WASHINGTON (CNN) – President Barack Obama's choice to oversee health care reform in his administration expressed regret Monday to Senate leaders over tax issues that are dogging his nomination.
Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, said he is "deeply embarrassed and disappointed by the errors that required me to amend my tax returns," in a letter dated Monday to the senior Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee that was provided to CNN.
"I apologize for the errors and profoundly regret that you have had to devote time to them," Daschle said in the letter to Finance Chairman Max Baucus, D-Montana, and Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa.
Daschle has been nominated by Obama to be secretary of Health and Human Services.
A committee memo obtained Friday by CNN indicates committee members want to discuss the use of a car and driver that Daschle didn't disclose on his income taxes, and nonpayment of taxes on more than $80,000 he earned in consulting fees after leaving the Senate.
Daschle emphasized to Baucus and Grassley in the letter that "My mistakes were unintentional."
But two senior Democrats, both members of the Senate Finance Committee, have made public statements of support for Daschle despite his tax troubles.
"Tom Daschle has dedicated his life to public service. I have every confidence that he will be a great Secretary of Health and Human Services," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. "I look forward to working with him to finally deliver real health care reform for the American people."
Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts said he considers the matter resolved. "Months ago, Tom personally and proactively addressed the taxes issue and took all necessary steps to correct his innocent error," Kerry said. "I've known Tom Daschle for years and he is a man of great character and integrity who will do a superb job in helping us fix our healthcare system. I look forward to his speedy confirmation."