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Tom Daschle Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Health and Human Services, January 8, 2009, Transcript

Tom Daschle Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Health and Human Services, January 8, 2009, Transcript

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Transcript of Senate Confirmation Hearing for Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Transcript of Senate Confirmation Hearing for Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services.

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Published by: icebergslim on Jan 15, 2009
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06/25/2012

 
Tom Daschle Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of Health and Human ServicesFor the Obama Adminstration January 8, 2009
KENNEDY: We have a wonderful turnout of the members of the committee, andwe have an extraordinary panel here that has had an incredible life andcommitment to health and human services, and we are just delighted that they'rehere.
We'll look forward to what their statement or testimony, and thenwe'll -- we'll proceed with Senator -- our senators right after that.So we will recognize Senator Dole first.
(UNKNOWN): We're going to ask Senator Johnson to go first, if that's OK.KENNEDY: Fine. That's -- that's -- they're starting with their strong man. Here we-- here we go, and the Johnson...JOHNSON: Thank you, Senator. Good call.KENNEDY: Always good to hear you, and we're very, very appreciative of your  presence here and your excellent work in the Senate. Thank you.JOHNSON: I'm still uncertain, so...Chairman Kennedy, Senator Enzi and members of the committee, I'm so pleased tointroduce my good friend and former colleague, Tom Daschle, as the HealthCommittee considers his nomination for secretary of Health and Human Services.I've watched and admired Tom's career in public service for many years. Iremember his first campaign for Congress in 1978, the same year as my first runfor the (inaudible) legislature.During the past 22 years, Tom has become one of my closest friends and in myworld as his deep dedication to service, relentless work ethic and unendingcommitment to serving the people of our home state and our nation. Now Tom has been called upon to return to public service as secretary of Healthand Human Services. I know -- known our country will be a better place becauseTom chose to answer that call.His passion for ensuring that all Americans have access to quality health care issecond to none. With Tom's unique understanding of the many problems plaguing
 
health care in America and his commitment to solving them with fresh ideas, wehave our first chance to actually improve health care for all Americans.I urge the members of this committee and my Senate colleagues to confirm TomDaschle's nomination so that we can all get to work reforming health care inAmerica.Thank you.KENNEDY: Thank you very much. I really appreciate taking the time to be withus, Senator.And now we'll hear from Senator Dole.DOLE: It's obviously a privilege to be here with my friend, Tom Daschle, and withTim. And we are both -- Tim has made his statement, and mine is very short, butwe want to underscore not only Tom's qualifications, but the importance of the jobhe's going to assume when he's confirmed.And so this is a very -- as I understand it -- the first hearing that's been held on anyof President-elect Obama's nominees.Let me first say to Senator Johnson that it's good to be with you. And I speak  personally how everyone is tremendously proud of your meeting a difficultchallenge and making a recovery that inspired and gave hope to everyone, particularly those in the disabled communities.So it's an honor to be with you and -- and also with the chairman, Senator Kennedy.I'm here today, as I said, as a friend and a former colleague. I served with Tom for 10 years, including two years when we both served as our party's leader before Ileft voluntarily in 1996.So I've had a long -- a decade of working with Tom and -- and in and out of theSenate on a number of issues, such as agriculture and energy and health care andtrade and many more. And I can testify not only to his expertise on issues, but mostimportantly I think to the American people and the people he'll be dealing with andhis colleagues and former colleagues in the Senate and the House is Tom's integrityand fairness, which I think gives everybody confidence, even though you may notagree on a particular issue.We're now in the same law firm, Alston & Bird, where he works and I just showup. And in addition to advising clients and hosting events and telling people whatwe think we know about the political process, we've traveled around the countrytogether discussing issues of the day.
 
We both pretty much know each other's lines. We're not a threat to Leno or Letterman or anybody, but Tom should tell you his one story about the modelsenator. I think it's very good, and I know they'd appreciate it.But along with our former colleagues at the present time, Senator Baker andSenator Mitchell and myself and Senator Daschle, we've worked for two years inwhat we -- in the Bipartisan Policy Center, and the goal is to address a few of themajor important challenges and where possible reach meaningful consensus, alongwith recommendations that we think might be received by members of theCongress and both parties.Add for the past nine months working with the bipartisan policy panel, Senator Daschle and I with Senator Baker and Mitchell have been working on health carereform.And Baker and Mitchell and myself will have to finish the job, because Tom will be in another position, but we hope we can adopt some recommendations that willhave -- will resonate with many in the Congress and those who have a directinterest, as well as the American people.And I can -- we all know from past experience it's a very difficult issue, and we probably won't find agreement on everything. But we certainly appreciated Tom'shard work, his views.He's written a book on health care, and he's been a tireless worker in this area for as long as I can remember.He also recently worked on another bipartisan effort with another former Senatemajority leader, Senator Bill Frist, on the one vote '08 campaign addressing healthand poverty in developing countries.As most of you know, Senator Daschle has spent a good part of his career focusedon health care. He has demonstrated his interest in leading the health -- on healthcare throughout his career in both the House and the Senate.As I have said, he's written a book entitled "Critical on Reforming the System."What is important is that the President-elect has selected an individual who beginsthe important task of reforming health care with, one, the ability to hit the groundrunning, because Tom knows this forwards and backwards, and he reallyunderstands almost as well as staff experts most of the issues when it comes tohealth care, and secondly, I think the fact that he understands Congress.If anybody understands Congress, it's Tom Daschle, serving eight years in theHouse and having been in the Senate and being the only senator to ever serve twiceas both majority and minority leaders in the Senate. And he enjoyed being majorityleader more.

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