WASHINGTON — Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle has accepted President-elect Barack Obama’s offer to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, Democratic officials said today.
The appointment has not been announced, but these officials said the job is Daschle’s barring an unforeseen problem as Obama’s team reviews the background of the South Dakota Democrat. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorize to discuss the matter publicly.
Daschle is a close adviser to Obama throughout the former Illinois senator’s White House campaign. He recently wrote a book on his proposals to improve health care, and he is working with former Senate leaders on recommendations to improve the system.
Organizations seeking to expand health coverage were quick to praise the selection.
“Sen. Daschle has a deep commitment to securing high-quality, affordable health care for everyone in our nation,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA. “His new leadership position confirms that the incoming Obama administration has made health care reform a top and early priority for action in 2009.”
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the selection has not been officially announced.