January 24,2001

Grassley on the Vote to Confirm Thompson

Last Thursday, the Committee on Finance held a hearing on the nomination of Gov. Tommy Thompson as secretary of Health and Human Services. Sen. Chuck Grassley, committee chairman, made the following comments in advance of the Senate's expected approval of Thompson:

"Gov. Thompson is a problem-solver, focused on improving the lives of real people. He has made remarkable progress in addressing health care needs in Wisconsin. Successful programs such as Badger Care and Family Care reflect his ability to reach consensus and implement concrete solutions.

"In addition, Gov. Thompson is a true innovator. On issues such as welfare reform, he has shown that he is willing to cast away old, tired approaches. He reaches out for new ideas, and develops creative solutions to tough problems.

"Gov. Thompson has also been an effective manager of his state, expertise that will be critical as he oversees important programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and the State Children's Health Insurance Program.

"Finally, I am pleased to report that support for Gov. Thompson reaches across party lines. He has used this principle to find successful solutions in his own home state. At the Finance Committee hearing, Gov. Thompson was warmly introduced by Sens. Dole, Kohl and Feingold, and Secretary Shalala. This kind of support from party leaders on both sides of the aisle speaks for itself. I hope that we will apply the governor's bipartisan approach in Congress.

"For my part, I will respond. I am hopeful that the Finance Committee will seize the opportunity to solve the real problems that face us. Modernizing Medicare and improving access to prescription drugs for seniors, reducing the 43.5 million uninsured in this country, improving health care in small communities, and improving long-term care -- these are all priorities for me. I look forward to working closely on them with Gov. Thompson and my colleagues this year."