Washington Personalities: Lobbyist Tauzin Shakes It Up; More On OMB Director’s Impending Departure
Roll Call honed in on some Washington gossip Tuesday.
Roll Call: Billy Tauzin, the former Louisiana lawmaker, will leave his job as the president of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America next Wednesday, and part ways -- for the first time in 18 years -- with his trusty communications director, Ken Johnson. As Roll Call puts it, "The sun is setting on a K Street bromance." Tauzin is likely to start a lobbying firm with his son Tom or practice law in Texas, while Johnson will pursue other work. The two were said to be "attached at the hip" (Murray, 6/23).
Roll Call: Cecil Wilson, an internist and "avid sailor," became president of the American Medical Association at "a particularly tempest-tossed time" last week. "The group has been waging a massive campaign to prod Congress to fix a Medicare formula that has resulted in a 21 percent cut in payments to physicians starting this month. And once-friendly relations with Republicans have soured, in part, because GOP lawmakers were annoyed at the AMA for endorsing the Democratic health care reform plan." Doctors were split over that endorsement (Roth, 6/23).
Meanwhile, news outlets also continue to explore the upcoming departure of OMB Chief Peter Orszag.
Modern Healthcare: "Orszag, former director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, played a pivotal role in the healthcare reform debate, aggressively pushing the concept of a White House-appointed independent advisory board that would make recommendations on annual Medicare payment rates. Orszag said the panel would 'represent a critical step forward in creating a healthcare system that rewards quality, restrains unnecessary costs and provides better care to more Americans.' Ultimately, the Independent Payment Advisory Board was included in the final healthcare reform package" (Lubell, 6/22).
Fedblog reports on a reaction from Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. "Peter Orszag has served his country at a time of unprecedented budgetary and economic peril, facing challenges beyond the norm for OMB and those who lead it. Moving ahead, the next OMB Director will face tremendous challenges in righting our long-term fiscal imbalance and starting to close our enormous gaps in the debt and deficit. I look forward to working with whoever that Director is to tackle these historic problems facing our country. In the meantime, I wish Dr. Orszag all the best in his future endeavors and his return to private life" (Newell, 6/22).
NPR: "Unless something unexpected happens in the next few weeks, Orszag will be the first cabinet member to leave the administration" (Goldstein, 6/22).