WASHINGTON (CNN) - Immediately before the Senate Finance Committee began its closed-door meeting to consider former Sen. Tom Daschle’s failure to pay certain taxes, the panel's top Republican said he had concerns about the Obama administration's vetting process.
“I have a high level of concern about how it looks to the public,” Sen. Chuck Grassley said of Daschle's situation. “I don’t have a level of concern about how it affects his ability to be HHS Secretary.”
He said he’s most concerned about the vetting process, even making a sarcastic comment about President Obama otherwise being a “genius.”
“What bothers me is a President who wanted to get his administration off and running even before he’s sworn in. What’s wrong with the vetting process? It shows a little bit of shortcoming for someone who otherwise is a genius, you know, about management capability.”
Members of the Finance Committee are meeting at this hour to review the matter. Grassley says that right now only he and Chairman Max Baucus have read the full report detailing the tax problems stalling Daschle’s nomination.
At the meeting, which is closed, the other 21 members of the committee will review and discuss the report.
Daschle will wait in a separate room and will be available to come in if members have questions, and he may be offered an opportunity to address the committee, should he choose to.
Grassley, who says he won’t decide whether to support Daschle until after the committee holds formal confirmation hearings, said he expects those hearings to begin February 10.