Republicans block Senate vote on Sebelius confirmation

Share this content:
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius
Republican senators Thursday blocked a vote on the confirmation of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. That likely will hold up a Senate vote on the nomination for a week.

Senators, including Mitch McConnell (R-KY), pushed to delay the vote to have more time to consider it. Among their concerns are her ties to a doctor who performed late-term abortions. A day earlier, 10 prominent conservatives sent a letter to the Senate, asking it to oppose her nomination, citing her "lack of integrity" and "extreme pro-abortion record."

The absence of a secretary has affected the naming of other positions within the department, including the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Charlene Frizzera currently is the acting administrator of CMS, which oversees the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday voted by 15-8 to confirm Sebelius to the post. Democratic leaders likely will file a procedural measure to hold a vote next week, according to Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT).