Thursday, January 8, 2009

Republican National Committee: As Former Sen. Tom Daschle Faces Senate Confirmation Hearings, a Reminder of His Past on Health Care

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released today by the Republican National Committee:

Today, The U.S. Senate Will Hold Hearings For President-Elect Obama's Health And Human Services Nominee, Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-SD):

Daschle Will Be Testifying At His Senate Confirmation Hearing On Thursday. "Obama's choice to lead the reform effort, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, testifies at his Senate confirmation hearing on Thursday -- beginning a process to change the nation's healthcare that could be one of the most ambitious and expensive undertakings of the Obama presidency." (David Alexander, "Obama Building Grassroots Support For Health Reform," Reuters, 1/7/09)

Obama Announced That Daschle Will Serve As The "Lead Architect" On Health Care Reform In Addition To His Role As Health And Human Services Secretary:

Obama Announced That Daschle Will "Be The Lead Architect" Of Health Care Reform In Addition To Serving As HHS Secretary. Obama: "I've asked Tom to serve not just as my secretary of Health and Human Services, but also as my director of White House -- of my White House Office of Health Reform. As such, he will be responsible not just for implementing our health care plan, he will also be the lead architect of that plan." (Barack Obama, Press Conference, 12/11/08)

Obama Said No One Is "Better Suited To Lead This Effort" Than Daschle. Obama: "I can think of no one better suited to lead this effort than the man standing beside me today. Tom Daschle is one of America's foremost health care experts." (Barack Obama, Press Conference, 12/11/08)


Daschle "Played A Major Part" In Advocating Sen. Clinton's Doomed Health Care Plan Of 1993:

Daschle "Played A Major Part" In The Failed Clinton Attempt To Reform Health Care In 1993. "He also devotes a section of the book to 'What Went Wrong And Models For Making It Right,' with a heavy concentration on the Clinton plan. 'I think it's important that we learn the lessons of the past,' he said ... Daschle is well aware of those lessons, having played a major part in the failed campaign for universal health care and learned many of the mistakes that were made from a Capitol Hill perspective." (Erin McPike, "Daschle Warm To Obama Health Role," CongressDaily, 6/5/08)

The Clinton Administration Expected Daschle To Help "Carry The Ball" On Their Health Care Platform. "[Sec. Lloyd] Bentsen and [Sec. Donna] Shalala, joined by the members of the economic team argued against the proposed price ceilings on insurance premiums. Those so-called premiums caps would be viewed, correctly, as proxies for price controls -- and Congress despised price controls. They argued that the alliances were too regulatory, the overall plan too bureaucratic. And they said that Medicare cuts were too extreme and would cause severe problems, both in urban states like New York and rural ones like South Dakota. These, Bensten knew well, were potential time bombs for the Senate Finance Committee, where Democratic senators from those states, Pat Moynihan and Tom Daschle, were expected to carry the ball for the President." (Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System, 1996, p. 161)

Daschle Was One Of Only Two Democrats On The Senate Finance Committee That Held "Out For The Clinton Plan" Against Other Health Care Proposals In Congress. "[Rep. Jim] Cooper had told [Rep. Mike] Synar that his co-sponsor, Senator John Breaux, was convinced that only two Democrats on Finance -- Majority Leader George Mitchell of Maine and Senator Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Mitchell's protg and 1995 successor as leader of the Senate Democrats -- would hold out for the Clinton plan." (Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System, 1996, p. 336)

Daschle Was Considered A "Foot Soldier" For The Clinton Health Care Reform Effort, During The Time When The Senate Had Become "Increasingly Hostile To Bi-Partisanship." "The Senate environment was also increasingly hostile to bi-partisanship. Something new-and destructive- was at work. ... It was true that in the clash over health care reform, some senators acted out assigned roles -- or roles others suspected them of playing. Jay Rockefeller thus was regarded by other Democrats as the foot soldier for the First Lady; Tom Daschle of South Dakota as the foot soldier for the Senate Majority Leader Mitchell; Mitchell as the foot soldier for the President's bill..." (Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System, 1996, pp. 382-383)

Daschle Pushed For A Vote On The Clinton Plan Despite Opposition In The Senate:

Daschle Pressed For A Vote On The Clinton Plan "To Force Accountability" Among Those Opposed To The Plan. "Tom Daschle of South Dakota, Mitchell's deputy and soon to be his successor as Democratic leader, was as devoted as anyone to passage; but he conceded in conversations with us that August, because the Democrats lacked consensus on whether to fight or let the issue fade, 'there is a belief that to have it trail off may be the best approach.' Daschle was among the senators who argued they needed 'to force accountability,' to 'force the Republicans to vote on something.' In the end, though, his was a minority view. 'There is a feeling,' Daschle added, 'that we are putting as many Democrats on the line as Republicans' by pressing for a vote on the unpopular bill, and that feeling was even stronger among House Democrats. In recalling his private conversations with House Democratic leaders, Daschle remembered, 'They were just really worried about crawling out there on a limb as they've done in the past this close to an election. The votes weren't there for that.'" (Haynes Johnson and David Broder, The System, 1996, p. 515)


Daschle Is An Adviser For Washington, D.C. Lobbying Firm, Which Has Earned Millions Lobbying For Health Care Industry:

Daschle Is A "Special Policy Adviser" For Prominent D.C. Lobbying Firm, Which Has Earned More Than $16 Million Representing The Health Care Industry During Daschle's Tenure. "Barack Obama's expected pick of former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle to be secretary of health and human services bumps up against the president-elect's pledge to rid the White House of special interests. The former Democratic senator from South Dakota is a special policy adviser for the lobbying law firm Alston & Bird. And in his three years there, the firm has earned more than $16 million representing some of the health care industry's most powerful interests before the department he's in line to lead." (Chris Frates, "Daschle Lobby Ties Bump Obama Vow," Politico, 12/1/08)

Daschle's Work As A Paid Adviser "Appears To Run Counter To Obama's Pledge 'To Free The Executive Branch From Special Interest Influence'" Since According To Obama's Team, Political Appointees Are Not "Permitted To Work On Regulations Or Contracts Directly And Substantially Related To Their Prior Employer For Two Years." "Daschle is not himself a lobbyist. But he has advised the firm's clients on health care issues, according to the firm's website. His work as a paid adviser appears to run counter to Obama's pledge to 'free the executive branch from special interest influence.' No political appointee, Obama's transition team has declared, 'will be permitted to work on regulations or contracts directly and substantially related to their prior employer for two years.' As health and human services secretary, Daschle would oversee myriad regulations, ranging from the drugs that can come to market to Medicare and Medicare reimbursements." (Chris Frates, "Daschle Lobby Ties Bump Obama Vow," Politico, 12/1/08)

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