What Would Congress Do? – A Conversation With Dick Gephardt

There is a lot of change going on.  Driving past the mall today, one could see lines of tents being erected on the mall.  I recently took a photo while walking past the Capitol of the scaffolding as it was being constructed.  The new Congress is already seated and next Tuesday begins a new era.  What will it look like?   What is change?

Misc downloaded 12.18.08 061

On December 15, I attended a forum held at the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia called Best and the Brightest Forum on Medical Innovation.  There were two panels for the day – the first to talk about obstacles to medical innovation for the future, the second to suggest solutions.

The first panel did do an excellent job of pointing out many of the obstacles, including the looming financial crisis and its impact on the U.S. to recruit and retain good scientific talent.  I was not able to stay for the entire second panel, but from what I heard, they were less successful in identifying solutions.

The moderator of the panels was Congressman Dick Gephardt.  Congressman Gephardt was a member of Congress from 1977 until 2005, during which time he served as both the House Majority and Minority leader.  We sat down together for a few moments to discuss some of the topic of the day – specifically what would the priorities be in the new Congress and do the issues of the day stand to stifle rather than enable medical innovation. 

Congressman Gephardt offered his view about whether or not the financial crisis would take prioritiy and thought that the Congress and the new Administration would act in a way that would support innovation and provide solutions to existing problems.   It is a short, succinct podcast and I thank the Congressman for taking the time to spend with me on a busy day.  I was delayed by a computer problem from posting the interview sooner than today, but it is nevertheless, quite timely.

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