April 30,2009

Finance Committee Reviews Nominations for Key Administration Posts

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) convened a hearing today to consider three nominations to key administration posts including William V. Corr, to be Deputy Secretary at Health and Human Services, Demetrios Marantis, to be Deputy United States Trade Representative (USTR), and Alan B. Krueger, to be Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Department of Treasury. Baucus was congratulatory of the appointments and impressed upon the nominees the importance of their efforts in addressing the critical issues facing the U.S. and the world.

“The President offers more strong choices for key administration positions in these three nominees. I’m confident that their efforts and expertise will help sustain the momentum we’re building toward health care reform, economic growth and stability, and more and better access for American products around the world,” Baucus said. “They have my support, but also my expectation that they will take seriously the issues raised by this Committee. These three nominees, one of whom I know very well, are an asset to the administration and to the American people, and will be great contributors in addressing the challenging and fundamental tasks at hand. I congratulate each of them on their appointment, and wish them well as we look forward to full consideration of their nominations.”

Baucus took occasion to reiterate the importance of comprehensive health care reform this year and asked Mr. Corr to address the role of morale and human resources at HHS and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS), and other relevant agencies, in accomplishing that goal.

“I see a tremendous opportunity to put together transformative, game-changing policy that will control rising health care costs and increase the quality of care Americans receive,”  Baucus said. “It will be essential in your new role at HHS to help rejuvenate the relevant agencies in a creative way so that we’re all on the same team and the same page. Our ability to design new reforms and implement a meaningful health care overhaul depends on it.”

In response, Corr noted that morale is connected to the vision conveyed by leadership, and that he expects to build on the vision set forth by Baucus on health care reform:

“You have laid out a vision for health care reform and it is critical that we build upon that
vision. There are many things we have learned – through payment reform we can improve outcomes and quality, and through better information technology we can expand the workforce and focus on prevention,”
Corr said. “All of this needs to be incorporated in how CMS operates. We have an opportunity to take what you have started in creating this vision.”

Baucus went on to address the importance of resolving outstanding issues with Panama in order to move quickly on the Panama Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and requested that Deputy USTR- designate Marantis remain focused on issues relating to trade with China and the rest of Asia.

The schedule for a Committee vote on these nominations will be determined and announced in the coming days. Video of this hearing is available on the Finance Committee website.

The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance holds jurisdiction over all matters relating to U.S. taxes, international trade, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.