House GOP questions HHS hiring, pay practices

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Most of those employees work in the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the GAO wrote this summer.

"The committee recognizes that compensating individuals with private-sector pay is sometimes necessary to recruit the best and brightest minds, especially in the field of science," staff with the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote Friday. "However, GAO recently found that HHS’s use of Title 42 has grown 25 percent in five years."

The staff memo touted a bill from Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) to curb that growth and begin stronger congressional oversight of HHS hiring. 

HHS has been under fire from House Republicans this week after a probe concluded that Secretary Kathleen Sebelius broke the law by campaigning for President Obama's reelection during a February speech.