BRIEFLY

Hoyer to Dean: Leave policy to us

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) offered some free advice to incoming Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean: Leave policy to the elected officials.

“I don’t believe it is the party chair’s role to set the policy of the party. That is the role of the elected officials,” Hoyer told reporters yesterday.

“I think his job as party chairman is to ensure the party is organized well and ready to, in every district, contest the Republicans, every congressional district in America, every county and state and city in America, and that we raise sufficient finances to compete effectively.”

Acknowledging that he had some policy disagreements with the former presidential candidate, Hoyer nevertheless congratulated Dean on his impending election.

“He called me, which I appreciate,” Hoyer said. “I congratulated him on winning. As you know, I was for Frost. He knew that as well. I will certainly be prepared to work with him.”

Hans Nichols


Senators to unveil reimportation bill

Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) will be reintroducing legislation on prescription-drug reimportation this afternoon.

Like the original bill unveiled in the last Congress, the measure would allow for the importation of lower-priced prescription medication from Canada and other countries.

A similar bill was first floated by Dorgan and Snowe last March but was never voted on, despite suggestions from Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn) that it would be last year.

Frist and Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, have committed to holding a hearing on the legislation before the end of April.

Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Reps. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) are expected to attend a press conference on the bill today.

Last month, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a rival reimportation bill. That measure is backed by Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), John Thune (R-S.D.) and Ken Salazar (D-Colo.).

Kari Lundgren