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Burgess Manages Rule Debate on House Floor

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Michael C. Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) delivered the following opening remarks at the start of the Rule Debate for H.R. 7666, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act; H.R. 5585, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health Act; and H.R. 4176, the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act.


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today’s rule provides for consideration of three bills: H.R. 7666, the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act; H.R. 5585, the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Health Act; and H.R. 4176, the LGBTQI+ Data Inclusion Act. Two of these bills represent the progress that can be achieved when we work together on legislation that is important to the American people.

First, I would like to recognize the hard work that the members of the Energy and Commerce Committee put into the Restoring Hope for Mental Health and Well-Being Act of 2022. This package is the first major package put forth to address our nation’s mental health crisis since the COVID-19 lockdowns. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a tremendous increase in youth mental health conditions, suicides, and overdose deaths, exacerbating the mental health crisis we already faced before the pandemic.

This bill maintains the flexibility for States to make funding decisions that best address the needs of their communities. The spending in this bill is fully offset, and targets funding towards treatment of serious mental health conditions instead of wellness programs that may not have such an impact.

Included in this package is the Into the Light for Maternal Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders Act of 2022, which I introduced with Representatives Yvette Clarke, Jamie Herrera Beutler, Young Kim, and Doris Matsui. Our bill reauthorizes and funds existing programs to help those impacted by maternal mental health conditions. Substance use disorders and mental health conditions are among the top leading causes of death for pregnant and postpartum women. I’m proud to see this bill move across the finish line.

I also supported an amendment by Rep. Drew Ferguson to include the Behavioral Health Interventions Guidelines Act, or BIG Act, which is a bill I introduced with Rep. Ferguson. This amendment was made in order during Rules Committee consideration yesterday.

This bill passed the House with broad support last year. It requires the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop best practices for schools to establish behavioral health intervention teams. I heard from leadership at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and their successful program, to provide training for behavioral health intervention at schools in rural West Texas. School-aged children are at a prime age to identify and treat behavioral health issues before they might worsen.

By establishing these behavioral intervention teams, the BIG Act helps to encourage prevention measures and interventions before youth mental conditions worsen or become more serious. Unfortunately, we continue to see the consequences of not addressing mental health issues.

This rule also includes H.R. 5585, the Advanced Research Project Agency-Health Act, or ARPA – H.

ARPA – H is modeled after the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA – E).

The goal is to bring a greater focus on the research and development of our greatest health care challenges in areas where private biopharmaceutical companies are unlikely to explore for scientific or business reasons.

ARPA – H was initially authorized in the fiscal year 2022 omnibus and placed within the National Institutes of Health. Placing ARPA – H within another Department of Health and Human Services entity risks its independence and the ability to foster innovation.

This bill secures ARPA – H as an agency independent of influence from the rest of the executive branch. And with significant Republican input, we ensured that this legislation is fiscally responsible.

We also make certain that the goal and mission of this agency is focused on research and development and provides accountability for ARPA – H when submitting feedback for projects supported by the agency, as well as prohibiting Federal funding to China and Russia. The bipartisan manager’s amendment also ensures that the number of offices is cut from 14 down to 6, with at least 4 dedicated to research and development, and that administrative costs are capped at 15%.

ARPA – H will provide the ability to focus on high-risk transformative technologies to improve health care and outcomes for all Americans.

The final bill requires Federally administered surveys to collect information on sexual orientation, and gender identity. The list of surveys affected by this bill is over 130 and includes the decennial Census. The information requested by this bill is deeply personal and involves a person’s internal state of being. I have to point out that the Federal government does not have a good track record of protecting Americans’ private information, as evidenced by data breaches over the last several years.

The final concern with this bill is that it is asking about very personal information without a clear statutory or regulatory need, but we are still not asking for a person’s citizenship status.



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