Kennedy, Clinton angered by reorganization of HHS committees

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com September 21 2002 12:00 AM ET

Senators Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) have sent an "angry" letter to Health and Human Services secretary Tommy Thompson asking him to explain the department's restructuring of scientific committees that provide scientific guidance to the agency, CongressDailyAM reports. The letter was prompted by reports that the Bush administration is eliminating advisory groups that provide advice counter to his views and is replacing some members of other committees with handpicked candidates with strong ties to the industries their committees are charged with scrutinizing. The letter states that the senators are "deeply concerned by allegations that the changes under way are driven more by ideology than science" and urges Thompson to appoint experts who will "truly serve in the public interest." They also ask the secretary to reconsider the changes already made, including the elimination of committees on genetic testing and clinical drug and vaccine trial safety.