Obama Makes Key Health, Energy Cabinet Appointments

President-elect Barack Obama recently selected former Sen. Tom Daschle to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Nobel Prize winner Dr. Steven Chu as energy secretary.

Obama officially nominated Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services on Dec. 11. Daschle will be tasked with implementing Obama’s vision for health care at the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as leading health care reform.

"The time has come – this year, in this new Administration – to modernize our health care system for the twenty-first century; to reduce costs for families and businesses; and to finally provide affordable, accessible health care for every American,” Obama said. “Tom Daschle is one of America's foremost health care experts. He knows how to reach across the aisle and bridge partisan divides and he has the trust of folks from every angle of this issue.”

Chu Named Energy Chief

Chu won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997 and currently is the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. According to the laboratory, Chu was an “early advocate for finding scientific solutions to climate change.”

"I know Dr. Steven Chu and have had the chance to work with and observe him in his role as head of the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory,” said Spencer Abraham, former U.S. Energy Secretary from 2001-2005. “He is an outstanding leader and scientist and therefore an excellent nominee who deserves broad support from the Senate during his upcoming confirmation.”

The New York Times reports that Obama will name Carol M. Browner as the White House coordinator of energy and climate policy. Browner was the EPA administrator under the Clinton administration. Obama also is expected to name Lisa P. Jackson as the head of EPA.

According to media reports, Chu and the environmental team will formally be nominated the week of Dec. 15.

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