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Baucus Expresses Support for Sebelius, Despite Tax Flap

Updated: 7:03 p.m.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) called for a swift confirmation of Health and Human Services nominee Kathleen Sebelius even after a committee report revealed the Kansas governor owed $7,000 in back taxes.

“Congress is going to need a strong partner at the Department of Health and Human Services to achieve comprehensive health reform this year, and we have that partner in Governor Sebelius,” Baucus said in a statement. “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Governor Sebelius has the political experience, determination, and bipartisan work ethic to get the job done with Congress this year. She’s the right person for the job and I look forward to hearing from her at the Finance Committee’s hearing on Thursday.”

Sebelius went before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday and will go before the Finance Committee on Thursday. The Finance panel has jurisdiction over her nomination.

In a letter, Sebelius informed the Senators on the Finance Committee that a review of her 2005, 2006, and 2007 tax returns by a certified public accountant revealed minor, unintentional errors that were immediately corrected through amended returns.

Sebelius was President Barack Obama’s second pick to lead HHS after former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) withdrew his nomination in the face of criticism over mispayment of his taxes. Daschle paid over $100,000 in back taxes shortly after being named to the post, but the revelation sent his nomination reeling and ultimately forced him to step aside.

A handful of other Obama appointees, including Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, have come under fire for their tax records.

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