Chairman says Gingrich poised to testify amid VP speculation

Chairman says Gingrich poised to testify amid VP speculation
© Mark Wilkins

Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker who's believed to be on Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSenate GOP budget ignores Trump, cuts defense Trump says he'll nominate Stephen Moore to Fed White House: ISIS territory in Syria has been 100 percent eliminated MORE's running mate shortlist, could be heading to Capitol Hill next week.

House lawmakers are working to bring Gingrich in to testify less than a week before the Republican National Convention.

Republicans on the Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have been planning to call Gingrich to speak about mobile health applications, according to the subcommittee's chairman.

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“That’s the plan,” said Rep. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessDivisions emerge over House drug price bills Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Dems push Pelosi on bill allowing federal funding of abortion | Key Republican says Dems left him out of drug pricing talks | Court upholds Ohio law to defund Planned Parenthood | Trump taps acting FDA chief Key Republican says Dems left him out of process on drug pricing bills MORE (R-Texas). “Now, obviously, there are other things going on in his world, so I don’t know if that interferes — but yeah, several months ago this all seemed like a good idea.”

Burgess cautioned that he had not yet met with the subcommittee’s staff this week, and that the presidential race could force Gingrich to change his schedule.

“Next week is still a week away,” Burgess said. “A lot can happen.

“I mean, we may get a designee for vice president in a few days that moves this discussion to a different place.”

The committee has yet to release an official witness list for the hearing.

The appearance on Capitol Hill would put Gingrich in front of reporters — and potentially give his profile a boost — less than a week before the GOP convention in Cleveland.

Gingrich, who led House Republicans from 1995 until 1999, is one of the Republicans being vetted to be Trump's running mate. He has been a frequent defender of the real estate developer-turned-presidential candidate.

Trump is moving towards announcing his pick next week, according to CNN.

The issue of health apps is of personal importance to Gingrich. He is linked to a fund investing in health technology, among other areas. In March, he praised health tracking applications.

“We see these breakthroughs on smartphones in every field. In transportation, in entertainment and even in food, new technologies are transforming entire industries,” he said in an op-ed in USA Today.

“In healthcare, however, there is a growing effort by the existing, expensive systems to defend old, costly, less convenient, and slower methods by simply outlawing most of the competition, as the state of Texas recently has done to telemedicine overall.”

Burgess said that he believes in medical applications both as a policymaker and a user.

“I’ve got all kinds of them on my phone,” he said. “It’s way of getting patient involvement on a scale that probably hasn’t been available before.”

Burgess said that the hearing would be a nonpartisan affair despite the drama surrounding the vice presidential selection process.

“Could it get in the way?” he said. “Yeah, I guess it could. But right now I’m still going like we planned.”