Istook’s Interest in HHS Appropriations Chair ‘Worries’ Some GOP Leaders
Rep. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) is looking to become chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, David Baumann writes in his "Capitol Corridors" column on NationalJournal.com -- but some GOP leaders are "worried" that such a "hard-line conservative" would have trouble "produc[ing] bills that can pass the House." Baumann writes that chairs of Appropriations subcommittees "have a tendency to be more moderate," like outgoing Labor-HHS subcommittee chair Rep. John Porter (R-Ill.). Istook, on the other hand, "has pushed" for conservative legislation that "kept the Labor-HHS funding bill from coming to the floor" one year. Among his proposals: banning the enactment of a local District of Columbia law requiring contraceptive benefits in health plans, prohibiting needle exchange programs and requiring parents to be notified before their children receive contraceptives from federally financed family planning clinics. Although an Istook aide told Baumann he does not "think it's any secret" his boss wants to chair the Labor subcommittee, House Republican leaders haven't yet made their decision, and given the Oklahoman's conservative leanings, Baumann writes, "If things fall right, then Istook might be in line for the job. But chances are excellent he won't get it" (Baumann, NationalJournal.com, 11/30).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.