“[W]e must protect the intellectual property that is at the heart of America’s innovation engine,” said Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE) at Wednesday’s Ways and Means hearing. Pursing the TRIPS waiver without Congressional approval “hands over cutting-edge American IP to China, Russia, and other nefarious actors without any analysis of how the waiver would vaccinate the world.”
Has Congress been consulted? Although Ambassador Tai said “Congress, including this Committee, is our constitutional partner on trade” and expressed commitment to “close consultations and a robust partnership between our two branches of government,” Members expressed frustration at the lack of consultation on negotiations in Geneva.
“At last year's trade agenda hearing, Ambassador Tai, you stated that you would brief this committee before and after each negotiating session,” said Senate Finance Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) during Thursday’s hearing. “That hasn’t happened."
“No one on this committee appears to have known anything about the details of that agreement before it was announced,” echoed Sen. Foreign Relations Chair Robert Menendez (D-NJ). “We were kept in the dark.”
But is there an agreement or not? Ambassador Tai said “there has been no agreement,” adding that the text was a “concept,” per Reuters.
“I think the point, Ambassador, is it can bring us all together, because we need consultation apart from hearings,”chimed in Senate Finance Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR). “In other words, it just needs to be ongoing.”
Catch up: The hearings also covered agricultural trade issues in Mexico, the EU, and more—read our coverage.
More Health Care News:
Biopharma Dive: 5 FDA decisions to watch in the second quarter “Between April and June, the agency will advance key regulatory reviews in ALS and gene therapy as well as host an advisory meeting on cancer drugs.”
Science: Most complete human genome yet reveals previously indecipherable DNA “‘I don’t think we could have imagined this even 5 years ago, certainly not 10 years ago,’ says bioinformaticist Ewan Birney, deputy director of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and part of the original Human Genome Project.”
Gas prices are high – but biotech can help
We already have solutions to help lower prices at the pump, if we ensure policy and regulatory requirements keep up with the technology.
We also need to ensure regulatory requirements keep up with the technology. “EPA must update regulatory requirements for greenhouse gas emissions analysis to reflect the newest science and technology,” said BIO in a letter to EPA on Friday. “Relying on a single, stagnant version of a model jeopardizes the integrity of EPA processes and long-term decision making.”
But EPA doesn't have to wait for Congress, BIO said in comments then and now.
The bottom line: It’s possible to both reduce gas prices and address transportation emissions—if we lead with science and U.S. innovation by incentivizing the development of the technology and expediting regulatory pathways for sustainable fuels.
More Agriculture and Environment News:
The Des Moines Register: Ethanol supporters express frustration: Why isn't Biden tapping biofuels to lower gas prices? "As President Joe Biden pushed Thursday to expand U.S. oil production and tap strategic oil reserves to ease spiking gas prices, Iowa and U.S. farmers, congressional leaders and biofuel producers questioned why the administration isn't also looking to ethanol and biodiesel to help lower consumer costs."
The New York Times: In the ocean, it’s snowing microplastics “Tiny bits of plastic have infiltrated the deep sea’s main food source and could alter the ocean’s role in one of Earth’s ancient cooling processes, scientists say.”
What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: The Senate Judiciary Committee is expected to vote on U.S. Supreme Court nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson, which could send the vote to the full Senate as early as this week.
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