44 The Obama Presidency
Obama Nominates Daschle for HHS
By Ceci Connolly
President-elect Barack Obama formally nominated Thomas A. Daschle to become the next secretary of health and human services this morning and said the former Senate majority leader would lead efforts to reform health care.
Daschle will oversee a new White House Office of Health Reform. Jeanne Lambrew will serve as deputy director of that office.
Daschle, who represented South Dakota in the Senate from 1986 to 2004, has many friends on Capitol Hill. But former adversaries might raise questions in his confirmation proceedings about Daschle's work in the private sector after he lost his Senate seat to a Republican challenger four years ago. They might also question the lobbying activities of Linda Daschle, the former senator's wife.
Daschle is not a registered lobbyist but a senior strategist at the law firm Alston & Bird, which has an array of health industry clients. Linda Daschle, a longtime lobbyist, has said she will set up her own niche firm, focused solely on transportation, going forward.
Health care is already emerging as a top-tier issue for the Obama team. In his radio address last weekend, the soon-to-be-president said he hopes to include additional federal dollars for Medicaid and money for health information technology in the next stimulus package.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said yesterday that he wants to have the bill ready the first week of January.
At his news conference this morning, Obama said the ongoing economic crisis would not derail his health-care reform effort. Making it easier for people to afford health-care, he said, was a key part of restoring fiscal stability.
Posted at 11:29 AM ET on Dec 11, 2008
44 The Obama Presidency
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