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.”
(CNN) - Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus released his first public statement on Tom Daschle’s nomination Monday, laying out his panel’s plan to investigate questions swirling around the embattled Health and Human Services nominee.
“The ability to advance meaningful health reform is my top priority in confirming a Secretary of Health and Human Services, and I remain convinced that Senator Daschle would be an invaluable and expert partner in this effort,” said the Montana senator in a statement. “I am eager to move forward together.”
Daschle sent Baucus and ranking Republican Chuck Grassley a letter earlier Monday saying that he is “deeply embarrassed” for a series of errors which include failing to report $15,000 in charitable donations, unreported car service and more than $80,000 in unreported income from consulting. The former Senate Majority Leader recently filed amended tax returns, and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest for 2005-2007.
Baucus said the Finance Committee, which is responsible for moving Daschle’s nomination to the full Senate, will release the final version of a statement on the nominee’s “vetting issues” as soon as remaining issues in the draft version are resolved. Sens. John Kerry and Patrick Leahy have spoken out on Daschle’s behalf.
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."
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Four prominent Democratic Senators spoke out Saturday in support of former Sen. Tom Daschle, whose tax records have come under scrutiny as he pursues a Cabinet position in the administration of President Barack Obama.
Obama nominated the 61-year-old South Dakotan to be secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Senate Finance committee - which will vote on the nomination before the full Senate votes on whether to confirm him - is scheduled to meet Monday to discuss the nomination.
Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, the senior member of the finance committee, released a statement Saturday saying, "Months ago, Tom personally and proactively addressed the taxes issue and took all necessary steps to correct his innocent error."
WASHINGTON (CNN) – The Senate Finance committee will meet Monday to review the tax records of former Sen. Tom Daschle, President Obama's nominee for secretary of health and human services.
According to a committee memo obtained Friday by CNN, the group's concerns include the use of a limousine 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 also apparently once filed a tax form listing charitable donations to organizations that did not qualify for a deduction, according to the memo.
A Democratic source told CNN that Daschle has since paid what he owed. None of the tax issues appeared to have occurred while he was serving in the senate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Senate Finance committee will meet Monday to review the tax records of former Sen. Tom Daschle, President Obama's nominee for secretary of Health and Human Services who, according to sources, didn't pay taxes on a car and driver he had been loaned.
A Democratic source familiar with the situation told CNN Daschle was loaned a car and driver by a wealthy friend and failed to disclose it on his income taxes, as he should have.
Daschle has since paid what he owed, the source said.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that Daschle had brought the issues to the committee's attention himself and that President Barack Obama said is "confident" he will be confirmed.
– CNN's Dana Bash and Gloria Borger contributed to this report
WASHINGTON (CNN)– The opening gavel came down on President-elect Barack Obama's cabinet confirmation hearings Thursday morning as Health and Human Services secretary nominee Tom Daschle appeared before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
Daschle, a national co-chair of Obama's presidential campaign, represented South Dakota in the Senate from 1987 to 2005. He served as the Senate Majority Leader from 2001 to 2003.
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is chaired by Sen. Ted Kennedy.
In a bipartisan gesture, Daschle was formally introduced to the committee by another South Dakota Democrat - Sen. Tim Johnson - and former Republican Senate leader and 1996 presidential nominee Bob Dole.
Watch the event on CNN.com/live.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle returned “home” Tuesday to the Senate floor and stood alongside a bitter adversary to watch his longtime friend and South Dakota colleague Tim Johnson be sworn-in for a third term.
Sen. Johnson, who suffered a devastating stroke, was flanked by Daschle and Republican Sen. John Thune, who defeated the Democratic leader by a razor thin 51% to 49 % margin in what can be accurately described as a bitter contest. Daschle was first elected to Congress as a House member in 1978 and successfully ran for the Senate in 1986.
But time seems to have paved over the bitterness. As Thune and Daschle departed the Senate floor, the two former adversaries shook hands and patted each other on the back.
Daschle returns to Capitol Hill on Thursday for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee hearing on his nomination to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services.
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, clearly remembers what happened to his predecessor in 2004. That is the year when congressional Republicans aimed their fire at then-Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, D-South Dakota, and helped defeat him.
In the 2004 election cycle, Republicans coined a new phrase that they said described obstruction in Washington: “Daschle Democrats.” The constant pounding by the GOP, President Bush’s landslide victory in South Dakota, and a strong candidate in John Thune, contributed to Daschle’s defeat. He had been in Congress since 1979, first as a congressman and then as a senator and eventually the Senate Democratic leader.
Reid succeeded Daschle as the senior Democrat in the Senate.
Even though the 2008 election is still fresh in everyone’s minds, Reid is looking ahead to 2010, hoping that what the GOP did to Daschle in 2004 is not repeated in two years.
CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - President-elect Barack Obama picked former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for two important roles Thursday - secretary of Health and Human Services and director of the White House Office of Health Reform.
"He will be responsible not just for implementing our health care plan. He will also be the lead architect of that plan," Obama said, calling Daschle "one of America's foremost health care experts."
"If we want to overcome our economic challenges, we must also finally address our health care challenge," Obama said. Appearing at a press conference with Obama, Daschle said it is "so exciting" to take on the dual role not just to implement reform "but helping to generate it."
"We have the most expensive health care system in the world, but are not the healthiest nation in the world," Daschle said.
"Our growing costs are unsustainable, and the plight of the uninsured is unconscionable," he said.
"Addressing our health care challenges will not only mean healthier and longer lives for millions, it will also make American companies more competitive, address the cause of half of all of our personal bankruptcies and foreclosures and help pull our economy out of its current tailspin."