Lawmakers from both sides of the aisle on Capitol Hill lauded former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschles decision to accept President-elect Barack Obamas offer to be HHS secretary.
News of Daschles appointment to HHS was reported by various sources, including the Associated Press.
Im elated, said Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a panel that will be pivotal in any plan to reform the healthcare system. Sen. Daschle clearly knows Congress (and) he specifically knows the Senate. He knows the rhythms of this outfit.
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), a member of the Finance and Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committees, similarly praised the Daschle choice. He understands both sides of the Hill, Hatch said, adding that HHS is one of the most difficult agencies in government and that the former senator is a very, very good choice.
Daschle, an adviser to the law firm of Alston and Bird in Washington, has also been appointed to lead a healthcare policy working group by the Obama-Biden presidential transition team. This decision speaks volumes about the importance the Obama administration places on working with Congress to enact comprehensive health reform, and on managing our current health programs, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, said in a statement.
Daschles appointment to HHS also drew praise from advocacy group Families USA. It confirms that the incoming administration has made healthcare reform a top and early priority for action in 2009, said Ron Pollack, the groups executive director, in a statement. -- by Matthew DoBias and Jennifer Lubell