Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), spoke to Big “I” members about the importance of advocacy and her work as chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee.
Yesterday, during the 2023 Big “I" Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Washington), spoke to Big “I" members on the importance of advocacy and her work as chair of the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee, including data privacy and fighting inflation.
Rep. McMorris Rodgers has served as the U.S. Representative for Washington's 5th Congressional District since 2004. As the chair of the Energy and Commerce Committee, she leads the agenda on issues from expanding access to rural broadband and improving health care to addressing climate change and securing America's energy independence. She is the first woman in history to chair the committee.
“Many here in D.C. consider the Energy and Commerce Committee to be the most powerful committee in all Congress," Big “I" executive vice president Charles Symington said before he introduced Rep. McMorris Rodgers. “We're very lucky that Cathy is at the helm of the Energy and Commerce Committee working on so many issues that impact our daily lives."
During her address, Rep. McMorris Rodgers stressed the importance of advocacy, praising the Big “I" government affairs team for its presence on Capitol Hill. “Your team at the Big 'I' is really extraordinary," she said. “They represent you so well. I've been proud to have your support through the years and just proud of who you represent."
Growing up on her family's orchard and fruit stand, Rep. McMorris Rodgers knows firsthand the importance of small businesses and expressed her admiration of the Big “I" members who serve those businesses as independent agents.
“You represent the best of America," she said. “You represent small business owners. You represent entrepreneurship and innovation."
Rep. McMorris Rodgers shared some of the current and upcoming priorities of the Energy and Commerce Committee to protect those freedoms. One of those was last night's 217-215 House vote to pass the “Limit, Save, Grow Act of 2023."
“We have this record debt, and we have some very difficult decisions to make," she said, pointing out that the bill will “claw back hundreds of billions—trillions—of dollars in some reckless spending over the last couple of years."
“It was a good night last night," she added. “More to come on that—we still have to get something through the Senate, get something signed by the president."
Another provision to help the uncertain U.S. economy centers around energy. Rep. McMorris Rodgers referenced H.R. 1, the “Lower Energy Costs Act." “Energy costs have gone up, which drives inflation—it's one of the biggest drivers of inflation," she said. “We need to unleash that energy as part of growing our economy."
Data privacy is another issue relevant to Big “I" members that the Energy and Commerce Committee is addressing. Rep. McMorris Rodgers expressed concerns about the lack of data privacy and security laws for most U.S. businesses, particularly as social media platforms like TikTok are being examined by Congress.
“We need to pass a privacy data security bill—we need that framework so that your data is protected and that there's provisions in place," she said. “That's going to be one of the priorities of this Congress."
However, she emphasized the importance of passing legislation that allows small businesses to thrive without onerous restrictions, referencing the burden the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation places on companies. “It's a costly regulatory regime," she said, emphasizing her priority of approaching legislation “in a way that the small guys, the startups, will be able to be competitive, but that we are securing our data."
Rep. McMorris Rodgers concluded her presentation by thanking Legislative Conference attendees for coming to Capitol Hill. “American leadership matters," she said. “We've been the beacon of freedom and hope for people all over this world—that's why it's important that we continue to protect freedom."
AnneMarie McPherson Spears is IA news editor.