Yesterday, former Senate majority leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination to serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the face of lingering questions about unpaid taxes and “problematic ties to wealthy private interests.” Once regarded as a “shoo-in” for the nomination, Daschle’s “undoing came with the release of his financial disclosure forms last Friday and information that he had paid $146,000 in back taxes and interest to resolve problems flagged by [President] Obama’s vetters.” Obama chose Daschle specifically for what were perceived to be his unique set of skills and connections that could drive real health care reform and bring nearly 50 million Americans under the umbrella of the insured. Yet, because of the storm surrounding his financial discretions, Daschle offered concern “that he would not have been able to lead an overhaul of the nation’s health care system ‘with the full faith of the Congress and the American people.'” “I am not that leader,” Daschle said in a statement released by the White House, “and will not be a distraction.” “I’m frustrated with myself, with our team. … I’m here on television saying I screwed up,” Obama said last night during an interview with NBC’s Brian Williams. Meanwhile, policy makers continue to wrestle with our health care system. Obama is expected to sign a bill today expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), and Congress and the Obama adminstration remain committed to moving forward with much needed health care reform.
From The Progress Report