Now its time to get down to work, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a statement after the Senateby unanimous consentconfirmed William Corr to be HHS deputy secretary on May 7.
Senate OKs three top execs
That same day, Yvette Roubideaux was also approved as administrator of the Indian Health Service, and Margaret Hamburg, President Barack Obamas choice for commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration was positively received at a hearing of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
So far, the choices have received positive support. Richard Pollack, the American Hospital Associations executive vice president of advocacy and public policy, said Corrs background makes him uniquely qualified.
Corr worked as HHS chief of staff during the Clinton administration, as chief counsel for former U.S. Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and as counsel to the Subcommittee on Health and the Environment of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Having previously served as chief of staff at the department gives him an intimate knowledge of the department and its operation, Pollack said. Also, having been both a House staffer and a Senate staffer, he certainly understands both politics and policy. Ive worked with him in the past and know him to be very capable and to have great integrity.
The selection of Hamburg, a former New York City commissioner of health and currently a senior scientist at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, garnered praise from Sidney Wolfe, the acting president of the Public Citizen consumer advocacy group and founder and director of its Health Research Group. Wolfe praised the choice of Baltimore health commissioner and former Public Citizen staffer Joshua Sharfstein as principal deputy commissioner as well, but also advocated for the ouster of some current FDA officials.
The consideration of Peggy Hamburg and Josh Sharfstein as the number one and two people is pretty unprecedented in having two people with on-the-ground public health experience, Wolfe said. Between the two of them, the FDA would have two people with public health backgrounds who can work on coping with the serious public health issues we face. Were optimistic.
But Wolfe said positive change at the FDA is not going to happen unless Daniel Schultz, director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health, and Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, are removed.
You not only need good people at the top, but good people at the centers, Wolfe said. They have to get rid of the people who are in the way.
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