Category Archives: Sebelius

Senate confirms Sebelius as HHS secretary

The U.S. Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services.

The vote, 65 to 31, came just before 6 p.m. in Washington D.C. after an all-day debate.

Both Kansas senators, Republicans Pat Roberts and Sam Brownback, voted for Sebelius, a Democrat.

Last week, Brownback had said the governor’s veto of a bill aimed at tighetning regulations of late-term abortions made it harder to support her. Sebelius had vetoed similar bills in previous years.

The move means Kansas is likely to have a new governor when the Kansas Legislature returns Wednesday for a wrap-up session.

It’s hard to say if Sebelius could hand the reins of power over to Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson tonight or not – her office is keeping mum on its plans.

Sebelius confirmation hearing date still uncertain

No word yet on a hearing date for Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination to become secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Spokesmen for the White House and Senate Finance Committee, which will hold her confirmation hearing, said nothing has been settled. Speculation on Capitol Hill leans to holding it after Congress’ two-week Easter recess.

That would put the hearing off until at least late April. Sebelius has been making the rounds on Capitol Hill to chat up lawmakers.

She would be the last of President Obama’s cabinet picks to be confirmed.

–David Goldstein

NYT: Sebelius’s efforts to forge consensus on healthcare rarely succeed

sebeliusGov. Kathleen Sebelius has won praise from health insurance companies, consumer groups and even some Republican governors. But her history in Kansas has drawn a critical eye, according to a report in today’s New York Times.

“But on matters of health policy, which she will oversee if she is confirmed as President Obama’s secretary of health and human services, Ms. Sebelius’s efforts to forge bipartisan consensus have rarely succeeded. She recently observed that the greatest frustration of her six years in office had been her inability to persuade lawmakers to raise tobacco taxes for a modest expansion of government health coverage.” Read More »

Buzz about Sebelius continues to mount

News organizations around the country are talking about Sebelius and the likelihood she will be nominated as health and human services secretary.

Check out this story from CQ Politics, which says Sebelius’ handling of Kansas’ recent budget showdown “could prove a telling test” if she is appointed by President Obama.

The story says: “Facing a shortfall to the state’s $6.4 billion budget, Sebelius signed a bill on Tuesday cutting about $300 million from the budget, but in doing so largely spared health programs like the state’s Medicaid services.”

Learn more about Sebelius and see the latest headlines about her by going to

Sebelius ‘top choice’ for HHS secretary, paper says

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Obama’s top choice for Health and Human Services secretary, The New York Times reported Wednesday based on information provided by unnamed advisers.

The story said no final decision had been made. An excerpt:

“It remained unclear whether the White House would finish vetting Ms. Sebelius in time to nominate her by next week. Advisers described her as ‘the leading candidate,’ although they said other names were still in discussion and emphasized that no final decision had been made.”

Sebelius spokesman Beth Martino said the governor is focused “on the budget, the economy and the federal stimulus.”

“She has the job to be the governor of Kansas and that is the job she is focused on.”

Sebelius will be in Washington, D.C., for a National Governor’s Association meeting this weekend.

Governor sends message to state employees

123008sebelius_br12Here is the text of a letter Gov. Kathleen Sebelius sent to state employees on Wednesday. It was provided through Wichita State University.

February 17, 2009 Colleagues, This is a difficult time for Kansas families, seniors and many others who are dealing each day with the economic challenges presented by the recession. As a state employee, I know that you are already dealing with the challenges of more limited resources in your agency.

Read More »

What they’re saying about Sebelius

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is getting all kinds of mentions — not all flattering — as a possible nominee for Health and Human Services secretary. Numerous papers picked up an Associated Press story Saturday saying the Kansas governor “is very near the top of President Obama’s list of candidates.” The Fix, the political blog at, called Sebelius “clearly a serious contender” but cautioned that “one White House official warns that the reporting is getting ahead of itself and that the process remains ‘wide open’.”

Meanwhile, the HillBuzz blog has its own take on the possibility, with this headline: “Politico claims The Cryptkeeper’s going to be Health and Human Services Secretary.”

And Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson told AP he’s ready to serve if Sebelius heads to Washington — but he still doesn’t plan to run for governor in 2010.