Senators are planning a bipartisan policy grilling of Marilyn Tavenner this week, but they're likely to move her toward becoming the first confirmed CMS administrator since 2006.
Tavenner, acting administrator since December 2011, is not expected to face the harsh political treatment that Democrats feared her predecessor Dr. Donald Berwick would get, according to congressional sources.
“My understanding is that there's no opposition to the nomination on the Republican side,” a Republican Senate aide said on the condition of not being named. “Republicans are expected to complain about a lot of things but ultimately vote for her.”
That spirit represents a significant change for Republicans. But even if they'll no longer express their intense opposition to the law by opposing the person responsible for carrying out its provisions, they will use the forum to press Tavenner on a number of matters they've already raised in letters to Tavenner and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. Those include the use of abbreviated comment periods for complex regulations, the size of the demonstration project for dual-eligible beneficiaries, and wasteful overlap among the initiatives of various CMS offices.