The Trail: A Daily Diary of Campaign 2008


Health Care

Sebelius Vote Coming As Early as Tuesday

Updated 11:53 a.m.
By Ceci Connolly
The Senate could vote as early as Tuesday on the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) to be secretary of health and human services, according to an agreement reached Thursday night.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced that up to eight hours of debate on her nomination is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday. The two parties agreed that Sebelius will need 60 votes for confirmation.

At the urging of conservative religious groups, some Senate Republicans have opposed Sebelius because of her support for abortion rights. However, one of her strongest supporters has been a fellow Kansan, Republican Sen. Pat Roberts, who is an ardent opponent of abortion. The Senate Finance Committee endorsed her selection on a vote of 15-8.

The split vote in committee was "based more on abortion" than a partisan divide over broader health reform issues, Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said Friday morning. The ranking Republican on the panel, Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, told Baucus that his opposition to Sebelius should "in no way be interpreted about health care reform," Baucus added.

If the Senate approves her nomination, Sebelius will become the final member of President Obama's Cabinet to be confirmed.

The lack of a health secretary has slowed progress filling several other critical posts. Obama has yet to fill the top slots at the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, his first choice for surgeon general, CNN personality Sanjay Gupta, withdrew from consideration.

Posted at 11:53 AM ET on Apr 24, 2009  | Category:  Health Care
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Swine flu epidemic and the Republicans have left us with no HHS Secretary because they wish Americans held their views on choice and want to hold the Sebelius nomination hostage to the pandering they must do to their shrinking base of wing nut cases?

Posted by: maupin1 | April 28, 2009 6:11 AM

I am sure that she will be confirmed or Harry Reid would not have scheduled the vote.

Governors such as Sebilius and Janet Napolitano of Arizona probably thought they were fortunate to get out of state government and go to a cabinet position because, given the economy, being a governor in their respective states would be a much tougher job. They would both lose some of their luster.

They thought they could leave with their reputations intact and escape to Washington.

But, particularly in the case of Napolitano, it has been like going from the frying pan and into the fire to use an old cliche.

She seems in over her head in what, in many respects, is a figurehead position. Maybe Sebelius will fare better.

Posted by: danielhancock | April 24, 2009 11:40 PM

Republicans are against healthcare for everyone and think by saying NO to everyone Obama nominates to this position they can delay it - what a bunch of jerks! Who votes for these people!!???

Posted by: skimom27 | April 24, 2009 6:13 PM

GOP to Everyone: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no,
Also no.
That is all.

P.S. No.

Posted by: DAMNEDGENTLEMEN | April 24, 2009 10:48 AM

At a time when the architects of the Bush administration election, McCain's daughter and other GOP leaders are backing off on the loosing agenda of a faith based government, some of these lame GOP fools just march right off the cliff. In unison the GOP has not backed any of the current administrations plans to get this country back on its feet. No in unison and not one plan or alternative to speak of. The president said that the stimulus plan was not perfect, so where is the GOP to help out with a corrective plan? The American people see only one leader, perfect or imperfect, trying to right this ship and that is the President. Saying no, letting things get worse and then thinking that will win back seats and the white house isn't going to work. It's Bush's and the GOP"s mess we are in, not Obama's and we are reminded of it daily by the NO Party.

Posted by: garage | April 24, 2009 12:27 AM

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