Update: They failed - the vote was a cakewalk 65-31. Republicans voting in favor of the confirmation are Specter, Brownback, Roberts, Collins, Gregg, Lugar, Snowe and Voinovich. It wasn't even close, but Palin's army knew they wouldn't stop the confirmation -- their goal was to delay and obstruct.
Anti-abortion extremists at work Link:
The Senate debate over the confirmation of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as Health and Human Services secretary got under way this morning.
"Gov. Sebelius has earned the respect of Republicans and Democrats alike," said Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana.
He said that she has "worked to make health care costs more manageable for business," engages in "forward thinking and she's not afraid to lead. That's just the kind of leadership we need.
"Our health care system is broken...The Congress cannot do this alone. Congress needs a strong partner to develop comprehensive health reform."
Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, who opposes abortion, said he would vote against Sebelius. He singled out her veto last week of a bill in Kansas that would have placed new oversight over abortion providers.
"I think there's a flaw there, a critical defect in this nominee,'' he said. "That's a nonstarter with me, not because I dislike her. I think she's a wonderful lady, but I think she lacks part of the moral clarity that is required to lead this nation into the future. Her ability from the start will be compromised by her position on this issue.
But Coburn saves his "NO" campaign clincher for the end:
"I have no doubt that she will be approved today, so I mark it as another sign on our way to oblivion as a nation."
Republicans want you to believe the nation is headed towards "oblivion" because.... well, simply because Sebelius is not an anti-abortion nutcake like him.
And it's "Wacko Diva" Sarah Palin leading the band on this one, through her support group "Team Sarah":
Last Monday, Team Sarah called on members to flood the phone banks. What happened? The committee vote passed by a narrow margin - something no one thought would happen. On Wednesday, Team Sarah called on members to flood the phone banks of their own Senators + Sen. Sam Brownback. What happened? Pro-life champion, Sen. Brownback is now said to be wavering on his previous support for Sebelius.
Swine flu keeps killing, but HHS Secretary is delayed by abortion opponents
Steve Benen observes that the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees our response to pandemics like swine flu, is currently without its Secretary. Governor Kathleen Sebelius, whose own state had some of the first cases of swine flu in the US, is waiting for Senate confirmation. The delay? Anti-abortion activists couldn't kill her nomination, but extracted the delay as a compromise. It doesn't actually get them anything tangible, but it makes them feel tough. Benen writes:
"I'm not arguing the U.S. response to the swine-flu problem is necessarily less effective because Kathleen Sebelius' nomination has been delayed; I'm simply not in a position to evaluate the inner working of the bureaucracy. I am arguing that in the midst of "public health emergency," and a global response to a possible pandemic, it'd be awfully nice if Republicans could be grown-ups for a little while, and let the federal government have a Health and Human Services Secretary."
Grown-ups? Are you kidding? Limbaugh instructed the GOP base to obstruct, drag their feet, do everything they can to slow down government to a crawl, and thanks to Sarah Palin throwing her support behind this same effort we have the situation we now face -- a national crisis -- and all the anti-abortion extremists on the right can do is 'obstruct" and "say no."
They know they can't prevent the confirmation - their mission is to just slow down and obstruct as much as possible.
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