This year, National Journal‘s Women in Washington list focuses on women who exercise powerful influence in five policy areas: energy, health care, technology, defense, and education.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell (Alex Wong/Getty Images)Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Health and Human Services Secretary
Burwell, previously director of the White House budget office, recently took Kathleen Sebelius’s place as head of HHS. She is popular on Capitol Hill and has a reputation as a skilled manager. She’ll need those skills as she guides the Affordable Care Act into its second year while keeping the rest of the department humming. Burwell has already taken steps to reorganize HHS, adding new positions with direct oversight of the insurance exchanges.
Marilyn Tavenner, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator
With direct responsibility for Medicare, Medicaid, and most of Obamacare, Tavenner is on the hook for some of the most controversial decisions in health care, from cuts in providers’ Medicare payments to rebuilding the ACA’s enrollment system. Tavenner, like Burwell, came into the job with strong bipartisan support and largely avoided any blame for HealthCare.gov’s rocky rollout. But CMS has come under fire from Republicans over proposed cuts to Medicare Advantage, and the agency is still sorting through a backlog of incomplete Medicaid enrollments.
Jeanne Lambrew, Deputy Assistant to the President for Health Policy
Lambrew, who has a background in academia, is President Obama’s top health policy adviser and has provided a steady hand on the issue since the early days of the administration. She is deeply involved in the nitty-gritty of ACA implementation and will have Obama’s ear in the next big front in the health care debate: cost control.
Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, America’s Health Insurance Plans
As the health insurance industry’s top representative in Washington, Ignagni has had an intense half-decade, having guided AHIP through the debate over the Affordable Care Act. During the botched debut of HealthCare.gov, insurers ended up doing most of the work the website was supposed to do, thus winning credibility as the protectors of Obamacare. Ignagni’s next challenge: what’s shaping up to be an all-out war between her industry and pharmaceutical companies over the high cost of prescription drugs.
Cecile Richards (Richard A. Bloom)Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood
Richards is undoubtedly one of the most powerful women in Democratic politics, and her status keeps growing amid flare-ups ranging from Todd Akin to the Supreme Court’s ruling limiting Obamacare’s contraception mandate. She leads Planned Parenthood’s day-to-day operations as well as its political arm, putting her squarely at the intersection of health care policy and politics.
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After keeping the information private for most of the lead-up to the debate on Monday, it has been revealed that longtime Clinton aide Philippe Reines has been playing the role of Donald Trump in her debate prep. Reines knows Clinton better than most, able to identify both her strengths and weaknesses, and his selection for a sparring partner shows that Clinton is preparing for the brash and confrontational Donald Trump many have come to expect.
- A national Washington Post/ABC News poll shows Clinton leading Trump by just two points among likely voters, 46% to 44%.
- A national Bloomberg poll out Monday morning by Selzer & Co. has Clinton and Trump tied at 46% in a two-way race, and Trump ahead 43% to 41% in a four-way race.
- A CNN/ORC poll in Colorado shows likely voters’ support for Trump at 42%, 41% for Clinton, and a CNN/ORC poll in Pennsylvania has Clinton at 45% and Trump at 44%.
- A Portland Press Herald/UNH survey in Maine has Clinton leading Trump in ME-01 and Trump ahead in ME-02.
More than 30 times, in the case of some donors. Long before Cruz endorsed Trump—and before he even snubbed the nominee at the Republican National Convention—"the senator quietly began renting his vast donor email file to his former rival, pocketing at least tens of thousands of dollars, and more likely hundreds of thousands, that can be used to bankroll the Texan’s own political future."