Waxman Backs GOP Request for White House Records on Health Care

Posted January 27, 2010 at 2:53pm

House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said Wednesday that he supports a GOP request for White House documents relating to deals made on health care reform.The committee is taking up a resolution this afternoon that asks President Barack Obama — and directs Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius — to turn records over to the House detailing negotiations on health care reform with groups including the American Medical Association, the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, and the Service Employees International Union.The measure, introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas), specifically asks for copies of telephone and e-mail records, logs and calendars, and records of internal discussions no later than 14 days after the adoption of the resolution.Waxman said he doesn’t support Burgess’ current resolution because it is “drafted too broadly.— However, he said lawmakers “are entitled to information— and he will work with Burgess to draft a tighter resolution so he can “join with him in requesting information.— In a show of support for the idea behind the resolution, Waxman said he will urge his committee Wednesday to vote “no recommendation— on the measure, which would shelve the resolution but is another way of saying there is something worth working out on the matter.“I can’t support it, but I don’t want to reject it,— the California Democrat said. “We want to try to work through these issues to try to get that information from the administration.— Burgess has already gotten some health-care-related documents from the White House but is pressing for more. Waxman, the sponsor of the House health care bill, said he thinks the move is appropriate; he previously contacted the White House urging them to respond to Burgess’ request.Waxman wouldn’t say whether the White House has told him they want the resolution voted down. Asked if he wants to see records outlining an administration deal cut with PhRMA that excuses them from cost controls in exchange for their support on the bill, Waxman said he wouldn’t mind knowing more about that.“I’d like to rewind the tape and stop them from doing that,— he said.