(Story updated with comment at 3:45 p.m. ET.)
A roadblock to the Senate confirmation of acting CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner was removed Tuesday when the chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee lifted the hold he placed on the former HCA executive's nomination in April.
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) on Tuesday said he placed the hold on Tavenner's nomination before a congressional recess late last month because Tavenner had signed a directive in March that channeled funds away from the health reform law's Prevention and Public Health Fund.
Harkin said he's still upset that the White House stripped about $332 million from the fund to educate the public about the health insurance exchanges set to launch next year and other elements the health reform law that still need to be implemented. But he added that has no objections to Tavenner leading the CMS.
“Regrettably, in recent days, the White House has made it clear that it will not reverse course with regard to its raid on the Prevention Fund,” Harkin said, according to prepared remarks. “I do not want to interfere with the important work of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. I believe Ms. Tavenner is strongly qualified to be the next CMS Administrator and that it is urgent to have an effective leader at the helm of CMS as we enter a critical stage in implementing the Affordable Care Act.”