In a letter to President Obama today, Senators Edward M. Kennedy and Max Baucus said that, Daschle or no Daschle, they're committed to "enacting comprehensive health care reform this year," and urged Obama to "swiftly choose an exceptionally qualified and dedicated alternate nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services to assist in our efforts."
Here's the letter:
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500
We were saddened to hear about Senator Daschle's decision to withdraw from the nomination process. While we continue to believe that Senator Daschle is highly qualified to hold the position of Secretary of Health and Human Services, we respect his decision and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.
We are writing to affirm our continuing commitment to enacting comprehensive health care reform this year, and to express our confidence that you will swiftly choose an exceptionally qualified and dedicated alternate nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services to assist in our efforts. As you have emphasized, we must act now. The ranks of the uninsured grow larger each day. The cost of health care to families, businesses and government are crippling and, although we spend more on health care than any other country, the quality of care provided by America's health care system is often uneven compared to other industrialized nations.
We have a moral duty to ensure that every American can get quality health care. We must act to contain the growth of health care costs to ensure our economic stability; to help American businesses deal with the health care challenge; and to make sure that we are getting our money's worth. Incremental efforts will no longer suffice and we cannot afford to wait any longer. With your continued leadership and commitment, we remain certain that our goal of enacting comprehensive health care reform can be accomplished this year.
Senator Max Baucus Senator Edward M. Kennedy
Senate Finance Committee Senate HELP Committee