Sebelius Vote Expected on Tuesday

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media , April 23, 2009

The Senate plans to vote on Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius' nomination as secretary of Health and Human Services on Tuesday, April 28 after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) halted a move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) to hold a full vote this week. McConnell called for more time so GOP members could consider her selection.

The Senate Finance Committee, following mostly along party lines on Tuesday, voted 15 8 to send Sebelius' nomination to the Senate floor. However, in recent week, some Republicans have criticized Sebelius for her failure to fully report the extent of campaign contributions she received from a physician who performs abortions. Antiabortion rights groups have also lobbied Republicans to oppose the nomination because of Sebelius' support of abortion rights.

At the Finance Committee hearing, Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was critical that she did not address "appropriate safeguards" for what he said could lead to rationed treatments and services based on the use of comparative effectiveness research.

If necessary, Reid is expected to use procedural maneuvers needed to overcome any Republican filibuster, according to his spokesman. Fifty-one votes are required for confirmation.

The HHS slot is the remaining cabinet position that remains vacant in the Obama administration.

Janice Simmons is a senior editor and Washington, DC, correspondent for HealthLeaders Media Online. She can be reached at

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