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Tax Troubles Force Two Nominees to Withdraw

Nominees for two important positions, including a cabinet secretary, withdrew over unpaid taxes.  The president said he took responsibility for the problems. Transcript of radio broadcast:

This is the VOA Special English Economics Report.

President Obama has accepted responsibility for problems involving his nominees for two important positions. On Tuesday, the President's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services withdrew his nomination. Tom Daschle made the decision after it became widely reported that he had failed to pay over one hundred forty thousand dollars in taxes.

Health care spending represents nearly seventeen percent of the economy. President Obama made health care reform a main issue in his campaign. But so was change from old ways of doing things in Washington. Mister Daschle was former Senate majority leader and a close advisor to the President. Experts say it will be hard to find a nominee with as much experience in both health issues and politics.

President Obama had chosen Nancy Killefer as the government's chief performance officer to supervise the White House budget office. But she also withdrew Tuesday. She had failed to pay unemployment taxes for an employee.

Mister Obama accepted blame for the problems.

BARACK OBAMA: "The most important thing from my perspective is making sure the American people understand we don't have two sets of rules here. That everybody has responsibilities. In this situation I take responsibility for it."

The two withdrawals followed problems with the nomination of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner who also had failed to pay thousands of dollars in taxes. However, he was confirmed by the Senate last week.

On Wednesday, President Obama announced that Secretary Geithner will release a new plan to ease credit markets next week. The President also announced measures to increase trust in the financial system.

Mister Obama placed limits on pay for top executives at banks that receive new aid money from the government. The rule will limit pay to no more than five hundred thousand dollars a year. It also bars additional forms of pay except for stock that can only be received after government loans have been repaid.

Also this week, the Senate began debate on President Obama's economic aid plan. The House passed its eight hundred twenty billion dollar version of the bill last week.

And in other economic news, a report by the Institute for Supply Management said its non-manufacturing index shrank by less than expected. The service sector is made up of businesses like banks, hotels and restaurants. It represents about eighty percent of economic activity.

And that's the VOA Special English Economics Report, written by Mario Ritter. I'm Steve Ember.