Senate Finance, HELP Committees Work Separately on Health Reform Bills They Will Combine in Early Summer
Aides to the Senate Finance Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday confirmed that they intend to work on different health care reform bills that will eventually be combined on the Senate floor, likely after mark ups take place in early summer, CQ Today reports. Anthony Coley, a spokesperson for HELP Committee Chair Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), said Kennedy and Finance Committee Chair Max Baucus (D-Mont.) "are working very closely together" and "have established a joint process that will culminate in complementary legislation on the floor by early summer."
According to CQ Today, aides to the committees meet every other Friday to discuss their efforts and the chairs of each committee have each established working groups that meet regularly with industry and lobby organizations. CQ Today reports that the Finance Committee is expected to mark up a bill in June, with the intention to send it to the floor soon after, while the HELP Committee also is expected to have a mark up around that time, but has yet to confirm an exact date (Armstrong, CQ Today, 4/15).
In related news, Mark Childress will join Kennedy's office as a top adviser on health care reform. Childress -- who served on President Obama's transition team and has worked for Kennedy and former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-N.D.) -- was going to serve as chief of staff of HHS until Daschle withdrew his nomination as HHS secretary (CongressDaily, 4/15).