Senator Edward M. Kennedy's office announced today a series of confirmation hearings on Cabinet posts under the purview of his committee.
The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will interview former Senator Tom Daschle, President-elect Barack Obama's choice for health and human services secretary, on Jan. 8, two days after the new Congress convenes.
That will be followed a day later, Politico reports, by the hearing for Representative Hilda Solis, Obama's pick for labor secretary, and on Jan. 13, by the one for Chicago schools chief Arne Duncan, Obama's selection for education secretary. Obama gets sworn in a week later.
Kennedy has already signaled enthusiastic support for all three nominees.
Of Daschle, he said in a statement, "Exceptional challenges call for exceptional leaders, and Tom is an ideal choice to meet the urgent challenge of health reform. His integrity, intelligence, experience and commitment to the American people have won him friends and admirers on both sides of the aisle. All of us in Congress who share the goal of this long overdue reform welcome today's announcement."
Of Solis, he said, "She's a tireless champion for working families. She understands the struggles that millions of Americans are facing, and she'll be an invaluable asset to President Obama in protecting workers' rights and restoring economic opportunity. I look forward very much to working with her on these critical issues in her new position."
And greeting Duncan's nomination, Kennedy said in a statement, "Arne has been a pragmatic and effective leader of Chicago's schools. He's brought people together to address difficult challenges and expand opportunities so that every child can succeed. I'm confident he’ll be an impressive advocate for the President-elect’s education agenda in the coming years in all aspects of education and I look forward to working closely with him."
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.