Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Today, the Senate will consider Governor Kathleen Sebelius' nomination for Secretary of HHS. You would think with the swine flu issue still causing concern that this would be a time for quickly confirming the President's choice for this position. You would be slightly wrong. Greg Sargent writes,
So Kathleen Sebelius will get her confirmation vote as Health and Human Services secretary tomorrow in the Senate — but even with the flu outbreak, her confirmation will still have to clear a big hurdle, requiring 60 votes. So says the office of GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell, anyway.
As you know, Senate Republicans have been filibustering Sebelius over lingering questions about her views on late-term abortions and some campaign contributions she received from an abortion doctor. Late last week, the Senate Dem leadership announced that in the face of GOP opposition, they had agreed with Republicans to bring Sebelius’ confirmation to the floor for a vote tomorrow that would indeed require the 60 votes.
The outbreak of the flu epidemic had led some Dems to hope that the GOP would drop their filibuster, which would mean the 60 vote threshold would no longer apply. And even GOP Senator Susan Collins called for the Senate to expedite her confirmation today.
But McConnell spokesperson Don Stewart tells me she’ll still have to clear the 60 vote threshold. The question is, Whose fault is this? . . .
Bottom line: The filibuster over an abortion controversy is still throwing a hurdle in the way of this nomination, despite the flu epidemic.