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Roberts leads delegation at bioscience convention


Here are today's headlines from the Kansas congressional delegation:Sen. Pat Roberts (R)![][1][(Boston Herald) In states' gift game, prizes are jobs:][2]In a show of political one-upmanship, Kansas even trotted out a U.S. senator at yesterday's opening of the 2007 BIO International Convention in Southie. Should Boston and Cambridge be sweating all this bio-backslapping? "You bet!" said U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). "The sweat should be coming off their brow as we speak." Roberts was the star at the Kansas "Big League Bio" two-floor kiosk. All this only hours after he left Greensburg, Kan., where a tornado killed more than 10 residents. "Our terrible tragedy makes this kind of research so terribly important. We're talking about jobs," he said.[Congressional Quarterly) Drug Importation Provision Neutralized in Senate FDA Overhaul Measure:][3] Opponents of a Senate proposal to allow the importation of prescription drugs claimed a surprisingly wide victory Monday, adopting an amendment that foiled the intent of a provision by North Dakota Democrat Byron L. Dorgan. ... Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., the bill's manager, said the substitute amendment addressed the concerns of a number of members on his side of the aisle. But some members still have ideas about ways to change the bill. Kansas Republican Pat Roberts wants to strip the bill's controls over direct-to-consumer drug advertising. "If the bill were to pass in its current form, we would have a situation where the secretary - at his discretion - is mandating certain warning requirements for all advertisements," Roberts said in a statement. He called such requirements a violation of the First Amendment and said that instead drug companies should pay fines for misleading ads.Rep. Dennis Moore (D) ![][4][(KC Star) Olathe pitches ideas on No Child:][5] The emerging picture of changes that Kansans would like to see in the federal No Child Left Behind Act grew sharper Monday in Olathe. U.S. Rep. Dennis Moore, a Kansas Democrat, visited with school district administrators and state policymakers in a breakfast session that continued his listening tour on the federal education act. The law is scheduled for reauthorization this year, and Moore said he was hopeful that would happen. It won't be repealed, he said, because it has bipartisan support. "But there certainly needs to be some tweaking and some fine-tuning and major overhauls to certain provisions of this bill," he said.[(Wall Street Journal) House Group Aims to Narrow Fannie, Freddie Bill:][6]A bipartisan group of House lawmakers plans to challenge the deal struck by House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D., Mass.) and the Treasury on overhauling supervision of government-sponsored mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The legislators plan to introduce an amendment that would clarify that a new regulator will monitor the safety and soundness of the companies' portfolios based on the risks those holdings pose to the companies -- not the risk they might pose to the broader economy, according to a senior aide to a member of the House Financial Services Committee. ... Earlier this month, House Financial Services Committee members Reps. Melissa L. Bean (D., Ill.), Randy Neugebauer (R., Texas), Dennis Moore (D., Kan.) and Gary G. Miller (R., Calif.) sent Mr. Frank and the committee's senior Republican a letter urging them to narrow the proposed new regulator's authority. "We urge you to clarify [the bill] to ensure that the risks envisioned are risks posed by the enterprises, to themselves, not through the lens of an undefined, open-ended 'systemic' view," said the letter, reviewed by Dow Jones Newswires. The Bush administration, by contrast, has expressed concern about Fannie and Freddie's risk to the broader financial system.Rep. Jerry Moran (R) ![][7][(Pharmaceutical Health Care Management Assn.) New Study Finds Sweeping Collective Bargaining Rights for Independent Pharmacists Could Cost Medicare and Commercial Payors $29.6 Billion Over Five Years:][8] A key legislative priority championed by the independent drugstore lobby, HR 971, that would provide pharmacists with new, sweeping collective bargaining rights could increase prescription drug costs for Medicare and commercial payors by 11.8 percent, or $29.6 billion, over five years, according to a new analysis from CRA International released today by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA). Among the key findings from the CRA International analysis of HR 971, "the Community Pharmacy Fairness Act," sponsored by Reps. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.): -- Direct costs to payers, including commercial payors and Medicare could increase by $29.6 billion over five years, an increase of 11.8 percent of prescription costs at independent pharmacies; -- Costs to the Medicare Part D program and its beneficiaries could increase by $6.4 billion over five years as a result of new pharmacy collective bargaining rights; and -- Cost increases resulting from collective bargaining would likely be passed on to health insurers, employers, and consumers. As costs increase, employers would likely scale back, reduce, or even eliminate health care coverage for their employees.Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R) ![][9][(The Hill) Tiahrt vote on project irks Murtha:][10] Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) exploded at a colleague on the Appropriations defense subcommittee, Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-Kan.), on the House floor last week after Tiahrt voted in a private meeting to cut $23 million from a project in Murtha's district. By voting to shut down the National Drug Intelligence Center (NDIC) in Murtha's district, Tiahrt violated an unspoken rule of the Appropriations Committee: Don't mess with your fellow appropriators' projects. This is especially important when the project belongs to the chairman of a powerful subcommittee. Murtha vented his anger against Tiahrt for voting last Wednesday to kill the center in Johnstown, Pa., by unleashing a loud, finger-jabbing, spittle-spraying piece of his mind, according to lawmakers who witnessed it. Murtha threatened to withdraw support from a defense project associated with Boeing that would convert commercial aircraft into military refueling tankers. Such a move could create big problems for the project because Murtha is chairman of the Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, which allocates all defense spending. The tanker project is vital to Tiahrt's district, which includes Wichita, home to a Boeing plant that would help assemble the planes. [1]: http://roberts.senate.gov/Roberts-020405-18060-080-CFFflipped.jpg [2]: http://business.bostonherald.com/businessNews/view.bg?articleid=199164 [3]: http://public.cq.com/docs/cqt/news110-000002506442.html [4]: http://ljworld.com/specials/election04/primary/moore.jpg [5]: http://www.kansascity.com/115/story/97893.html [6]: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB117858586572295225.html?mod=googlenews_wsj [7]: http://ljworld.com/specials/kudole/bios/art/moran.jpg [8]: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/news_press_release,101268.shtml [9]: http://bioguide.congress.gov/bioguide/photo/T/T000260.jpg [10]: http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/tiahrt-vote-on-project-irks-murtha-2007-05-07.html


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