White House Releases List of Summit Attendees

Posted March 5, 2009 at 12:22pm

Updated 2:06 p.m.The White House on Thursday morning released the much-anticipated lineup of the day’s health care summit, an event as expected packed with Congressional leaders — minus House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) — and a near-complete swath of private interests that have a stake in the upcoming debate.At the White House Forum on Health Care Reform, President Barack Obama is expected to deliver opening remarks to the roughly 120 participants, telling them that “the cost of health care now causes a bankruptcy in America every 30 seconds.—The White House delayed releasing a list of the invitees until just before noon on Thursday, causing confusion and frustration throughout the week in the downtown business community.The list includes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Chairman Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.). Also expected to attend today’s event are House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), and Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.). Boehner is not making the trip down Pennsylvania Avenue, his office confirmed. “We have the housing bill on the floor, and the first meeting of the Boehner-led savings solutions group,— Boehner spokesman Michael Steel wrote in an e-mail. “He has complete confidence in the Members who went.—Union representatives from the AFL-CIO; the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees; the American Federation of Teachers; the Service Employees International Union, and Change to Win made the cut, while the business community’s interests will be overseen by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association of Manufacturers. Other invitees include representatives from the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, General Mills, the Human Rights Campaign, Pfizer, the National Education Association, and AARP. But the National Association of Wholesaler-Distributors, run by Dirk Van Dongen, a former confidant of former President George W. Bush, is not included on the White House’s list, nor is the Advanced Medical Technology Association and its president, former GOP Hill staffer Stephen Ubl.