Friday, December 12, 2008

Democrats React To Daschle Nomination

Senate Democrats were understandably pleased when President-elect Barack Obama announced that former Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota will be his nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. In making the announcement, Obama reinforced that overhauling how health care is delivered is a central tenet of his administration and praised Daschle, while calling him the “lead architect” of the new administration's plan to expand coverage and control health-care costs.

"Tom brings more than just great expertise to this task. He brings the respect he earned during his years of leadership in Congress," Obama said in a press conference announcing the nomination. "He knows how to build consensus across the aisle. And he has the trust of folks from every angle of this issue: doctors, nurses and patients; workers and businesses; hospitals and consumer groups -- all of whom will have a seat at the table as we work on this vital issue."

Here's reaction from Daschle's former Senate colleagues:

Ted Kennedy (D-MA)

"Exceptional challenges call for exceptional leaders, and Tom is an ideal choice to meet the urgent challenge of health reform. His integrity, intelligence, experience and commitment to the American people have won him friends and admirers on both sides of the aisle. All of us in Congress who share the goal of this long overdue reform welcome today's announcement."

Ken Salazar (D-CO)

“I applaud the selection of Senator Daschle to lead the effort to put President-elect Obama’s vision of affordable, quality health care for all into action. He brings to the position a wealth of health policy expertise and legislative experience, as well as a proven ability to build consensus around policies that work for all Americans. I cannot think of a better person for the job, and look forward to working with him and President-elect Obama to fix our Nation’s broken health care system.”

Tim Johnson (D-SD)

"Tom has been a leader in our state and country throughout his time in Congress. I am proud that he has been nominated this morning to lead our nation’s health care efforts and I know he will make an outstanding Secretary of Health and Human Services. As a South Dakotan, he truly understands the unique challenges of providing quality health care throughout rural America. He is a dear friend, and I look forward to working with him and the new Administration in the months ahead. The President-Elect faces many challenges, but I know with Tom working at his side, we have a real chance to finally provide affordable care to all Americans."

Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

"Every American deserves health care he or she can afford. But Senator Daschle knows we need to do more than that - we need basic, systemic reform that will revolutionize the way health care is delivered in this country. He has already brought forward ideas, like the creation of a Federal Health Board, that have contributed substantively to the health care reform debate, and that I will hope he will pursue further at HHS. His nomination, and President-Elect Obama's creation of a new White House Office of Health Reform, emphasizes his serious commitment to solving this problem."

Ron Wyden (D-OR)

“President-Elect Obama quite simply could not have made a better choice for the job. Tom Daschle is not just an expert on health policy, he is a skilled legislator and an inspiring leader. He is also a close friend. Eighteen years ago, I was honored to have then Senator Daschle join me in leading the effort to reform Medigap and protect seniors from health insurance scams. Today, I am honored at the prospect of joining Secretary-designate Daschle in the effort that will ultimately reform the nation’s health care system.”

Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)

“Tom Daschle is a distinguished and uniquely qualified choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. He will bring a proven record and Midwestern sensibility to help us tackle one of the largest challenges facing our nation – health care. I believe Tom Daschle can lead the kind of bold reform that our health care system so desperately needs. Tom and I have discussed how we can replicate some of Minnesota’s successes in high-quality, high-efficiency care on a national level. I look forward to our continued work together in the months and years to come.”

Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

"President-elect Obama has made another superb choice in selecting Tom Daschle to head the Department of Health and Human Services as well as a new White House Office of Health Reform… Health care reform is sorely needed and long overdue. It will be one of the core projects of the Obama presidency and certainly one of the most complex and difficult issues on the nation's agenda. No one is better prepared for this monumental job than Tom Daschle is. His talents, his experience, his vision and his decency are admired on both sides of the aisle."

Jay Rockefeller (D-WV)

“Tom Daschle is an incredible public servant and someone who shares my passion and commitment to improving and expanding health care coverage and making it more affordable for all Americans – especially the 46 million Americans without any coverage at all. There is no one better qualified to shepherd through President-elect Obama’s ambitious plans for health care reform."