Dems: House bill to track health on Gulf Coast might be scrapped

Legislation to monitor the health of those exposed to chemicals along the Gulf Coast might be scrapped altogether, a House aide said Thursday. 

The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee had scheduled a Thursday afternoon markup on the yet-to-be-unveiled bill. A draft version bouncing around Washington on Wednesday indicated that the Democrats were eying plans to require the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) to track and register the health of Gulf Coast workers and residents in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. The draft included at least $37 million for that purpose.

But the committee canceled that markup abruptly Wednesday night. The reason? "It wasn't clear that [HHS] needed the additional authority," an Energy and Commerce spokeswoman said in an e-mail Thursday, citing discussions with HHS officials, "so it was decided not to proceed with the mark up."

Stay tuned...