Feb. 13, 2009 - Markey Hails Final House Passage of Economic Recovery Package

Bill includes several Markey-led initiatives, including renewable energy programs, strong privacy protections for patients’ medical records and broadband deployment

 WASHINGTON, D.C. – Representative Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), who chairs key energy and global warming panels in the House, today hailed the final House passage of the economic recovery package.

 “This economic recovery package will strengthen the health of our economy and the health of our people,” said Rep. Markey.  “It will harness the power of green energy to help consumers save money and heal our planet.  This package will create or save 3.5 million jobs, provide tax breaks to 95 percent of Americans and will help launch the green energy revolution.”

 The final version of the recovery package included several key provisions championed by Rep. Markey.

 

During consideration of the package in the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Markey successfully attached an amendment to the bill to include vital privacy protections for patients’ electronic medical information. The amendment requires that medical records be made indecipherable to unauthorized users when the information is transmitted in health IT systems and stored on removable devices such as laptops, flash drives and similar items. 

 “I am pleased that the final bill includes a provision that I authored to keep consumers’ medical records safe from prying eyes,” Rep. Markey said. “Our medical records are among the most sensitive information we have about ourselves, so it is essential patients’ privacy is protected in our health IT systems.”

 During House floor debate on the recovery package, Rep. Markey offered an amendment to require that “smart grid” investments use open platforms to spur innovation in smart grid technology.

 Markey also successfully fought to strip $1 billion in unnecessary funding for nuclear weapons activities from the package after the funding was added to the Senate version of the bill.

 In addition, Markey pushed for investments in broadband infrastructure to unserved and underserved areas. Networks funded by taxpayers permit reasonable interconnection and nondiscriminatory treatment of providers of services and content.

 As chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, Chairman Markey held many hearings on key energy issues that are included in the package, and pushed for several initiatives that are included in the economic recovery package, including:
 --Increased investments in building weatherization projects totaling $5 billion.
--Grants for state energy programs totaling $6.3 billion.
--Grants and loans totaling $2 billion for advanced hybrid battery and clean car technology.
--Investments totaling $11 billion to create a smart grid that delivers electricity more securely and efficiently.