Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius beat back questions over taxes and her ties to a doctor who performs late-term abortions to win confirmation to the nations top healthcare post in a 65-31 Senate vote.
Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), who shepherded the Sebelius nomination through the Senate, called her the right person for the job. Her record shows that she approaches problems from all sides, Baucus said.
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) said the abortion issues and more factored into his no vote. Further, he said that Sebelius lacked experience to lead the enormous department. This is a tremendous responsibility, he said. As governor of Kansas, she appointed someone to run her HHS department and was not directly responsible for the day-to-day operations.
Bunning added: We need someone with extensive experience for setting health policy for the entire country. Sebelius will take the reins of the department on the eve of a broad effort to overhaul the healthcare system and in the midst of an outbreak of swine flu.