Capitol Hill: Upton To Lead Energy and Commerce; Dems Unveil Budget Bill, Senate Considers 9/11 Worker Health Bill
The race for a key GOP leadership position appears to be settled.
The Hill: Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) "is in position to become the next chairman of the powerful House Committee on Energy and Commerce," which puts him in "an enviable position for any House Republican, as he will lead efforts to investigate, repeal and replace the new health care reform law." Upton received the endorsement of the Republican steering committee Tuesday night (Millman, 12/7).
Detroit Free Press: "In a statement from his office on Tuesday, Upton said he remains committed to 'the fight to repeal' health care reform enacted this year and cutting spending and regulations. 'If we have learned anything these last two years of soaring unemployment and out-of-control spending, it is that government is not the answer to all our ills - it is, in fact, the root cause of many of them,' he said. 'The Obama administration is on notice - they will not be allowed to regulate what they have been unable to legislate'" (Spangler, 12/8).
Dallas Morning News: Upton was selected over Rep. Joe Barton, who "ran an aggressive campaign that questioned his rival's voting record. The decision means that Barton, R-Texas, won't lead the GOP effort to repeal the health care law or stymie the Obama administration's efforts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions and Internet traffic (Michaels, 12/8).
Meanwhile, in legislative action, The Associated Press: House Democrats unveiled a 423-page spending bill which would freeze budgets of most cabinet departments, capping operating budgets at $1.2 trillion. The bill would give health care programs for veterans and the military a boost, and a "widely backed food safety bill is hitching a ride on the legislation" (Taylor, 12/8).
The Wall Street Journal: "U.S. Senators are scheduled to take a key vote Wednesday on a long-stalled bill to provide health care and financial compensation to sick Ground Zero workers." On Tuesday, New York senators "made 11th-hour appeals as they tried to find one more Republican senator to support the measure, which would likely give them the votes necessary to overcome a filibuster. The measure has already passed in the House, and proponents of the measure say the lame-duck vote in the Senate is their last, best chance to make it law, because next year's GOP-controlled House isn't expected to support it" (Barrett, 12/8).
The Hill: The House will take up a new food-safety bill this week, after one that passed in the Senate last week "contained tax provisions that, according to the Constitution, must originate in the House. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters Tuesday that the lower chamber this week will take up a new House bill, in hopes of sending it back to the Senate before the weekend." This week's proposal will "more closely resemble the Senate-passed version, Hoyer indicated" (Lillis, 12/7).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.