Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman takes on tough bills on Capitol Hill without the usual politics

Source: Community News

By Antonio Prado

January 13, 2010

Hockessin, Del. — U.S. Sen. Ted KAUFMAN (D-Del.) operates in the Senate in a unique fashion in that he wields a powerful weapon: politics is taken out of the equation.

KAUFMAN has never wavered from his decision to only serve two years in the Senate, in place of Vice President Joe Biden, until a special election can be held later in 2010. He will not run for election.

It is a powerful tool that dissipates potential hostility. That’s handy when it comes to the more contentious legislation– as has happened lately with health care reform.

As he puts it, “‘Look guys. You can disagree with me all you want. But you can’t accuse me of doing this for politics."

“It’s made this much easier for me because people don’t question my motives,” he said recently in an interview with the Community News, as he visited members of the local press on Tuesday, Jan. 5.

KAUFMAN has taken that attitude with him on the much scrutinized, even polarizing healthcare reform bill.

KAUFMAN scoffs at the notion that healthcare reform is a government takeover, pointing out that the Senate bill passed does not include a public option. In addition, the bill would cut healthcare costs by $130 billion over 10 years, KAUFMAN said, citing budget office estimates. That is important because healthcare costs are one of the biggest contributors to the national debt.

“The Senate could not pass a bill that’s worse than the current system,” he said. “It’s not perfect but it will bend the cost downward over the next ten years.”

As for the federal stimulus package that was passed – also to much criticism from the right – KAUFMAN said it was the right thing to do because Congress had to get the economy moving again. In contrast, Japan implemented only small measures when faced with the same economic crisis and, as a result, its gross domestic product did not grow for 10 years. A parallel situation in the United States would lead to a critical situation, he said.

KAUFMAN enjoys the opportunity to try to do some good in office after having served on Biden’s staff for 23 years and teaching politics at Duke University. In many ways, it’s been the most interesting time of his life, he said.

But KAUFMAN, who’ll be 72 at the end of his term, is thankful that he’s only in office for two years and looks forward to spending more time with his grandchildren.

“At my age, there’s only one way I can do this job, to work 80 hours per week,” he said. “But it’s a great job, and Delaware is a great place to represent.”

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