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Capitol Correspondence - 01.26.21

Updates on Administration Appointments

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To inform our members’ advocacy, below we have summarized the status of the Biden administration’s nominations for key positions relevant to the work of disability supports providers.

New additions:

  • Mayor of Boston Marty Walsh will be the nominee for Secretary of the Department of Labor. If confirmed, he would be the first union member to hold the position. Pending the administration shaping its labor policy, members might be interested in this analysis from Mondaq on potential policies DOL could focus on this year outside of responding to the pandemic.
  • Andrea Palm will be nominated as Department of Health and Human Services Deputy Secretary. She is viewed by insiders to be a technical expert familiar with the inner workings of HHS, freeing up the nominee for HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, to focus on persuading the public and allies to support the administrations’ proposals.

Key interim players:

According to Politico Pro, “CMS has tapped two veteran staffers to temporarily lead the Medicare and Medicaid agency under the Biden administration, according to an email CMS Administrator Seema Verma sent to staff and obtained by POLITICO.

Verma wrote that she asked Liz Richter, who has worked at the agency for over 30 years, to serve as the acting CMS administrator. Most recently, Richter served as the deputy center director of the Center for Medicare.

[…]

A spokesperson for Biden’s transition did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It was not immediately clear if the incoming administration will keep both in their acting roles until Biden’s eventual picks are installed at the agency.

Why it matters: […] Biden has indicated he will work to undo many of the conservative changes made by Verma, such as Medicaid work requirements and alternatives to Obamacare coverage. However, Biden hasn’t yet picked a nominee to run the massive agency, which could leave much of that work to career staffers. CMS has also played a major role in the pandemic response, crafting regulations for hospitals, nursing homes and vaccine coverage.”