Today the US Senate majority Democrats announced their committee assignments for the next Congress. While lots of attention was heaped on the appointment of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to the Banking Committee, we were thrilled to learn that she also was named to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, usually called the HELP Committee.
The Committee works on a wide variety of health issues, with Medicare and Medicaid being the notable exclusions. They oversee public health and health insurance issues. Their jurisdiction includes most of the agencies and programs of the Department of Health and Human Services, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Administration on Aging, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Of course, Senator Edward Kennedy was a long-time HELP Committee member, chair in 2001 and 2007-2009, and chair of its predecessor committee, Labor and Human Resources from 1987 to 1995. We look forward to working closely with Senator Warren as she fills his shoes and begins her health-related work as she takes office in January.