SEN. HATCH WILL REMAIN ON LABOR COMMITTEE AND KEEP ONE HEALTH STAFFER ON PANEL; REP. MOORHEAD IS RANKING REPUBLICAN ON HOUSE ENERGY & COMMERCE CMTE.
Sen. Hatch (Utah), the outgoing ranking Republican on the Senate Labor & Human Resources Committee, is expected to remain on the panel and stay active on health issues, with current health staffer Ann LaBelle staying on as a committee aide. Hatch gave up the top Republican post on the Labor panel to Sen. Kassebaum (R-Kan.) to take the same post on the Judiciary Committee ("The Pink Sheet" Nov. 9. p. 15). He is expected to join the Appropriations Committee and forego his Finance Committee seat. Hatch had just joined Finance in the 102nd Congress. Two other key members of the Labor Committee's minority staff also plan to remain with Hatch: Staff Director Kristine Iverson, whose role in the 103rd Congress has yet to be determined, and Chief Labor Counsel Sharon Prost, who will serve on the senator's Judiciary Committee staff. Another aide, Bruce Artim, has returned to the National Institutes of Health after a one-year leave. The Democratic side of the House and Senate could face some key losses if staffers are tapped to join the Clinton Administration. About a dozen Democratic Hill staffers have been helping with the Clinton transition ("The Pink Sheet" Dec. 14, p. 3 and Nov. 23, p. 12). Transition observers already are noting that some of the transition aides have developed skills during the Democrats' exile to Capitol Hill that match up well with positions the Clinton Administration must fill. For example, William Corr, staff director and chief counsel for Sen. Metzenbaum's (D-Ohio) Judiciary/Antitrust Subcommittee, is noted as a good candidate for HHS General Counsel. Corr, who previously served on Rep. Waxman's (D-Calif.) Energy and Commerce/Health Subcommittee, is coordinating the Public Health Service "cluster group" for the transition. Waxman staffer William Schultz has been spoken of as a possible candidate for FDA chief counsel, and Sen. Pryor's (D-Ark.) Aging Committee Deputy Staff Director Christopher Jennings is cited for the White House Office of Congressional Liaison staff. House Republicans have made several committee leadership decisions, with Rep. Moorhead (Calif.) selected as the ranking Republican on Energy & Commerce. This past year, Moorhead and Rep. Boucher (D-Va.) co-sponsored the biotechnology process patent bill (HR 1417). Moorhead fills a vacancy created by the retirement of Norman Lent (R-N.Y.). Republican assignments to the House committees were made Dec. 12. The appointments await final approval by the House Republican Caucus in January, but that is considered a formality. A 20-year House veteran, Moorhead, 70, brings considerable health care experience to the committee's top minority spot, primarily in the area of drug patent law. Moorhead was a player in the 1984 development of the landmark Waxman/Hatch ANDA patent restoration law. However, Moorhead's staging area for drug patent bills has tended to be the House Judiciary/Intellectual Property Subcommittee, of which he has been ranking minority member. Should he, as ranking Republican on a major committee (Commerce), not be able to retain the Judiciary post, Rep. Coble (R-N.C.) is next in seniority on Judiciary. The senior Republican for the Commerce/Health Subcommittee will not be chosen until January; the post is open due to Rep. Dannemeyer's (R-Calif.) unsuccessful Senate bid. Seven new Republicans are joining Energy & Commerce: Reps. Cliff Stearns (Fla.), Bill Paxon (N.Y.), Paul Gillmor (Ohio), Scott Klug (Wis.) and Gary Franks (Conn.), along with freshmen Jim Greenwood (Penn.) and Michael Crapo (Idaho). Rep. Sonny Callahan (R-Ala.) is leaving the committee to take a seat on Appropriations. The Ways and Means Committee, unlike Energy and Commerce, contains no freshman among its five new GOP members: Reps. Amo Houghton (N.Y.), Wally Herger (Calif.), Jim McCrery (La.), Mel Hancock (Mo.) and Rick Santorum (Pa.).
You may also be interested in...
Newly released Medicare Part D data sheds light on the sales hit that branded pharmaceutical manufacturers will face when the coverage gap discount program gets under way in 2011
FDA appears headed for a showdown with clinicians and the pharmaceutical industry over the proposed new clinical trial endpoints for acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections, the guidance's approach for justifying a non-inferiority margin and proposed changes in the types of patients that should be enrolled in trials
Specialty drug maker Shire has quietly begun scouting deals with a brand-new $50 million venture fund, the latest of several in-house investment arms to launch with their parent company's pipelines, not profits, as the measure of their worth