Robert Novak

Majority Leader Bill Frist, not alerted by Daschle, was off the floor when the minority leader made his move. Sen. Richard Lugar, managing the State Department reauthorization bill on the floor, stopped the proceedings by initiating a quorum call and summoning Frist. When he arrived, Frist made a non-debatable motion to kill the bill. All 51 Republican senators, told that this was a test of whether Frist or Daschle was going to be the real majority leader, defeated the proposal in a straight party-line roll call.

Sharply different versions of broadening the child tax credit were passed by the House and Senate, and the conference appointed to resolve the differences has not yet formally convened.


The appointment Wednesday of the highly regarded Susan Schwab as deputy secretary of the Treasury reflected President Bush's determination to name a woman to this high position.

The post has been vacant since Kenneth Dam resigned Feb. 4. A push by key White House aides to fill the job with Deputy National Security Adviser Gary Edson was killed by wholesale objections at the Treasury. In any event, Bush insisted on a woman.

Two women turned down offers, until the president turned to Schwab. A former U.S. trade negotiator and assistant secretary of Commerce, she has been dean of the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs the last eight years. She was talked into returning to the government this year as vice chairman and chief operating officer of the Export-Import Bank. Before that appointment could be made, she was selected for the Treasury post.

Robert Novak

Robert Novak (1931-2009) was a syndicated columnist and editor of the Evans-Novak Political Report.

©Creators Syndicate