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HHS SECRETARY-DESIGNATE SHALALA'S CONFIRMATION HEARING SLATED FOR JAN. 14

This article was originally published in The Gray Sheet

Executive Summary

HHS SECRETARY-DESIGNATE SHALALA'S CONFIRMATION HEARING SLATED FOR JAN. 14 before the Senate Finance Committee. The Finance Committee must subsequently vote on whether to recommend that the full Senate confirm Shalala's nomination. President-elect Clinton nominated the University of Wisconsin-Madison chancellor for the HHS position on Dec. 11 ("The Gray Sheet" Dec. 14, p. 11). Shalala may undergo thorough questioning by the committee, but her nomination is expected to sail smoothly through the Democratic Senate. Though some conservatives have voiced concern about Shalala's reputation as a strong liberal, as exemplified by an effort to establish a code against "hate speech" on the Wisconsin campus, such objections may be quieted if, as expected, Wisconsin officials introducing Shalala at the hearing include either Republican Gov. Tommy Thompson or Rep. Scott Klug. Shalala traveled to Capitol Hill on Jan. 8 in keeping with the tradition of administration nominees paying courtesy visits to members of Congress. Finance Ranking Republican Bob Packwood (Ore.) was among the senators who met with her. The Finance Committee hearing is expected to be chaired by incoming Chairman Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.), part of the transferring of responsibilities from current committee chairman and Treasury Secretary-designate Lloyd Bentsen (D-Tex.). Bentsen's own confirmation hearing before the Finance Committee is scheduled for Jan. 12. Bentsen and Moynihan have not announced yet whether they will give their current staffers new positions when the chairmanship changes hands. Moynihan's legislative aide for health policy, Faye Drummond, has worked for the senator since 1978. She holds an MPH from Johns Hopkins and an MA in childhood education. Another aide on social issues, Paul Offner, was involved in one of Moynihan's major legislative proposals last year, a Medicaid managed care bill. Moynihan's chief counsel, Joseph Gale, oversees tax issues. Moynihan generally has been supportive of Sec. 936 tax credits.
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