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Grassley at Hearing on Treasury, HHS, Social Security Advisory Board Nominations

February 05,2020

Prepared Opening
Statement by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa

Chairman, Senate Finance

Hearing on Nominations

Wednesday, February 5,

the Finance Committee will hear from three nominees. We will hear from a
nominee to be an Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Treasury, a
nominee to be an Assistant Secretary at the Department of Health and Human
Services and a nominee to the Social Security Advisory Board.

we will hear from Kipp Kranbuhl, nominated to be Assistant Secretary of the
Treasury for Financial Markets. This position is responsible for federal debt
management, and essentially works to finance the federal government. Though
this position certainly does not set federal fiscal policy, which is done by
Congress, it carries out the day to day operations to keep the government
funded so it may carry out all of the programs our constituents depend on.

we will hear from Sarah Arbes, who is nominated to be Assistant Secretary for
Legislation at the Department of Health and Human Services. Ms. Arbes has been
Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation for the past eight months so I’m
pleased we are working to confirm her for this important position. Senators on
this Committee and their offices are likely familiar with Ms. Arbes as she was
the Deputy ASL prior to her serving in the Acting capacity. I have greatly
appreciated her assistance on efforts to lower prescription drug costs and on
other issues. I know we are working through problems with HHS regarding its
responses to written inquires and requests from myself and other Senators on
this Committee. I appreciate those efforts, and I am pleased that the Committee
finally seems to be receiving some digital productions on very longstanding
requests. However I have been frustrated by the pace of these negotiations and
that certain productions so far have been provided multiple times in an
unusable format. I look forward to resolving this issue quickly and hope our
staffs can continue a productive dialogue. I have long held that the Department
must be responsive to Congressional inquiries, and I ask that Ms. Arbes focus
on ensuring prompt, meaningful and efficient responses. I also note that while
the ASL serves as top advisor to the Secretary on legislative matters, the
position is not directly responsible for regulations issued by the Department
or its agencies. I ask Senators to keep that in mind as we conduct this hearing.

we will hear from Jason Fichtner, nominated to the Social Security Advisory
Board. Created as a “bipartisan, independent federal government agency
established in 1994 to advise the President, the Congress, and the Commissioner
of Social Security on matters of policy and administration,” the Social
Security Advisory Board is comprised of 7 members. Dr. Fichtner is one of the
three that are appointed by the president.


you all for your willingness to serve and for your testimony here today.

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