Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 28: Is There a Way To Fix Confirmation Delays?

By Sylvia Gurinsky

Kathleen Sebelius is expected to be confirmed as the secretary of Health and Human Services this afternoon.

Why did it have to take this long?

Republicans have objected because Sebelius, the governor of Kansas, supports abortion rights. Duh. She's a Democrat. What did they expect?

This has been going on since February, when President Barack Obama nominated Sebelius shortly after former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle of South Dakota, his first pick, withdrew because of tax issues.

It takes this long for the United States Senate to look at Sebelius' records? Come on.

All cabinet posts are important, but this post is one of the most important. The Senate should have moved more quickly on vetting and confirming Sebelius.

The delay sheds light on the problem of delayed confirmations, generally for political issues. There were plenty during the presidential administrations of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Obama still doesn't have many critical positions filled.

Perhaps Obama can put his predecessors in the White House and the Senate to work on streamlining the confirmation process and removing politics. The problem with vacant positions is evident in the millions of Americans who are affected by them.

Exhibit A: If Sebelius is confirmed, she will walk right into the swine flu crisis.

Government positions need to be filled - quickly.

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