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K Street Files: Score One for PhRMA

With the White House and the Senate Finance Committee still trying to figure out how to pay for health care reform, the drug industry is trying to solidify its contributions to the effort.

[IMGCAP(1)]Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America CEO Billy Tauzin and five member-company CEOs went to the White House on Tuesday afternoon to solidify the $80 billion deal they recently struck with the White House and Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.).

The group was slated to meet with Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and Counselor to the President and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle.

“We thought it was important for the White House to hear the commitment directly from some of our CEOs,— PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson said.

“We also wanted to reinforce our $80 billion pledge towards achieving that goal. This represents a huge financial commitment by our companies — one that requires some painful decisions for all of them,— he added.

CEOs from Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, Abbott Laboratories and Amgen accompanied Tauzin to the West Wing.

The meeting follows reports that the Congressional Budget Office is expected to score the drug companies’ deal as less than the advertised $80 billion in savings, according to several health care lobbyists.

But PhRMA’s Johnson said health care reform is not just about “scoreable savings— for the federal government.

“Our $80 billion is exactly that: $80 billion in real money, real money that is coming off our companies’ balance sheets— Johnson said.

Card Check? The Network Branded Prepaid Card Association recently beefed up its Washington presence, hiring Timothy Rupli of Rupli & Associates.

The trade group of prepaid card providers has been concerned about a provision in Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd’s (D-Conn.) credit card bill.

The industry was upset with the language in the bill because it “ensnares network branded prepaid cards well beyond gift— cards, according to the group’s Web site.

Rupli did not return calls for comment by press time.

Last year, the association hired Sheffield Brothers as its outside lobbyist, paying the firm $120,000 in 2008, according to Senate lobbying disclosure records.

QGA Snags Genomatica. Quinn Gillespie & Associates recently signed on chemical company Genomatica.

The company produces sustainable chemicals by reducing dependence on hydrocarbon feedstocks and improving the environmental standards for manufacturing processes. Quinn Gillespie’s Patrick Von Bargen will lead the lobbying and public relations effort on behalf of Genomatica, concentrating on climate change legislation and federal energy funding, according to the Senate registration form.

K Street Moves. Growth Energy has added two to its government affairs team. Anne Steckel will be the group’s director of government affairs and Ted Monoson will be its director of legislative affairs.

Steckel, a former aide to Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), most recently served as director of Congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau. Monoson is a former aide to House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio).

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Photos of the week ending December 8, 2023