Tom Daschle

TOM DASCHLE
Tom Daschle was born into a working class family on December 9, 1947 in
Aberdeen, South Dakota. Tom was the eldest of four brothers and became the first to
graduate from college in 1969 with a political science degree form South Dakota State
University. After graduating college, Tom joined the United States Air Force Strategic
Air Command. Tom served three years as an intelligence officer. After the Air Force,
Tom became an aide to then South Dakota Senator James Abourezk.


In 1978 Tom was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served four
terms and soon became part of the Democratic Leadership. In 1979 he was elected Rocky
Mountain Regional Whip and from 1982-1986, Tom remained Whip-at-large. Tom
quickly gained a reputation for humility and a willingness to compromise. He also
became known to his critics as a wolfish partisan, whose strong opinions were only
partially disguised by a lambs demeanor.

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In 1986, Tom ran for the U.S. Senate where he won a tough contest against the
incumbent James Abnor. After being elected, Tom received the honor of being appointed
to the Senate Finance Committee. Tom became the first South Dakota Senator to be
appointed a leadership position when in 1988, Senate Democratic Leader George
Mitchell selected Tom the first ever co-chair of the Democratic Policy Committee. Tom
Daschle was the first U.S. Senator to hire a full-time economic development director and
he also made it easier for South Dakotans to reach him by establishing a toll-free
telephone line to his office.


South Dakotans re-elected Tom to the Senate in 1992 and 1998. In addition to his
leadership duties, Tom also serves as a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee,
Veterans Committee, Indian Affairs Committee, Finance Committee, and the Ethic
Committee. Senator Daschle has insisted on fiscal responsibility and discipline from both
Congress and the White House. Urging his policy of fiscal responsibility, Senator
Daschle has advised Congress to use the unprecedented budget surpluses to pay down the
national debt, lock up Social Security and Medicare for future generations, cut taxes for
working families and invest in other important priorities such as agriculture, education,
crime fighting and healthcare. Tom has pushed for fair competition for family farmers
and ranchers and worked to make certain that quality education and healthcare are made
available to rural communities. Senator Daschle constantly fights for Veterans to get
them the benefits they deserve for their dedication to our country. Tom has also fought
for legislation protecting the rights of Native Americans. He has also ensured that rural
Americans are not left behind in the New Economy. He ensures this by fighting for
universal access to the latest technology and technical training. Senator Daschle has also
been a strong supporter of Community Oriented Policing Service or COPS, which has
been successful in bringing police officers closer to the communities they live in.


Senator Daschle supports a Patients Bill of Rights whereby power would be
transferred to the purchaser instead of the provider.


The central objectives of the Patients Bill of Rights are to ensure that:
Patients will have access to needed care
Doctors are free to practice medicine without improper HMO and insurance company interference
A health plans decision to deny care can be appealed by patients to an independent entity
Health plans are held accountable for their medical decisions that lead to harm
The Patients Bill of Rights allows patients to go to any emergency room during
a medical emergency, without having to call a health plan for permission. Emergency
room physicians can stabilize their patients and plan for a cure after stabilization without
fear that health plans will deny coverage. The Patients Bill of Rights ensures that
patients who suffer from a chronic condition or a disease that requires care by a
specialists will have access to a qualified specialist. If the HMO does not include
specialists qualified to treat a condition, such as a pediatric cardiologist to treat a childs
heart defect, it would have to allow the patient to see a qualified doctor outside its
network at no extra cost. The Patients Bill of Rights also allows patients with serious
ongoing conditions to choose a specialist as their primary doctor or to see that doctor
without having to ask their HMO for permission before every visit. The Patients Bill of
Rights allows a woman to have direct access to her OB/GYN without having to get a
referral from her HMO. Women also would have the option to designate their OB/GYN
as their primary care physician. The Patients Bill of Rights ensures that patients with
drug coverage will be able to obtain needed medications, even if they are not on the
HMOs approved list. The Patients Bill of Rights protects the doctor-patient
relationship and ensures that doctors drive medical decisions. The Patients Bill of
Rights prevents HMOs from interfering with doctors communications with their
patients. Doctors cannot be penalized for referring patients to specialists or discussing
costly medical procedures. Under the Patients Bill of Rights, HMOs are prevented
from inappropriately interfering with doctors judgements and cannot mandate drive-
through procedures or set arbitrary limits on hospital lengths of stay. The Patients Bill
of Rights limits insurance companies ability to use financial incentives to get doctors to
deny care. The Patients Bill of Rights ensures that patients who are denied care by an
insurance company can appeal the decision to an independent reviewer with medical and
legal expertise, and receive timely decisions that are binding on the HMO. The Patients
Bill of Rights addresses three basic issues for Americans:
Getting the care theyve been promised and have paid for
Securing basic protections
Limiting HMO and insurance company interference with doctors decisions
These basic issues restore balance between quality care and reasonable cost
containment.


On January 4, 2002, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle made some remarks on
Americas Economy: Rising to our New Challenges. In his remarks, Senator Daschle
proposed some ideas to get the economic stimulus debate back on track. First was to pass
a new Jobs Creation Tax Credit. This tax cut would be available to every business in
America. It says, simply, that if you increase your payroll, hire new people, restore hours
that have been cut, or give your workers a raise, youll be reimbursed for all of the extra
payroll taxes. Second, better protection against terrorists attacks and the economic
damage they cause. Homeland security will provide economic stimulus because it will
increase confidence and spur spending. Third, restore long-term fiscal integrity to our
budget to bring long-term interest rates down. Low interest rates help families afford
college, buy cars, purchase homes and pay off credit card debt. Fourth, invest in
education, training, and technology to promote job creation and economic growth. Its
essential that the federal government continue to be a good partner, so that American tech
companies can continue to lead the world. Fifth, open new markets and help workers who
are hurt by trade. Assistance to all workers hurt by global production shifts. These
workers should be taught new skills needed to make a living. Expanded trade will
provide billions and billions of dollars in economic growth for the United States. Sixth, a
balanced national energy plan. A energy plan is needed to steer us towards energy
independence. The Administration has been pushing an energy plan that is based mainly
on opening sensitive wilderness areas to oil drilling. The plan includes provisions to
improve the efficiency of Americas electrical transmission system, improve the supply
and distribution of traditional energy resources like oil and gas, and invest in clean coal
technologies. Seventh get serious about retirement security. Social Security and Medicare
may be the most successful government programs in history. They reflect our values, by
guaranteeing, after a lifetime of work, a retirement with dignity.


Some of the issues Tom Daschle agrees and disagrees on are:
Favors:
Abortion is a womans right.

Require companies to hire more women & minorities.

Sexual orientation protected by civil rights
More federal funding for health coverage
Support and Expand of Free Trade
More spending on Armed Forces Personnel
Reduce spending on Missile Defense
Continue Foreign Aid to Russia, Israel, and others
Spend Resources to Stop Global Warming
Opposes:
Teach moral standards in Public Schools
Privatize Social Security
Parents choose Schools via Vouchers
Death Penalty
Mandatory Three Strikes Sentencing Laws
Absolute right to gun ownership
Make Income Tax flatter & lower
Link Human Rights to Trade with China
Drug use is immoral; enforce laws against it
Allow churches to provide welfare services
Tom Daschle is commended by his political foes and allies for his grasp of
complex issues and is popular in all 66 counties of South Dakota. Tom makes it a point to
travel each of the counties to meet with citizens and hear whats on their minds. Tom
focuses and fights for the issues that are important to the people of South Dakota.

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