Bush Appoints HHS Deputy Secretary Claude Allen as Domestic Policy Adviser
President Bush has named HHS Deputy Secretary Claude Allen -- who was twice denied a Senate confirmation vote when President Bush nominated him for a federal judgeship -- as his domestic policy adviser, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan announced on Wednesday, the AP/Boston Globe reports (Loven, AP/Boston Globe, 1/6). Bush nominated Allen for the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in the spring of 2003 and again in January 2004. However, the nomination started a battle in the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Republicans were not able to vote to move the nomination to the Senate floor. Comprehensive sex education advocates have criticized Allen for his support of abstinence-only sex education. As HHS deputy secretary, Allen has supported doubling federal funding for abstinence-only education and has said that encouraging teenagers to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage is the best way to prevent pregnancy, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases (Kaiser Daily Reproductive Health Report, 1/22/04). At the closing of the 2003 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta, Allen called for abstinence to be a "key pillar" of HIV prevention programs aimed at young people in the United States, which drew criticism from HIV advocates attending the closing of the meeting. "Encouraging young people and young adults to abstain is the only appropriate initial strategy," Allen said, adding, "Delaying sexual debut is the first message they should hear" (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 7/31/03). "Claude Allen has been a valuable member of my administration since 2001, helping to improve the health and welfare of all Americans," Bush said in a White House release, adding, "He is a dedicated public servant and a tireless advocate for those in need. I look forward to his continued service in this new role as my domestic policy adviser" (White House release, 1/5). Allen will replace Margaret Spellings, who Bush nominated to be secretary of education (Reuters, 1/5).
A kaisernetwork.org webcast of Allen's speech at the closing ceremony of the 2003 National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta is available online.