Sebelius resigns HHS
Kathleen Sebelius is staring up at the underside of the Obamacare bus this morning, clearing the way for her already-announced successor Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, to claim that the “new HHS” has nothing to do with the incompetent rollout of Obamacare and ongoing tech issues in the coming confirmation hearings, Mary Barra-style. Clearly the Obama administration has its fall-guy.
When the president did his Rose Garden end zone dance over the claimed 7 plus million signups for Obamacare with Sebelius absent from the podium, the handwriting was on the wall. The official claim, of course is quite the opposite, as the New York Times claims:
Officials said Ms. Sebelius, 65, made the decision to resign and was not forced out. But the frustration at the White House over her performance had become increasingly clear, as administration aides worried that the crippling problems at HealthCare.gov, the website set up to enroll Americans in insurance exchanges, would result in lasting damage to the president’s legacy.
President Obama was notified today by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel that one of his key Cabinet officials violated the Hatch Act, the law that restricts the political activity of anyone employed or holding office in the Executive Branch except for the President and Vice President.
Carolyn Lerner, head of the U.S. Office of Special Counsel concluded that Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius violated the Hatch Act when she served as the Guest of Honor and Keynote Speaker at the February 25, 2012 gala for the pro-gay rights Human Rights Campaign in Charlotte, North Carolina.
She also, notoriously, corruptly raised money for the nonprofit Enroll America by telephoning companies doing business with her agency.
As a spokeswoman for Obamacare, Sebelius had long outlived her usefulness to the Obama administration, and the claims of “success” with enrollment offered the opportunity to slip in the stiletto without looking as though she was being fired in desperation.
The coming confirmation hearings for her successor Burwell offer an opportunity for the GOP, but also a bit of potential peril. Burwell enjoyed a unanimous confirmation to her OMB position, and is personally far more attractive than Sebelius, whose jaw and neck screamed tension. Due to the Nuclear Option exercised by Harry Reid, she will only need 51 votes and no filibuster will be possible, but she can be asked many questions by the GOP senators on the data still unavailable on enrollment, such as how many have actually paid, and how many young invincibles have volunteered to pay for the health care of their elders. But she can plausibly claim no knowledge and pose as someone who just wants to move ahead.
It is very important that the male GOP senators avoid looking as though they are beating her up. Almost certainly, the Democrats want to further their “war on women” narrative and their claim that the GOP is obstructing health care.