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Friends in high places: AGA allies with new leadership posts

Posts and committee assignments for the 117th Congress feature several long-standing AGA congressional allies.
117th Congress Swearing In Floor Proceedings - January 3, 2021, House Chamber
117th Congress Swearing In Floor Proceedings - January 3, 2021, House Chamber

Through AGA PAC, we have worked to develop strategic relationships with lawmakers to advance our legislative priorities and we look forward to working with our congressional allies in their new roles.

In the House, congressional retirements and/or electoral losses led to several open slots in high-profile and powerful committees like the Energy and Commerce Committee and the Ways and Means Committee.

In the Senate, the make-up of the health-focused committees included several stalwart champions, like Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-LA, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH. 

New Leadership Roles in the 117th Congress

Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark, D-MA, with AGA Government Affairs Committee Chair Lisa Gangarosa, MD, AGAF, at AGA Advocacy Day

Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA)

A long-term ally of AGA, Clark rose through leadership ranks to claim the fourth leadership role in the House Democratic Caucus as Assistant Speaker. Clark is a strong supporter of the health care community, particularly of funding the NIH and increasing access to colorectal cancer screenings and has been a long-time cosponsor of the Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act. Clark came to speak to AGA’s Advocacy Day participants in the fall of 2018 and was very dynamic and supportive of young researchers and women in medicine.

Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY)

Selected to serve as the top Republican in the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, AGA congressional champion Guthrie will serve an important role in helping to steer health policy in his new role as Ranking Member. Guthrie has been one of AGA’s strongest allies on Capitol Hill and has supported many of AGA’s top legislative priorities. He is also the lead Republican on the Deadliest Cancers Caucus, which raises awareness of recalcitrant cancers — many of which are GI cancers.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

AGA congressional ally and fierce champion of biomedical research, DeLauro was elected to lead the powerful Appropriations Committee. DeLauro is one of the strongest advocates of NIH research in Congress, especially for NIDDK.

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH)

Wenstrup, a strong congressional supporter of AGA’s top legislative priorities, was tapped to chair the House GOP Doctors Caucus, a group of 18 medical providers whose stated goal is to “utilize their medical expertise to develop patient-centered healthcare policy.” Wenstrup has been a strong ally on utilization management issues in particular, having served as the lead sponsor of legislation that would provide patients the ability to bypass step therapy by providing a standardized process for insurance companies. Many GI patients who require biologics have been subject to step therapy and have suffered dire consequences.

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