President Obama Officially Nominates Kathleen Sebelius’s Replacement

The president announced Sylvia Mathews Burwell as his nominee to be the next Health and Human Services secretary Friday.

President Obama names Sylvia Mathews Burwell, his current budget director, to replace Heath and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on April 11, 2014.
National Journal
Sam Baker and Clara Ritger
Add to Briefcase
Sam Baker Clara Ritger
April 11, 2014, 7:49 a.m.

Pres­id­ent Obama took an­oth­er health care vic­tory lap Fri­day while an­noun­cing the resig­na­tion of Health and Hu­man Ser­vices Sec­ret­ary Kath­leen Se­beli­us.

Obama praised Se­beli­us in a Rose Garden ad­dress, as he form­ally nom­in­ated budget chief Sylvia Math­ews Bur­well to be the next HHS sec­ret­ary.

Se­beli­us led HHS through the im­ple­ment­a­tion of the pres­id­ent’s sig­na­ture health law, and faced tough cri­ti­cism after the on­line portal to sign up for the new health plans struggled to get off the ground last fall.

But the at­mo­sphere Fri­day was cel­eb­rat­ory of Se­beli­us’s time in of­fice, and the pres­id­ent touted her suc­cess in turn­ing around Health­Care.gov and get­ting 7.5 mil­lion people signed up for cov­er­age.

“Yes, we lost the first quarter of the open en­roll­ment peri­od be­cause of the prob­lems with Health­Care.go — and they were prob­lems. But un­der Kath­leen’s lead­er­ship, her team and HHS turned the corner.”¦ The fi­nal score speaks for it­self,” Obama said.

Se­beli­us said she was proud of the “tre­mend­ous pro­gress” the de­part­ment has made des­pite the leg­al and le­gis­lat­ive battles the law has faced over the past four years.

“I got to be a lead­er of HHS dur­ing these most his­tor­ic times,” Se­beli­us said. “We are on the front lines of a long over­due na­tion­al change, fix­ing a broken health sys­tem.

“I knew it wouldn’t be easy. There’s a reas­on that no earli­er pres­id­ent was suc­cess­ful in passing health re­form.”

Bur­well is in­her­it­ing the de­part­ment as chal­lenges re­main head­ing in­to the law’s second year. Some con­sumers are still try­ing to get signed up, and Health­Care.gov isn’t out of the red, with some re­pairs re­main­ing.

The White House has ex­pressed con­fid­ence in Bur­well as a man­ager and lead­er to take the helm dur­ing the health law’s next phase. Chief of Staff Denis Mc­Donough said in an in­ter­view with The New York Times that the pres­id­ent se­lec­ted Bur­well be­cause she is “a proven man­ager and re­lent­less im­ple­menter.” Bur­well has served as the dir­ect­or of the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget for a year.

Se­beli­us is ex­pec­ted to re­main with the de­part­ment dur­ing the trans­ition peri­od. Bur­well must be con­firmed by a ma­jor­ity vote in the Sen­ate, which de­parts today for spring re­cess and is not sched­uled to re­turn un­til April 28.

It’s un­clear wheth­er Bur­well will face strong op­pos­i­tion from Re­pub­lic­ans, who have had is­sues with sev­er­al oth­er nom­in­ees this year.

But Bur­well sailed through the Sen­ate last year on a 96-0 vote to be­come head of OMB, and she has already re­ceived the sup­port of some con­ser­vat­ive sen­at­ors, such as  Re­pub­lic­an John Mc­Cain of Ari­zona, who tweeted his con­grat­u­la­tions fol­low­ing re­ports late Thursday that she was the pres­id­ent’s next pick.

What We're Following See More »
DISCUSSES "IMPORTANCE OF THE PARTNERSHIP"
Mnuchin Meets with MBS
8 hours ago
THE LATEST
EXPECTED TO SAY U.S. IS WITHDRAWING FROM TREATY
Bolton Lands in Russia for Talks
11 hours ago
THE LATEST
SHE IS HAVING MEMORY ISSUES
Sandra O'Connor Stepping Back From Public Life
11 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman on the Supreme Court has stepped back from public life. ...She last made public appearances over two years ago. This summer she turned over an office she had kept at the Supreme Court to the court’s most recently retired justice, Anthony Kennedy. Her son Jay O’Connor said in a telephone interview that his mother began to have challenges with her short-term memory. That made some public events more difficult. He says she now stays close to her Phoenix home."

SAYS HIS DEATH STEMMED FROM A FISTFIGHT
Saudis Admit Khashoggi Killed in Embassy
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."

Source:
ROGER STONE IN THE CROSSHAIRS?
Mueller Looking into Ties Between WikiLeaks, Conservative Groups
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login