McConnell questions vetting post-Daschle

Feb. 1, 2009 at 5:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 1 (UPI) -- U.S. Democratic leaders expressed confidence Sunday that Tom Daschle's tax woes wouldn't jinx his Cabinet nomination as Republicans questioned his vetting.

Sen. Charles Schumer said on CBS' "Face the Nation" he didn't believe his former colleague's nomination as the Department of Health and Human Services secretary would be sunk because of reports that Daschle owed $128,000 in taxes.

Daschle "is one of the most respected people, and particularly in healthcare," Schumer said. "He's made recompense. He's admitted it. ... And I believe that he will be approved by both the Finance Committee and the whole Senate."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from Kentucky said the Senate Finance Committee would meet on Monday to discuss the matter and offer recommendations, adding "I think I'm going to just wait until they give me their opinion."

Daschle's tax problems, coupled with those of Treasury Secretary Timothy Gaithner, "does raise some questions about the vetting process," McConnell said. "I think the administration ought to take a look at its vetting process."

On "Fox News Sunday," Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona said, "President Obama wanted to have a very ethical administration starting out and so on, but I think he's seeing how hard it is to avoid these kind of problems."

Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Michgan said Daschle took the necessary steps to begin repaying taxes to ensure they're paid.

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