant federal agencies the ability to approve a license of occupancy authorizing the deployment of all equipment required to deploy broadband service on a federal right-of-way.
  • Create a 30-year licensing agreement with the opportunity for occupants to automatically renew this license.
  • Require each federal agency to establish licensing fees based on a set of market conditions.
  • Require federal agencies to respond to a broadband permit request within 60-days of receiving the request and provide an explanation of denial if the request is denied.
  • Automatically approve permits after 60-days if the agency has not reviewed the application.

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Curtis, Moulton Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Protect Consumers From Curious Smart Devices

Curtis, Moulton Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Protect Consumers From Curious Smart Devices

June 21,  2021

Washington, DC — Representative John Curtis (R-UT), member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, reintroduced bipartisan legislation to put American consumers in the driver’s seat by giving them clearer knowledge about the technology they are purchasing. The Informing Consumers about Smart Devices Act, also cosponsored by Representative Seth Moulton (D-MA), requires the creation of reasonable disclosure guidelines for products that have audio or visual recording components that are not clearly obvious to a reasonable person, such as a kitchen or another household appliance. 

“This legislation balances protecting American consumers with continuing to foster innovation, and I am extremely pleased with this bipartisan product we reintroduced today,” said Curtis. “By working with a broad range of stakeholders, this legislation will allow regulatory flexibility without hamstringing the technological pioneers who are developing smart technologies, while ensuring consumers are aware of the capabilities of items they are putting in their homes.”

“We should be allowed to make informed decisions about the electronic eavesdroppers we invite into our homes. But we can’t do it if big tech hides microphones and cameras that are always listening in refrigerators, toasters, and other household gadgets,” said Moulton. “Let’s pass this bill so consumers know when big tech is listening in.”

Background:

The legislation is in response to reports about household devices listening to individuals’ conversations without their knowledge. While some manufacturers have taken steps to more clearly label their products with listening devices, this legislation would make this information more obvious to consumers without overly burdensome requirements on producers of these devices. 

Specifically, the bill requires the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to work alongside industry leaders to establish guidelines for properly disclosing the potential for their products to contain audio or visual recording capabilities. To ensure this does not become an overly burdensome labeling requirement, the legislation provides manufacturers the option of requesting customized guidance from the FTC that fits within their existing marketing or branding practices in addition to permitting these disclosures pre or post-sale of their products.

Text of the bill available [HERE]

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Curtis, Kuster Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Ski Areas as Nation Recovers from COVID-19

Curtis, Kuster Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Support Ski Areas as Nation Recovers from COVID-19

**The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act would reallocate undedicated funds collected from ski area permit fees to improve land management and visitor services in local National Forests**

 

June 12,  2021

Washington, DC — This week, Representatives John Curtis (R-UT) and Annie Kuster (D-NH), co-chairs of the House Ski and Snowboard Caucus, introduced the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act, bipartisan legislation to support ski areas across the country that are operating on National Forest System lands and bring money back to local forests. The bill is also cosponsored by Congressman Joe Neguse (D-CO) and Congressman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA) and companion legislation was introduced in the Senate by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and John Barrasso (R-WY).

Currently, fees related to the permitting of ski areas on U.S. Forest Service land are given to the Treasury Department, where the funds are not dedicated for any specific purpose. The Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act seeks to change this system, and instead direct a portion of the fees to the National Forest System, where they will be used for local infrastructure improvements, avalanche forecasting and safety, and improved visitor services. The legislation also directs money to improve the ski area permitting process, helping ski areas facilitate investment in rural mountain communities.

“Utah is proud to have the greatest snow on Earth, bringing many opportunities for skiing and snowboarding and attracting tourists from around the globe,” said Congressman Curtis. “I believe it is one of our responsibilities to ensure we leave the land we recreate in better than we found it – including our beautiful National Forests. As the co-chair of the Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, I am proud to partner with my fellow co-chair Rep. Kuster on this important legislation that will not only support recreation but will ensure the forests are healthy and maintained for future generations. The SHRED Act would allow the Forest Service to retain ski area permit fees at the forest that they originate in to be used for increased maintenance and improvements on those lands. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to quickly advance this important bill through Congress.”

“Outdoor recreation and skiing are cornerstones of New Hampshire’s economy and the Granite State way of life,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “As co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Ski and Snowboard Caucus, my Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act will steer more New Hampshire dollars back home by investing fees paid by our Granite State ski mountains into our local forests and communities to help create more year-round jobs and bolster our regional economies for generations to come.”

 

Statements of Support

“The SHRED Act is important in one regard in that it represents a commitment to our ski areas and the National Forests on which they operate,” said Jessyca Keeler, President, Ski New Hampshire. “But more importantly, it’s an investment in the communities where the funds from this act will be allocated. By setting aside dollars to make permitting and program administration more efficient, more projects can get off the ground in a timely manner, leading to increased economic activity in the often rural and remote areas that stand to benefit from this legislation.”

“As more and more people head outdoors to recreate in these challenging times, this investment in Forest Service capacity and outdoor recreation could not come at a better time,” said Kelly Pawlak, President/CEO, National Ski Areas Association. “Ski areas applaud Reps. Kuster, Curtis, Neguse and LaMalfa for their leadership and bipartisan efforts in support of the SHRED Act. Mountain communities, ski areas, outfitter guides and the millions of people who recreate on the National Forests will all benefit from this critical legislation.”

“What the SHRED Act does for ski areas is a solid model for all facilitated recreation experiences,” said Aaron Bannon, Executive Director, America Outdoors Association. “Outdoor recreation permit fees should be reallocated at the site, should be used to improve and enhance facilitated recreation experiences, and should be made available to help other sites address recreation programming needs that may not have the resources necessary at the local level.”

“Snowsports Industries America (SIA) fully supports the retention of ski area fees through the Ski Hill Resources for Economic Development (SHRED) Act,” said Nick Sargent, President, Snowsports Industries America. “This important legislation will provide valuable resources to improve the Forest Service’s capacity to administer permits and make critical and timely decisions on improving public lands infrastructure and facilitating implementation of year-round recreation activities.”

 

Background

Specifically, the SHRED Act would:

  • Keep Ski Fees Local: By establishing a Ski Area Fee Retention Account to retain a portion of the fees that ski areas pay to the Forest Service. For National Forests that receive less than $15 million in ski fees annually, 75% of the fees are retained. For forests that receive more than $15 million in ski fees annually, 60% of the ski fees would be retained. The retained funds are available for authorized uses at the local National Forest.
  • Support Winter Recreation: In each National Forest, 75% of the retained funds are directly available to support Forest Service Ski Area Program and permitting needs, process proposals for improvement projects, train staff, and prepare for wildfire. Any excess funds can be directed to other National Forests that host ski areas for the same uses. After all of the winter recreation uses have been addressed across the country, excess funds are carried over to the pot of funding that supports broad recreation needs.
  • Address Broad Recreation Needs: In each National Forest, 25% of the retained funds are available to support a broad set of local recreation management and community needs, including special use permit administration, visitor services, trailhead improvements, facility maintenance, and affordable workforce housing. This set-aside would dramatically increase some Forest Service unit’s budgets to meet the growing visitation and demand for outdoor recreation.

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