December 16, 2016
From Inside Health Policy

Capitol Hill Observers Expect Confirmation Hearing On Price In January

Congressional observers expect the Senate to hold a confirmation hearing on President-Elect Donald Trump's pick to head HHS, Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), sometime in January. Several expect the Senate Finance and Health committees to conduct the hearing close to Jan. 10, the date scheduled for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is Trump's nominee for attorney general, but others expect lawmakers to put off the hearing until after Congress votes on a reconciliation bill to repeal key elements of Obamacare.

A consultant close to talks about the process said observers expect his confirmation will go smoothly because Republicans want to follow the confirmation by quickly repealing parts of the Affordable Care Act. Senate Republicans strongly approve of Price, the consultant said.

As a legislator Price has strongly opposed the ACA, and he introduced the 2015 budget reconciliation bill that would have gutted it. President Barack Obama vetoed the bill.

Another lobbyist said the confirmation hearing is likely to be later in the month.

Julius Hobson, senior policy adviser at Polsinelli who has worked with Price since the lawmaker was president of the Georgia State Senate, also said a late January confirmation hearing makes sense.

“The House and Senate will move a bare-bones budget resolution containing reconciliation instructions the first week in the 115th Congress,” Hobson said. “Having Price confirmed immediately after Jan. 20 facilitates that action.”

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