Senators Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.),speaking at the Biotechnology Industry Organization's (BIO) annualmeeting in Washington, D.C. on Friday, exhorted industry officials toget involved in lobbying Capitol Hill.

Noting that "over the next few months, health care reform willprobably be at the top of your public policy agenda," Lieberman said,"you should be active." He advised a luncheon audience to make theirvoices heard in the halls of Capitol Hill. "I'm here to encourage you tohowl."

"Get to know the Senators who represent your state and therepresentative who represents your district, and get to know theirkey staff members who are almost as important," Lieberman said."Meet with them, write to them, call their office both here inWashington and back home. Invite them to tour your plants. Trustme, the more they know about you the more they will like you andunderstand your message."

Lieberman also advised members of the audience to testify beforeCongress "at each and every opportunity." Lieberman is planning ahearing on the impact of health care reform on innovation andresearch, which will take place before the Small BusinessSubcommittee later this fall.

Feinstein told the executives, "speak for yourself and your company,rather than hiring a third party." She said that she thought shewasn't getting any feedback from companies until staffers told herthey were tossing the mail, because it was coming from lobbyists.That attitude, she said, "is the prevailing Hill view."

She added that "when a CEO asks to see me, I see that person." But itshould work both ways, Feinstein said. "I want to have the kind ofrelationship where if I have a question, no matter how dumb it is, Ican pick up the phone, and get a direct response."

-- David Holzman Washington Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.