Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is poised to become the nations top healthcare official as early as today, provided a crowded agenda in the Senate allows for it, a key senator told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said he expects a vote on the Sebelius nomination to be fast-tracked in order to avoid a two-week delay as Congress takes its regularly scheduled spring recess beginning April 6. Well get it done today, Baucus said.
Sebelius appeared before the committee for her secondand most importanthearing of the week. The Finance Committee must clear her nomination before it goes before the full Senate.
The quickened pace to approve her nomination also hints that the governor has largely sidestepped problems over a handful of tax issues. Sebelius and her husband, Gary, a federal magistrate judge in Kansas, alerted members of Congress this week that they had paid about $8,000 in back taxes and interest over mistakes made on tax filings from 2005 to 2007.
Sebelius also told members of the Senate panel that if approved, she would have to sell off a couple of stocks owned by her husband that could pose a conflict of interest in her new role as secretary. Its unclear what those investments include. Sebelius did not take reporters questions.