Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Mark Silva describes the whirlwind confirmation and more of the new HHS Secretary. He writes,
After the Senate confirmed the last of President Barack Obama's Cabinet appointees today, the president immediately swore in Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Oval Office this evening. Then he sent her to work: At a Situation Room meeting on the swine flu outbreak.
The White House had maintained that none of the administration's work on the flu outbreak was hampered by the lack of a confirmed HHS secretary -- that Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been running point on the problem, and she in turn has said that communications with career service officers has been fine, including the acting Centers for Disease Control director, who works for HHS.
But Obama suggested there was no time to waste tonight, with 64 confirmed cases of the flu -- up from 20 Monday morning when he stepped out to say that the flu situation is cause for concern but not alarm -- and the disease spreading to six states.
The president interrupted a closed-door Blue Room reception for his other Cabinet members tonight to swear in the final one, Sebelius, the governor of Kansas who had drawn some controversy for her stances on abortion rights. The Senate had confirmed her hours before, she resigned as governor and flew to Washington. . . .