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Daschle's Exit Stymies Selection of FDA Leader

Following a reveal that Tom Daschle owed $128,000 in taxes, the senator withdrew his nomination yesterday as the next Health and Human Services Secretary. The former Senator from South Dakota had failed to pay taxes on the use of a free car and driver, provided by a Democratic fundraiser. Daschle, concluding that he owed the taxes, filed amended returns and paid more than $140,000 in back taxes and interest on Jan. 2, 2009. So now the question.

Who is a possible replacement nominee for the office in HHS? Daschle's withdrawal not only puts the Obama administration in a scramble to find a suitable pick, but it will likely delay the appointment of a commissioner for FDA. Although there was not a permanent commissioner for most of President George W. Bush's two terms in office, the White House says that finding an HHS secretary and an FDA commissioner remain high priorities. AdvaMed expressed its disappointment with Daschle's withdrawal but urged the current administration to press on. âEURoeWe urge President Obama to move quickly to name a replacement nominee to fill the crucial position of Secretary of HHS," said AdvaMed president Stephen Ubl in a statement, "so that work can proceed to reform the U.S. health care system so that all Americans can benefit from affordable, quality insurance and the best that medical innovation has to offer.âEUR

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