114th Congress and Global Health: House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee

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The November 2014 election saw Republicans gain the majority in the Senate, putting both houses of Congress under GOP control for the first time since 2006, and giving the party control over hearings and legislative action with leadership of all committees and subcommittees. As the new Senate majority and continuing House majority set the legislative agenda for the coming session, Science Speaks 114th Congress series this week will look at changes to committees pivotal to global health concerns, including new leaders, new faces, and new subcommittees, with newly defined jurisdictions. You can also check out the IDSA Center for Global Health Policy listing of relevant House and Senate committee and subcommittee membership at the link below.

The House Energy and Commerce Committee and its Health Subcommittee, which oversees budget and policy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health get new Ranking members as Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) replaces Rep. Henry Waxman on the committee, and Rep. Gene Green (D-Tx) takes his role on the subcommittee.

Fred_Upton_113th_CongressRep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) remains Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which he has led since 2010. On his web site Rep. Upton highlights the role his committee played in the passage of the HIV Organ and Policy Equity (HOPE) Act, which allows research to advance the possibility of organ transplantation between individuals with HIV. He voted for the legislation authorizing PEPFAR in 2003, against the reauthorization act in 2008.

FrankPalloneRep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) served as Ranking Member of the Health Subcommittee from 2006 to 2014.He has drawn attention to the HIV epidemic in his jurisdiction, called for support of HIV vaccine research, and citing the global burden of tuberculosis and rising rates of drug-resistant disease, supported the Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act. He voted in favor of authorizing PEPFAR in 2003, and reauthorizing PEPFAR in 2008.

Health Subcommittee

Joe_PittsRep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa) – continues to chair the Health Subcommittee, which he has led since 2010. He voted in favor of the act that authorized PEPFAR, but while his web site says that he has become “widely recognized as a principled, respected voice on international human rights issues such as religious freedom, trafficking in persons, refugee and IDP issues, HIV/AIDS relief, and foreign aid,” he voted against reauthorizing the act in 2008. Instead, he led a move to prevent the President from waiving the requirement that a third of U.S. global HIV prevention funding go to programming emphasizing abstinence from sex until marriage.

Congressman Gene Green PhotoRep. Gene Green (D -Tx) – replaces Rep. Pallone as the subcommittee’s Ranking Member. The Congressman, with Rep. Pitts and Rep. Pallone, recently reintroduced H.R. 639, legislation to speed approval of new medical therapies. The co-chair of the Congressional Tuberculosis Caucus (launched in 2012 with Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Rep. Don Young (R-AK),  Rep. Green last session sponsored H.R. 5835, the Comprehensive TB Elimination Act of 2014, a bill seeking to address shortages of anti-tuberculosis drugs and to prioritize U.S. programs responding to tuberculosis among foreign born, homeless, and uninsured populations.

See the IDSA Center for Global Health Policy Guide to the 114th Congress here.

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