HOUSE ENERGY & COMMERCE/HEALTH SUBCOMMITTEE ADDS DEMOCRATIC REPS.
HOUSE ENERGY & COMMERCE/HEALTH SUBCOMMITTEE ADDS DEMOCRATIC REPS. Studds (Mass.), Kostmayer (Penn.) and Bryant (Texas) for the 102nd Congress. The three replace Reps. Collins (Ill.) and Eckart (Ohio), who moved to other subcommittees, and former Rep. Bates (Calif.), who was defeated in his re-election bid. Three Republicans also were added to the subcommittee chaired by Rep. Waxman (D-Calif.). These were Reps. McMillan (N.C.), Hastert (Ill.) and Holloway (La.), the latter two new to the full Energy & Commerce Committee. The three subcommittee Republicans replace retired House members Whittaker (Kan.), Tauke (Iowa) and Nielson (Utah). McMillan, who joined the full committee in the 101st Congress, reportedly plans to assemble a working group of medical professionals to advise him on health care reform options. Staff indicate that the group will be drawn from his 9th district, which includes the Charlotte area, and will focus on health care access and cost containment issues. Subcommittee assignments were made at a Feb. 4 organizational meeting for Democrats on the full committee. Committee Republicans met Feb. 5 to choose subcommittee assignments. Of special interest to the Health Subcommittee is the designation of a ranking Republican member in the wake of Rep. Madigan's (R-Ill.) nomination as Agriculture secretary. In line for the subcommittee's top Republican slot is Rep. Dannemeyer (Calif.), one of the more conservative members of the House, particularly with respect to AIDS issues. His stance on HIV disease and its victims has made him a natural antagonist to Subcommittee Chairman Waxman (D-Calif.). Staffers to Dannemeyer say the California Republican wants the ranking position if Madigan is confirmed, but because the committee makes subcommittee assignments "from scratch," it could place another Republican in the post. The Bush Administration reportedly does not support Dannemeyer's elevation to ranking Republican position on the subcommittee. None of the new Democrats on the subcommittee has much experience in health legislation. Kostmayer, 44, who was first elected in 1977, lists child and maternal health and family planning among health issues of interest. Elected in 1982, Bryant, 43, reportedly is particularly interested in medical research and access to health care. In the House Ways & Means/Health subcommittee, a Jan. 23 GOP organizational meeting decided that Rep. Gradison (Ohio) will remain as ranking minority member. The Ohio Republican had hoped to add the Ways and Means/Trade Subcommittee to his list of assignments for the 102nd Congress, but gave up on that idea when it became clear that he would have to leave the health panel, chaired by Rep. Stark (D-Calif.). Gradison was willing to give up the ranking Republican title, but not his seat on the subcommittee. Gradison was also approved Jan. 23 by the Republican Conference as ranking GOP on the House Budget Committee. In addition to Gradison, Republicans assigned to the Ways & Means/Health Subcommittee were Reps. Chandler (Wash.), Johnson (Conn.) and new health panel member McGrath (N.Y.). McGrath replaces Rep. Crane (Conn.), who was on the Health Subcommittee for one term but was not active. McGrath, 48, was elected to the House in 1980. His primary health policy concerns are hospital and physician reimbursement and health care access for the underinsured.
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