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Commending David L. Cavicke

Rep. Joe L. Barton

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Madam Speaker, my Chief of Staff on the Energy and Commerce Committee, David L. Cavicke, will be leaving the Committee in January after nearly 16 years of service on the Committee. Staff work quietly out of the spotlight, and I want to take this occasion to commend David for the many issues on which he provided counsel to the Members of the Committee and for his leadership of the Committee staff as Chief of Staff.

David joined the Committee staff in 1995, early in the tenure of Chairman Tom Bliley and Speaker Newt Gingrich. He came to Washington in his '84 Chevy Caprice with six suits and a 486 computer, knowing no one and hoping to contribute to the public policy changes following the historic 1994 election. Tom Bliley hired David as the Committee finance counsel based on a keen intellect, a creative gift for policy ideas that manifested itself in some of the most important changes made to financial regulation in the 1990s, a sense of due process and willingness to listen to all sides of an issue, as well as a very good sense of humor.

David helped Tom Bliley and Newt Gingrich develop and pass milestone legislation that included the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, the only public law to be enacted over President Clinton's veto.

He worked with Jack Fields and Ed Markey to pass The National Securities Markets Improvement Act of 1996, which preempted state regulatory authority over national securities offerings; required consideration of efficiency, competition and capital formation in addition to investor protection as elements of SEC rulemakings; and

David was also the lead staffer on the Committee's efforts to pass the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act that removed the Depression era's barriers between banking, investment and insurance. He worked closely with Republican Committee members and Democratic Committee members like John Dingell and Ed Markey to see that investors' interests would be protected and that the sovereign credit of the United States would not be extended to guarantee underwriting activities by banks. Had the Congress accepted the Committee's work product rather than watering down these protections in Conference, we might have avoided some of the financial problems we experienced at the end of 2008. Other products of his work for the Committee were the Securities Litigation Reform Uniform Standards legislation, which first asserted federal jurisdiction over class action lawsuits in securities matters, as well as E-SIGN, which made digital signatures enforceable in electronic commerce, facilitating legal certainty for internet commerce.

In Billy Tauzin's chairmanship, David worked on investigations into financial fraud at Enron and Arthur Andersen. His expertise in financial markets and training as a Wall Street lawyer proved vital to the work we did to expose wrongdoing at those firms. This expertise made him the natural choice to depose the key executives at those firms. He subsequently worked on accounting standards, anti-spam legislation, anti-spyware initiatives and legislation to protect consumers' personal data, as well as leading staff investigations into accounting fraud at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

When I became Chairman, I promoted David twice, first to be Committee General Counsel where he was a tireless advocate for the Committee's jurisdiction on behalf of Members of both parties. David made the arguments that finally caused the parliamentarians to recognize the Committee on Energy and Commerce's exclusive jurisdiction over telecommunications issues as a result of the passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

I then promoted David to be Committee Chief of Staff in 2007. He was the first person on the Republican side to have been promoted to Chief of Staff directly from the staff since the beginning of the Gingrich era.

In his role as chief staff strategist for the loyal opposition on the Committee to the Obama Administration, David's command of details and marshalling of resources made possible a legendary 17-day stand by a handful of Republican Members (me, Nathan Deal, John Shadegg and the rest of the gang of 23) against passage of the wide-ranging health reform law. Similarly, his careful planning helped the emboldened Republican minority resist the Administration's global warming bill until it was shelved. He has been a vigorous advocate for transparency--be it in government, or health care pricing.

Since becoming Chief of Staff, David has become the second best Texas Hold 'em player on the Committee. He beat Howard Lederer, a world champion poker player, in heads up play in a charity tournament this year. As Chief of Staff, he always defended the prerogatives of the Committee and its Members, for which we are very grateful. My colleagues and I on the Committee will certainly miss his good counsel, his great admiration for the institutional importance of the Committee, and his good cheer.

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