Kathleen Sibelius Confirmed as HHS Secretary; Completes Obama Cabinet

Kathleen Sibelius, after being confirmed yesterday (AP)

Kathleen Sibelius, after being confirmed yesterday (AP)

Kathleen Sibelius of Kansas was finally confirmed yesterday, 65-31, as Secretary of Health and Human Services, after the pressure of a national health emergency wore down recalcitrant Republicans.

“I expect her to hit the ground running,” Obama said after Sebelius took the oath of office. “We had to swear her in right away” because the outbreak of swine flu will need her “immediate attention.”

Sebelius went to the White House situation room after the ceremony for a briefing on the swine flu outbreak from Obama’s homeland security adviser, John Brennan.

In the Senate, nine Republicans joined the Democrats to back Sebelius as health chief. The Republicans included Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, who today said he was switching parties.

Republicans who opposed Sebelius’s confirmation cited her ties to George Tiller, a Kansas doctor who performs abortions.

Sebelius wasn’t forthcoming during confirmation hearings about donations received from Tiller, Senator Jim Bunning, a Kentucky Republican, said on the floor.

Yeah, I can blame Sebelius for not mentioning Dr. Tiller, because these guys will smoke anything out.   But I can blame the rest of this mess on the Republicans. They tried to block the confirmation of Eric Holder, for fear that he would investigate and prosecute Bush Administration officials for torture, renditioning and unlawful interrogation.   Cheney and his daughter getting on Faux Noise this month trying to explain the righteousness of Bush era tactics may have forced Obama’s hand. He was all for letting things lie, unlike the progressives on on this whole sordid and disgraceful episode; he forgave the lower eschelon CIA interrogators who were merely, in WWII parlance, following orders. Now it is up to Holder.

It took nearly four months for Obama to get his cabinet (in between Daschle and Richardson), count on even more footdragging and filibustering from this bunch.

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~ by blksista on April 29, 2009.

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