04.04.22

Updates on Lowering the Costs of Insulin, Making Government Work Better, and Delivering New Federal Investments for Our Region

Hello Folks -

I hope this finds you well. It’s been a busy few weeks – so let’s dive right in!

Lowering the Costs of Insulin

In the greatest country on the planet, you shouldn’t go broke if you or a loved one needs medication. Unfortunately, prescription drug costs in our nation are simply unacceptable.

For my family and for so many families, these issues regarding the accessibility and affordability of prescription drugs are not theoretical policy conversations. They are real, and they are personal. I know just how important it is for individuals and families throughout Washington state that we continue to look into ways to keep prescription drug costs down.

We know that across the country, Americans currently face an average price of $98.70 for a unit of insulin — ten times higher than in other wealthy nations. That’s causing a huge affordability crisis for the nearly 9% of Washingtonians living with diabetes.

That’s why, this week, I was proud to vote in favor of the Affordable Insulin Now Act – legislation that will cap out-of-pocket expenses to ensure that Washington families pay no more than $35 for a monthly supply of insulin. Capping the cost of insulin in the United States is a common-sense move – and will save money for thousands of Washingtonians. I’ll keep working to ensure Congress passes more comprehensive legislation to bring down the costs of prescription drugs across the board.

Improving Government Efficiency & Saving Taxpayers Money

As many readers of this newsletter know, one of my main goals in this job is to get government working better for folks. As part of that effort, I’ve been leading the House Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress (aka the “Fix Congress” Committee) – a bipartisan effort to improve government efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency.

Last year, the Fix Congress Committee looked at how to strengthen government oversight. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) provides Congress, the heads of executive agencies, and the public with fact-based, non-partisan information that can be used to improve government and save taxpayers billions of dollars. In 2020, GAO’s work generated over $77 billion in benefits for Congress and the American people—a return of about $114 for every dollar invest in GAO. In fact, just this past year, the GAO found 112 additional actions that could make a difference for taxpayers. But that will only happen if Congress acts on those recommendations.

Unfortunately, too many of GAO’s recommendations are going unimplemented by Congress and relevant agencies – and there’s lots of room for improvement. So last week, I worked with the Republican Vice Chair of the Fix Congress Committee and a bipartisan group of lawmakers, including leading Democrats and Republicans on the House Oversight Committee, to introduce the Improving Government for America’s Taxpayers Act. This legislation will push for the implementation of GAO recommendations, help improve government efficiency, and save taxpayers money. This bill is about making government work better and saving taxpayers’ money. 

You can read more about the legislation and its potential impact in The Hill.

Image

Image

Building Affordable Housing & Creating Jobs in Tacoma

Our region had challenges with affordable housing and homelessness before the COVID-19 pandemic – and those challenges have only been exacerbated by it. The federal government needs to be a strong partner as we work to address those challenges.

That’s why I was excited to visit Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood to celebrate an important $4.5 million investment I was able to secure to help advance two critical projects to increase affordable housing and create more jobs.

Image

First, I was able to secure new federal funding for the Tacoma Housing Authority’s Hilltop Housing and Commercial project. This project will bring approximately 200 units of affordable housing and approximately 20,000 sq. ft. of commercial space for predominately BIPOC-owned businesses.  Additionally, I was able to secure federal funding for the Hilltop Attainable Housing and Businesses Development project, which aims to provide more housing, create more jobs, and to help ensure the residential and business spaces will be attainable to community residents and BIPOC-owned businesses.

I’m excited that together, we’re making real progress to provide more affordable housing, spur economic growth, and continue on the path toward revitalizing this historic Tacoma neighborhood.

Image

Revitalizing Downtown Bremerton

I was thrilled to be in Bremerton to help celebrate new federal funding I was able to secure to support the City of Bremerton’s Quincy Square Project – which aims to revitalize a downtown area with investments in affordable housing and a day-to-night urban center with focused arts, entertainment, and evening-centric retail spaces. Having the federal government step up with some support means that the cost of this project won’t be borne by taxpayers in Kitsap County.

Image

This new funding will assist the construction phase of Quincy Square—providing critical support to help complete street reconstruction, landscape and stormwater improvements, and lighting and pedestrian improvements, among other things. This new investment will leverage public investment to honor the great Quincy Jones and help build long-term vitality in Bremerton’s downtown business core. I’m excited to see it move forward!

Image

Image

Working for You

Helping Folks Resolve Issues with the Federal Government

When folks have an issue with a federal agency, my dedicated casework team is here to help. Recently our team helped Platypus Marine in Port Angeles - a local business that was experiencing difficulties getting paid by the federal government. We got the call, went to work, and got a result, fast. Click the video to check out their story!

If you can't get an answer from a federal agency in a timely fashion, or if you feel you have been treated unfairly, my office may be able to help resolve a problem or get you the information you need. Reach out to us here.

Image

Celebrating Our Longshore Workers

From apples to automobiles, our longshore workers keep goods moving through our ports and are vital drivers of our region's economy. It was great to have U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh in Tacoma to meet with the awesome team at ILWU Local 23!

Image

Supporting Our Postal Workers

Postal workers play a critical role in our society, ensuring folks receive essential packages and letters - including medication, food, ballots, and notes from loved ones. It was great to meet with Postal Supervisors from Tacoma to talk about the ongoing work to continue to have the backs of our incredible postal workers!

Image

OK – that’s it for now, folks. As always, I’m honored to represent you.

Sincerely,

Derek