The Obama Administration’s nomination of Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services initially gained some forward momentum in the Senate, and then lost it — at least for the moment.
While The Senate Finance Committee gave the nomination the nod, Senate Republicans put the brakes on the process today when Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) objected to taking a vote on the Sebelius nomination, saying that her nomination was “contentious” and required more debate before a vote.
On Tuesday, the Senate Finance Committee had voted 15 to eight to approve Sebleius as HHS Secretary. All eight opposing votes were Republicans, but two Republicans, Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the Kansas Governor.
Republican objections to Sebelius have focused largely on Sebelius pro-abortion rights stance, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), who voted against Sebelius in this week’s Senate Finance Committee hearing also voiced concerns that Sebelius’s support of comparative effective research for different medical treatments for the same disease could ultimately deny care to patients.
The Obama Administration first nominated Sebelius in March after former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle withdrew his nomination in late February.
While the Sebelius nomination got off to a smooth start, it encountered a speed bump in early April when she announced that she and her husband had repaid nearly $8,000 in back taxes and interest penalties after discovering “unintentional errors” related to deductions for charitable donations, mortgage interest and business expenses. The nomination process then took a break during the Senate’s spring recess, before resuming this week.
Senate watchers say that the Republicans will likely be able to delay the nomination into next week and might require Democrats to call for a cloture vot