Baucus said that he learned of Daschles decision by way of a phone call, but declined to say if the call came from the former senator himself.
Regardless, the decision to remove his name from consideration caps a frantic five-day run where Daschle continuously found himself on the ropes for missing more than $140,000 that he owed in back taxes and interest from a consulting job and car services.
Daschle apologized to senators late Sunday, and then again Monday evening, admitting that he had made mistakes. I would hope that my mistake could be viewed in the context of 30 years of public service, he said Monday evening after meeting with the Finance Committee.
But many Senate Republicans were left unswayed. Before Daschle announced his withdrawal, Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he would vote no on the confirmation. I think that if Sen. Daschle cares about Presidents Obamas success and the success of this new administration, then he ought to remove this distraction.
Democratic senators were mixed on what the decision meant for broader health reform efforts, many of them already under way at the committee level.
If anything, this even adds more urgency for us to keep momentum, and President Obama is totally committed to health reform, Baucus said.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), however, was less certain. There are very few people who could step into the role that he was going to play, he said. It really sets us back a step because he was such a talent. Hell be a hard person to replace.
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