Former Senator Tom Daschle, President Elect Obama’s pick for Secretary of Health and Human Services, had a chance to sit down with his ex-colleagues on Thursday. Daschle moved one step closer to the new president’s cabinet after completing his first Senate confirmation hearing.
Mr. Daschle was questioned by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP) Committee. Committee Chairman Ted Kennedy (D-MA), making his return to the panel for the first time since being diagnosed with brain cancer last May, set the tone of the two-hour hearing in his opening remarks, calling Daschle a “valued friend.” “Tom Daschle is a leader of great integrity and strong dedication,” Kennedy said. “He has admirers all across the country and on both sides of the aisle.” (The Politico, 1-8-09)
Questions for the most part appeared to be friendly from the committee. The senators were mainly interested in how much Daschle plans to work across the aisle with Republicans in order to help shape a bi-partisan plan for health care reform.
The next step for Mr. Daschle is to appear before the Senate Finance Committee, who shares jurisdiction with the HELP committee on some health issues.