Next Wednesday Congressman Tom Price will go before the Senate HELP Committee for what will be one of two committee hearings. The hearing before HELP will be important but it is the Senate Finance Committee that is responsible for confirming his nomination. Finance is working on the Treasury nomination later this week and is expected to announce a date for Price soon. President-elect Trump has said that he expects his health care plan to move forward after he HHS Secretary is approved. Last week HELP Committee Chair Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) indicated in a Capitol Hill publications that he did not believe that the Secretary-designate would get a full Senate vote until mid-February. The Senate Finance Committee has oversight over several other key nominees. It is also likely that the long ethics paperwork and background check requirements is slowing the process.
As the Budget Chair in the House of Representatives Congressman Price has promoted moving at least some mandatory funding to discretionary spending. Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF), TANF, SSBG, Medicaid, some child care, CHIP and home visiting are all mandatory and/or entitlement funding—at least in part. He will hold a significant role on any repeal of the ACA and any proposals to block grant Medicaid. A delay in his confirmation is also likely to slow down the appointment of the lower levels of key HHS posts including the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Assistant Secretary, the Administration on Children Youth and Families (ACYF), Commissioner, the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau.