Dec. 4, 2008
SECRETARY OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
NOMINEE: Thomas Daschle
BIRTH DATE: Dec. 9, 1947
EDUCATION: B.A. in political science, South Dakota State University, 1969.
FAMILY: Wife, Linda Hall Daschle; three children from a previous marriage.
FRC SCORECARD: 107th Second Session: 22%, 108th First Session: 14%, 108th Second Session: 17%
EXPERIENCE: distinguished senior fellow, Center for American Progress; special public policy adviser, Alston & Bird; Senate minority leader, 2003-2005; Senate majority leader, 2001-2003; Senate minority leader, 1995-2001; U.S. Senate, 1987-2005; U.S. House of Representatives, 1979-1986; aide to Sen. James Abourezk, 1972-77; representative for financial investment firm; intelligence officer, U.S. Air Force, 1969-72.
HEALTH CARE EXPERIENCE: Co-wrote one book and a few papers on the subject while with the liberal organization Center for American Progress.
Comments on Health Care
"Many believe wrongly that we have the best health system in the world . . . One of the most urgent priorities in this nation is making its health system accessible and affordable for all." Daschle. Thomas, Paying "More but Getting Less: Myths and the Global Case for U.S. Health Reform," Center for American Progress, November 2005.
"Daschle's solution lies in the Federal Reserve Board, which has overseen the equally complicated financial system with great success. A Fed-like health board would offer a public framework within which a private health-care system can operate more effectively and efficiently . . . Daschle argues that this independent board would create a single standard of care and exert tremendous influence on every other provider and payer, even those in the private sector." Excerpt: "Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis," by Senator Tom Daschle with Scott S. Greenberger and Jeanne M. Lambrew, February, 2008
"For the most part, Daschle's views on health-care policy are predictable for a Democratic politician with long service in the Congress . . . the toolbox he is looking through is the same one other Democrats are also reaching for: mandates on individuals and businesses to buy or offer coverage; new government-run insurance options for the under-65 population; a national governmental agency offering anyone who wants it to sign up for insurance outside of work; large new subsidy programs; and much more government involvement in determining what is and is not effective medical care . . . Daschle is no free-market reformer. He believes the solution is to entrust government-run health care to people more trustworthy than HHS bureaucrats or elected members of Congress . . . In Daschle's vision, such a board would be charged with making the big and controversial decisions - like what should or should not be covered by insurance plans - without having to answer to the public. Of course, this would be a nightmare scenario for those fearful of government intrusion into the practice of medicine. Once up and running, such a Board would inevitably accrue more power and authority, becoming the choke point for all crucial decisions. And the public would have little recourse to ever undo it." Capretta, James, "Daschle's Health-Care Plan," National Review, August 27, 2008.
Taxpayer funding of abortions: June 20, 2000, voted for taxpayer funded abortions on military bases
Parental rights/Morning after pill: Voted against a Helm's Amendment in 2000 that would have prevented taxpayers paying for the morning after pill being distributed to school girls.
Roe v. Wade:
March 12, 2003, voted for a Senate resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade.
Partial Birth Abortion: July 25, 2002, Senator Daschle, as Majority Leader, was key on blocking the Partial Birth Abortion Ban coming to a vote in the Senate that year, despite voicing support for the legislation. "(A)bortion rights advocates are counting on the majority leader, Senator Tom Daschle, Democrat of South Dakota, to prevent a bill from coming to the floor. 'The Senate is our firewall,' one abortion rights supporter said." Hulse, Carl, "An Abortion Bill Passes, But to an Uncertain Fate," New York Times, July 25, 2002.
Unborn Victims of Violence: March 25, 2004, voted for an alternative to the Unborn Victims Bill, the measure that provides protection and justice for women and children like Laci and Conner Peterson who are victims of violence that would have been far weaker. The measure Daschle backed would deny that the baby had suffered any injuries or death in such an attack.
Tax and Reporting Problems
"Make no mistake, tax cheaters cheat us all, and the IRS should enforce our laws to the letter." Sen. Tom Daschle, Congressional Record, May 7, 1998, p. S4507.
According to the lead article in today's Washington Post, Tom Daschle 'waited nearly a month after being nominated to be secretary of health and human services before informing Barack Obama that he had not paid years of back taxes for the use of a car and driver provided by a wealthy New York investor.' If President Obama were really serious about ending business as usual, he would immediately withdraw the nomination of someone who was cheating big-time on his taxes and who didn't level with Obama about the problem at the outset. [Source] Of course, if he were really serious about ending business as usual, he would never have selected for a major Cabinet position a former senator of no discernible talent who, while he was a senator, enabled his wife to leverage his status to become a super-lobbyist and who on leaving the Senate cashed in his access to his former colleagues for millions of dollars a year." Ed Whelan, "Limousine Liberal," NRO The Corner, February 1, 2009.
Senator Daschle supported expanding taxpayer funding of embryonic stem cell experimentation as U.S. Senator. [Source]
Senator Daschle was "disowned" by his Catholic bishop due to his strong anti-abortion stance.
"The Senate minority leader and the highest ranking Democrat in Washington has been sent a letter by his home diocese of Sioux Falls, sources in South Dakota have told The Weekly Standard, directing him to remove from his congressional biography and campaign documents all references to his standing as a member of the Catholic Church." Bottom, J., "Tom Daschle's Duty to Be Morally Coherent," The Weekly Standard, April 17, 2003.