June 19th, 2009 | Uncategorized

Senate approves Koh. No, not that one.

harold.jpg howard1.jpg

One of the above Kohs has been confirmed by the Senate. Guess which one! (Hint: The less controversial one.)

The Senate voted Friday to approve the nomination of Howard Koh ’73 MED ’77 — pictured at right — for the position of assistant secretary for health in the Department of Health and Human Services, said Regan Lachapelle, a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Koh will be the primary adviser to Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius on matters relating to public health.

A professor and associate dean for public health practice at the Harvard School of Public Health, Koh is the brother of Yale Law School Dean Harold Hongju Koh, who is awaiting confirmation to the post of legal adviser of the Department of State. The Senate vote required to seat him has been placed on hold, as we noted earlier this month.

The magazine Foreign Policy reported on its Web site Friday that Sen. Jon Kyl, Republican of Arizona, has placed all nominations to the Department of State, including Koh’s, on hold. Kyl is reportedly upset with the lack of information he has been receiving from the Obama administration regarding the progress of arms control negotiations with Russia.

Earlier this week, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said President Barack Obama would not use a recess appointment to appoint Koh the post. Such an appointment could be made once Congress adjourns for July 4th recess and would not require Senate approval.