Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ), the co-chair of the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, narrowly beat out Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA) to replace vocal supplement industry critic Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) as the ranking Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Among the committee's broad jurisdiction are several areas that impact the herbal products industry, including food, drug and supplement safety, consumer protection, public health research, environmental quality, and interstate and foreign commerce. In addition to overseeing the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the committee supervises the Departments of Health and Human Services and Commerce, as well as the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Federal Communications Commission.
"The herbal products industry congratulates Rep. Pallone on his appointment as ranking member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee," said Michael McGuffin, President of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). "As the popularity of herbal products continues to grow, it is critical that the industry is well represented on this influential committee. AHPA looks forward to working with Rep. Pallone and the rest of the committee to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products."
The House Democratic Caucus voted 100-90 for Rep. Pallone to replace Rep. Waxman who is retiring at the end of the year.
Reps. Pallone and Eshoo began vying for the ranking member position on the committee at the end of January when Rep. Waxman announced his plans to retire. Rep. Pallone is currently the number three Democrat on the committee and Rep. Eshoo is number five, but was backed by House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), who was just reelected to continue to serve as the top Democrat in the House.
The committee will look different when Congress convenes in 2015 as the top two senior Democratic members Reps. Waxman and John Dingell (D-MI) are retiring. In addition, senior Republican Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX) lost his re-election bid in the primaries.
Other members of the committee who will not be returning in 2015, include:
- Jim Matheson (D-UT) -- retiring
- John Barrow (D-GA) -- lost election
- Donna Christensen (D-VI) -- won governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
- Bruce Braley (D-IA) -- lost Senate election
- Phil Gingery (R-GA) -- lost Republican Senate primary
- Bill Cassidy (R-LA) -- faces Sen. Landrieu in runoff election for Senate seat Dec. 6
- Cory Gardner (R-CO) -- won Senate seat