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GOP Lobbyists Return To Capitol Hill

The revolving door is swinging the other direction.

Howard Cohen, president of the health care lobbying firm HC Associates, is the latest from K Street who plans to return to Capitol Hill, according to several health care industry sources. Cohen is a former chief counsel to the House Energy and Commerce Committee when Republicans were in charge of the House and he will be returning to the committee to work on health care policy now that the GOP is back in power. He will also be working on the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will be the new chairman of the full committee; Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., will head the subcommittee.

Cohen has long been considered a go-to person on health care policy on K Street and has represented a number of clients that will have interests before the committee in 2011. This year he was registered to lobby for America’s Health Insurance Plans, Amgen, Federation of American Hospitals, Genzyme, Group Health Cooperative, Health Net and PhRMA, according to the Senate Office of Public Records. Cohen will likely be taking a big pay cut to return to the Hill. The first nine months of 2010, Cohen’s clients paid him $810,000, according to lobbying records.

Cohen will join lobbyist Gary Andres, who will become staff director of the energy and commerce panel. Andres most recently was vice chairman of one of D.C.’s largest lobbying firms, Dutko Worldwide. Brett Loper, most recently head of government affairs for the Advanced Medical Technology Association, is heading to Capitol Hill to become policy director to incoming House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.

Cohen and the Energy and Commerce Committee spokesman couldn’t be reached for comment.