One of the few voices of sanity and the people's faithful watch dog in the senate and government; Senator Grassley may leave his position on the Finance committee to move over to the Judiciary Committee.
To give Senator Grassley some due credit here; he has always made it clear of his wishes to some day be ranking republican member of the Judiciary Committee which has the responsibility to vent nominated supreme court and federal judge appointments.
The sad irony of this particular situation is that Senator Grassley has a whole bunch of business to finish up on the finance committee related to investigations of Big Pharma, Psychiatry, the FDA, NAMI, and universities in the form of research grants and Big Pharma's over influence, manipulation of data and information, pay offs for profit, and straight out fraud surrounding the whole mental health industry.
This is power politics and brokering at the highest levels of our government. I can only hope Senator Grassley stays put until all the dirty laundry is properly aired, investigations are completed, and these greedy crocks that have and still are to this day, damaging our children and disabled.
These criminals must be removed from practice, and go to jail for this to be settled and put to rest. The crocks at Big Pharma, the FDA, NAMI, Psychiatry, and University's are jumping up and down today with relief and great joy!
But don't let that breath of relief out quite yet criminal greed mongering folks!
I can't help but believe Senator Grassley will leave the finance committee without all these stones being unearthed for what they really are! His integrity and leadership is needed now more than ever, the people need him now more than ever as their voice of ethics, responsibility, and reason; and I personally pray Senator Grassley is reading this, and is aware of how important his work has been to the millions upon millions of citizens he has truly and faithfully represented on these pending and vitally important issues.
By Alicia Mundy
A Break for Pharma? Grassley May Leave Finance Panel?
Grassley In what may be the biggest break that the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry have gotten in years, GOP Sen. Charles Grassley is apparently on the verge of stepping out of his leading role on the Senate Finance Committee to take the top Republican spot on the Judiciary Committee.
The potential sea change has had industry lobbyists buzzing today. One who represents a big drug company that has been under fire from Grassley said his client had called his home to ask about “the good news” around 6 a.m.
A former FDA official also said that some current FDA leaders who have been dragged before the Senate to explain various crises at the agency in recent years were exchanging high-fives — seriously, he said — at FDA headquarters in White Oak, Md.
The ranking Republican slot on Judiciary opened up when Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania changed parties this week. Grassley of Iowa already sits on Judiciary and has wanted to move up, but had planned to stay put on the Finance Committee the next 18 months because of the important role the committee will play in overhauling health care. The Finance Committee oversees Medicare and Medicaid, not to mention tax issues that affect hospitals, drug makers and insurance companies.
Because of that portfolio, Grassley has been able to become the oversight czar on FDA and the drug industry, a job few in Congress had an appetite for except Democratic Reps. John Dingell and Bart Stupak, both of Michigan. Since early 2004, Grassley has kicked the FDA hard on its handling of safety issues on everything from SSRI antidepressants to the painkiller Vioxx to medical devices to blockbuster drugs made by Glaxo, the antidepressant Paxil and the diabetes medicine Avandia.
Most importantly, Grassley has almost single-handedly changed the relationship between the drug industry and university researchers and their institutions. In less than two years, his committee’s push to reveal industry ties with medical stars — Joseph Biederman of Harvard and Charles Nemeroff of Emory are prime examples — has provoked major upheavals in university policies limiting the amount of outside money their researchers can take directly from drug makers, and restricting roles with company speakers bureaus and as consultants. Universities dread getting calls from Grassley’s staff about money trails involving researchers, a medical expert at one very large southern university said.
Grassley would like to be able to hold off the Judiciary change, according to The Hill newspaper, but his fate is in the hands of other Republicans, who might make him choose now.
One drug lobbyist who called to ask about Grassley leaving Finance, whispered, “Is it TRUE?”
Update: An FDA spokesman said he had found no evidence of any reaction on the part of ageny staffers to stories about Grassley’s pending move. “We have and will continue to have the highest regard for Sen. Grassley,” said George Strait of the FDA Office of Public Affairs.