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Bipartisan Policy Center Founding Board Members Daschle and Dole Appear on Capitol Hill
Date:1/8/2009

Senator Dole introduces Senator Daschle at his confirmation hearing to be the next Secretary of Health and Human Services

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) founding board member Senator Tom Daschle, nominee for Department of Health and Human Services Secretary, was introduced by fellow BPC founder and friend Senator Bob Dole at his confirmation hearing today. The hearing was convened by the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee. Video from the hearing is available at: http://www.c-span.org/Watch/watch.aspx?MediaId=HP-R-14054

Senators Daschle and Dole, along with other former Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker and George Mitchell, founded the BPC in 2007. The BPC is dedicated to finding bipartisan solutions to the country's most difficult public policy challenges. Currently, the BPC is conducting projects focused on health care, energy, transportation, national security, homeland security and science policy.

Senators Baker, Dole, and Mitchell, together with Senator Daschle, have been working to come to consensus on a set of recommendations for health care reform through the BPC's "Leaders' Project on the State of American Health Care" over the past nine months. Senators Baker, Dole and Mitchell will release their recommendations to the new Administration and Congress in the next two months, with the goal of finding agreement on an issue that is of vital importance to the nation.

Following are Senator Dole's remarks from today's hearing:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

It is a privilege to be here this morning, along with Senator Daschle's former colleague from South Dakota, Senator Tim Johnson, both to introduce Senator Daschle and to emphasize the importance of the position he will assume when confirmed.

Senator Johnson, let me say it is good to be with you and I speak personally of how everyone is tremendously proud of you for meeting a difficult challenge and making a recovery that inspired and gave hope to everyone, particularly the disabled.

I'm here today as his friend and former colleague. I served with Tom for 10 years, including two years when we both served as our party's Leader before I left voluntarily in 1996. So I have years of experience knowing and working with Tom both in and out of the Senate on a number of issues, such as agriculture, energy, health care, trade and many more. I can testify not only to his expertise on issues, but most importantly to his integrity and fairness, which gave his Senate colleagues confidence regardless of differences.

Senator Daschle and I are now together in the same law firm, Alston & Bird, where he works and I just show up. In addition to advising clients, hosting events, and telling people what we think we know about the political process, we have traveled around the country together discussing the issues of the day. We both know each other's best lines.

Senator Daschle and I, along with our two former colleagues, Senator Howard Baker and Senator George Mitchell, both former Majority Leaders of the Senate, have for two years worked together with the Bipartisan Policy Center. The goal is to address a few of the major important policy challenges and, where possible, reach meaningful consensus along with actionable recommendations.

For the past 9 months, working with the BPC, Senator Daschle and I, with Senator Baker and Mitchell, have been working on health care reform. Senators Baker, Mitchell and I will complete recommendations without further input from Senator Daschle because of his nomination, but we are well aware of his views and his tireless work in this area.

Senator Daschle recently worked on another bipartisan effort with another former Senate Majority Leader -- Senator Bill Frist -- on the ONE Vote 08 campaign addressing health and poverty in developing countries.

As most of you know, Senator Daschle has spent a good part of his career focused on health care. He has demonstrated his interest in leading on health throughout his career in the House and Senate. He has written a book, "Critical," on reforming the system.

What is important is that the President-Elect has selected an individual who begins the important task of reforming health care with 1) the ability to hit the ground running and 2) the understanding of the concerns of the members of this committee and this body, being the only Senator ever to serve twice as both majority and minority leader. His 8 years in the House, will also be a big plus in dealing with Congress.

Senator Daschle and I both believe politics is an honorable profession. He is a role model to many because he knows how he got here, who he is, and he has not forgotten his legion of friends in South Dakota who sent him here.

Having been around the process a long time, I have the sense the time has come for real constructive, bipartisan action on health care. The American people and Congress are ready to address the uninsured and the spiraling costs associated with care. If you feel as we do, we have a nominee who understands bipartisanship is best in the long run, even though with the big Democratic majority he may not need Republicans.

I wish you all a good New Year and look forward to watching Tom's progress. Thank you.

About the Bipartisan Policy Center:

In 2007, former U.S. Senate Majority Leaders Howard Baker, Tom Daschle, Bob Dole, and George Mitchell founded the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) to develop and promote solutions that can attract the public support and political momentum to achieve real progress. The BPC acts as an incubator for policy efforts that engage top political figures, advocates, academics, and business leaders in the art of principled compromise. For more information please visit our website: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/


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SOURCE Bipartisan Policy Center
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