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Republicans in Congress Need to Actually Lead

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

You would think Hillary Clinton won the election judging by what Congress is producing.

Senator Elizabeth “Fauxcahontas” Warren (D-Mass.) is having her way with congressional Republicans. She has to be smiling at her good fortune. Her Republican opposition doesn’t seem inclined to oppose anything she sets her mind to.

Republicans and the House Commerce Committee will be putting forth legislation soon called the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA). It’s a bill that is likely to pass and Senator Warren has attached an amendment to it. That amendment will expand regulation of sound amplification devices. The FDA’s regulatory authority over these auditory devices will result in less access for the elderly and higher prices for all consumers.

Sound amplification devices are currently sold over the counter at places like Best Buy or Bass Pro Shop to hunters, bird watchers, and any average American. This has been going on for years without any oversight or intervention from the government. If Senator Warren has her way that will all change. The only thing stopping her are Congressional Republicans.

How many amendments did the Freedom Caucus or Senator Ted Cruz add to Democratic bills when the Democrats were in power? Of course, none. That is because when the Democrats are in control they don’t listen to a word the Republicans say. They definitely don’t let them add conservative amendments to legislation.

If the Republicans in Congress and House Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden don’t grow a spine they are likely to get scalped by Senator Warren. If she is allowed to attach her government growing amendment to an otherwise conservative piece of legislation it will be a major coup for her and the Democrats. She will simply solidify her lead as the likely candidate to run against Trump in 2020.

Treating innocuous hearing devices like they are medical hearing aids will only have one result. The same result that happens every time Democrats try to help the private sector. Availability will go down and prices will go up.

More than 20 conservative groups have rightly described Senator Warren’s amendment as a "big government ploy to create more regulations."

She takes her attack even further by employing complete untruths to push her agenda. Of course, that has never stopped her before. She claims that her amendment deregulates the hearing aid industry and will lead to greater access. There is no way that claim meets any standard of truth. In the era of “Fake News” this one takes the cake.

Expanding the federal government and empowering bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration to take control of a formerly free market is the opposite of deregulation. Her amendment goes even further and makes it impossible for the states to play any role in her new government overreach.

Adding a new layer of government and claiming it is the free market while shutting out the states at the same time is a stroke of liberal genius. It’s even more astonishing that she has the congressional Republicans close to letting it go right on through to become law.

Why would Senator Warren care so much about over the counter hearing devices?

Some speculate it’s good old fashioned payback. If her amendment passes, it will open the door for major corporations like Samsung and Bose to enter the quasi-hearing aid market allowing them to market these devices as an “over the counter” medical hearing aid.

Sound amplifying devices are not the same as medical hearing aids. Senator Warren and the federal government should not treat them that way just to ingratiate her with mega donors.

It’s time for Republicans in the House and the Senate to stand up for smaller government. Letting Senator Warren have her way is simply more proof that Congressional Republicans don’t have the courage to lead.

Mr. Walden and his friends in the Commerce Committee have the opportunity to say no to a liberal regulatory dream come true. Hopefully, they will.

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