Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) confirmation as secretary of Health and Human Services is being pushed off until after the two-week recess to give Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee more time to review her nomination.
GOP members on the Finance Committee wanted the extra time so that Sebelius could respond to a series of their questions after her Thursday hearing before the panel. Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) earlier had suggested the committee and full Senate could vote on her nomination before lawmakers left town.
We want to have answers, and we want to have time to consider them, a Republican aide said. Thats not uncommon.
Sebelius enjoyed an uneventful hearing before the Finance Committee earlier Thursday. No Member pressed her on recent revelations that she had to pay nearly $8,000 in back taxes, nor did anyone make hay over news that she would have to divest stocks in her husbands portfolio that might pose a conflict of interest.
Sebelius also received a warm reception before the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Tuesday. Both committees have jurisdiction over the HHS secretary, but the Finance has voting authority.
If confirmed, Sebelius will fill the last empty Cabinet post in the Obama administration. She was President Barack Obamas second pick for HHS, after former Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), who withdrew his nomination after coming under fire for failing to pay more than $100,000 in taxes on time.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.