It’s the hardworking part of that statement that Pallone considers his chief advantage. Pointing to his record on getting environmental legislation passed to clean up oceans and shore up coastlines, his ability to secure grants and reimbursements to Sandy victims and deliver large aid packages to other storm-relief efforts, and his work as a coauthor of the Affordable Care Act, Pallone says he’s extremely proud of his effectiveness. “My [record] is second to none in terms of significance of legislation that can make a difference,” he said.
Calling the Affordable Care Act the most important thing he’s done in Congress, Pallone says he worries about “the little guy” getting left behind by the slash-and-burn policies of Tea Party activists and their Republican followers who attempt to, as Pallone said, “cut everything.”
His biggest priority as a lawmaker is to grow the economy, which he hopes to do by investing in R&D, reaching across the aisle to work with moderate Republicans, and closing loopholes in the corporate tax structure, something he believes will ultimately encourage domestic job growth and raise revenue. To ease life for the lower and middle classes, he aims to lift the sequester, preserve social security and Medicare, and rewrite the personal tax code to make it more economically equitable.
He does have the platforms from which to enact change. He’s Communications Chair of the Democratic Policy Committee, which allows him to develop and coordinate the party’s message on the floor of the House. He serves as a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which oversees energy, environment, healthcare, commerce and telecommunications, and he’s the highest-ranking Democrat [and former chair] on the Subcommittee on Health, which has jurisdiction over Medicaid, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and Medicare. In this role, he’s dedicated part of his time to introducing legislation that seeks to ensure access to safe drugs and medical devices, modernize the food safety system, and extend healthcare coverage to greater numbers of low- and middle-income children. He also sits on the Committee's Environment and Economy Subcommittee and the Communications and Technology Subcommittee and is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, which sets policy for fisheries, oceans, and the coasts.