Congressman Griffith's Weekly E-Newsletter 7.20.15

The Iran Nuclear Deal – Many Tough Questions

I, like many, am very concerned and skeptical about the announced agreement between the United States, five other nations, and Iran.  I am studying the terms of the deal, but continue to have reservations.

Interestingly, it is not just Republicans expressing concerns about this agreement.  Among other examples:

  • “Verification is going to be very critical,” the National Journal quotes House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) as having said. He continued, “Without verification, this is a useless agreement. Without verification that’s meaningful and effective, it’s not an agreement that I can support.”
  • Representative Grace Meng (D-NY) said at a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “I’ll say at the outset that while I reserve final judgment on the deal until I am able to read it through completely, I’m deeply concerned and disappointed by what appears to be in its terms.”

I don’t understand how the Administration could have negotiated this deal without having included the handful of American prisoners being held in Iran.

After all, the President was willing to swap five Taliban prisoners in order to return to the United States a man who, under the best interpretation, walked away from his post – Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.

On the positive side, while Americans are discouraged from using U.S. coal, apparently the President is okay with lifting restrictions on the Iranians importing it.

Another Week, Another Coal Rule?

On July 16, the U.S. Department of Interior proposed a new rule which, according to U.S. News and World Report would “…require companies to restore streams and return mined areas to a condition capable of supporting the land uses available before mining activities took place.  Companies also would have to replant native trees and vegetation.”

Just as companies, states, etc. come to understand one coal rule, the Administration comes out with another.  No wonder industry is afraid to use coal, and our coal-related jobs are quickly being diminished.

The Disturbing Planned Parenthood Video

As you may know, a Planned Parenthood senior staffer – Dr. Deborah Nucatola, Senior Director of Medical Services – is seen in a video made public last week discussing certain abortion procedures and, specifically, fetal tissue collection and sale to tissue companies.

I am appalled by Dr. Nucatola’s comments.  My interpretation of Planned Parenthood’s position is they do not believe they are dealing with a real child, with a real life, when they perform an abortion.  But based on this video, Dr. Nucatola appears to acknowledge that they are dealing with real hearts, livers, lungs, etc., and that these organs do in fact have value.

My colleagues and I on the Energy and Commerce Committee will be investigating this.  We will hold a hearing and decide what is the proper legislative response to this sickening video.

Pipeline Safety

Last week, I had the opportunity to discuss pipeline safety with a number of experts at a Subcommittee on Energy and Power hearing.  Among other things, I noted at the hearing that as a result in part of the pressure being placed on electric generation companies by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, two major pipelines have been proposed coming through our region.

Many, understandably, are concerned about pipeline safety, especially given that states, communities, individuals, etc. are having to deal with the consequences of these EPA regulations faster than the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has been implementing various pipeline safety regulations in accordance with the pipeline safety law passed in 2011.  Videos from this hearing and others can be found on my YouTube page,

Rest assured I will continue pushing for answers and transparency.

Milk and Medicine

Among other recent events, I was grateful to have been able to attend the dedication of the newly constructed Virginia Tech Dairy Science Facility at Tech’s Kentland Farm research facility, and to join so many dedicated volunteers and support workers at the Remote Area Medical (RAM) Clinic in Wise.  According to press reports, preliminary numbers indicate that more than 2,000 people received medical care over the course of the weekend.

I want to thank the Health Wagon team for their continued efforts in spearheading the RAM event, as well the many organizations, private foundations, businesses, and the hundreds of volunteer doctors, dentists, nurses, medical students, and support workers whose efforts help make these kinds of events a huge success in Wise County.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office.  You can call my Abingdon office at 276-525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at 540-381-5671.  To reach my office via email, please visit my website at  Also on my website is the latest material from my office, including information on votes recently taken on the floor of the House of Representatives.


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