Some new leaders sworn in to 113th Congress
The 113th Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3, and the committees with the most influence over healthcare policy will have relatively few new faces. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) will remain at the head of the powerful Senate Finance Committee. That panel added two Democratic members, Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, to replace retired Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico. The committee’s new Republican members are Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Rob Portman of Ohio and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.
The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee also retained its chairman, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who gave up a chance to take over the powerful Appropriations Committee. He did so, he said, because he wanted to retain his leadership of the HELP Committee and the chairmanship of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies.
New Democratic members of the HELP panel were Sens. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Christopher Murphy of Connecticut and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.
The newest Republican on the HELP Com- mittee was Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is a former U.S. representative appointed by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley to take the seat of retired Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.).
The committee traditionally seen as the least active of the three has had the biggest changes. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) took over the chairmanship of the Special Committee on Aging, which addresses some Medicare issues.
Baldwin and Warren will join Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana as new Democratic members of the Aging panel. Its new Republican members were Sens. Scott, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Ted Cruz of Texas and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
In the lower chamber, Rep. Joe Pitts (RPa.) will continue to serve as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee and Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), a physician, will stay on as vice chairman.
New members of the majority party on that panel include Reps. Renee Ellmers (R-N.C.), a nurse; Ralph Hall (R-Texas) and Morgan Griffith (R-Va.). Democrats had not yet announced their new members.
A GOP aide for the House Ways and Means Committee’s majority side said the tax panel will not announce its committee or subcommittee members—including who will succeed the now-retired Rep. Wally Herger (R-Calif.) as chairman of the Health Subcommittee— until the House Steering Committee names the committee’s last member.
At deadline, an aide for the minority side of Ways and Means Committee had not responded about its roster.
Meanwhile, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) named Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) to succeed Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) as chairman of the panel’s Labor, HHS and Education Subcommittee. Rehberg lost his election for the U.S. Senate in November.
Vice President Joe Biden administers the Senate oath last week to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio).