Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
The Subcommittee has responsibility for oversight of agencies, departments, and programs within the jurisdiction of the full committee — energy, health care, Medicare, EPA, FCC, FTC, Commerce Department, FDA, NRC — and for conducting investigations within such jurisdiction.
Stearns is leading the investigation into the Solyndra loan guarantee, a company that received $535 million in taxpayer funds that declared bankruptcy last summer. Stearns has uncovered inadequate oversight, a rush to approval, and political influence.
Stearns also is requiring Planned Parenthood to account for its use of taxpayer dollars, including the $487 million it received last year. This is the first time that Planned Parenthood has ever been asked to account for its use of public dollars.
In addition, Stearns is holding a series of hearings on regulations and the White House efforts on regulatory reform.
Veterans Affairs Committee, served as Deputy Republican Leader and Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee (1997 – 2000)
As a veteran, Stearns is an effective advocate for those who served our nation. He is leading the effort to expand immunization for our veterans as well as offering legislation to enhance the VA’s ability to help veterans find employment.
Through his efforts, a new Patient Bed Tower was built at the Gainesville VA Medical Hospital to increase patient privacy and to provide new clinics on the first floor.
Stearns also succeeded in establishing the new Regional VA Healthcare Facility in south Marion County.
In meeting the needs of our veterans, Stearns drafted language establishing a new VA cemetery in northeast Florida, and this provision led to the opening of the Jacksonville National Cemetery.
Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee (2001 – 2006)
Addressing bothersome telephone calls, Stearns led the effort to establish the Do-No-Call list blocking unsolicited commercial calls.
He also rewrote legislation preventing Spyware, software that tracks a person’s computer use without their knowledge, which was approved by the House.
Stearns pushed for greater protection of American intellectual property in international trade agreements. America is the world leader in intellectual property.
Stearns conducted the most extensive hearings on the issue of privacy and developed privacy legislation as well as holding hearings on data security and writing a bill to protect consumers from data breaches.
He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Vietnam War era in aerospace engineer and in satellite reconnaissance, and left the service with the rank of Captain.
After working for other companies, Stearns started his own successful motel and restaurant business. As a community leader, Stearns was urged to run for Congress and he was elected in 1988.
Stearns lives with his wife Joan in Ocala; they have three adult sons and one grandchild.