HHS gets seat on National Economic Council

Among a series of executive orders and other presidential documents not announced by the White House is a Feb. 5 order from President Obama adding the secretary of Health and Human Services and four others to the National Economic Council.

Politico reported Tuesday night that the Obama administration failed to tell the press or post on the White House Web site about several actions the new president took in his first few weeks in office. The orders and other notices came to light only through a careful review of the arcane pages of the Federal Register.

A Feb. 5 order that appeared in the Federal Register on Feb. 11 expanded the National Economic Council by five members, adding: the HHS secretary; White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett; “climate czar” and former EPA Administrator Carol Browner; the White House chief technology officer; and the administrator of the Small Business Administration.

For the record, Obama has nominated Karen Gordon Mills to head the SBA and Vivek Kundra reportedly will be picked for the Office of E-Government and Information Technology. Of course, we do not know who the permanent HHS secretary will be, thanks to Tom Daschle’s little tax problem. Someone out there must be in line to dole out the $19 billion in health IT cash authorized by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.