Are Sebelius's days numbered at HHS?

Fallout from filibuster reform continues to be felt and one aspect that now comes into play is how much longer President Obama is going to keep the doomed HHS secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, in his administration.

Without the Republican''s ability to filibuster, a replacement for Sebelius would be much easier to confirm, says The Hill:

Kathleen Sebelius may become the biggest loser in the Senate's approval of filibuster reform.

The Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary has kept her job despite the botched rollout of ObamaCare's insurance exchanges, but it will now be easier for Obama to replace her.

After the Senate's vote, confirming an executive-branch nominee now takes just 51 Senate votes. Some think that raises the likelihood Sebelius will soon be a former Cabinet member.

"The president's hands were previously tied," said John Hudak, a fellow in governance studies at the Brookings Institution, who wrote a piece on the topic Thursday.

"Now, he has more breathing room and he is able to fire whoever he wants at HHS. That's a very, very appealing approach, whether it fixes the problems with ObamaCare's rollout or not."

The filibuster vote could also make it easier for Obama to fill the healthcare law's controversial cost-cutting board, another big advantage for the president.

Known as IPAB, the panel has no members yet is meant to submit its first proposed cuts in January. Any nominees from Obama require Senate confirmation, which is now an easier prospect.

Before Thursday's vote, Obama's nominees needed 60 votes to survive procedural motions. Now they need 51.

Beyond helping Obama, the change could make life easier for some of the Senate Democrats who face tough reelection contests in 2014. The chamber is controlled by 53 Democrats and two Independents who caucus with the majority party.

"Obama now has breathing room among Democrats," Hudak said.

"He can actually let some of the Democrats who are in tough races off the hook, which has some real electoral implications for those members."

While not directly involved in building the exchanges, Sebelius has become the public face of their problems since the federal enrollment system debuted on Oct. 1.

The former Kansas governor has been repeatedly spoofed for her efforts to promote in spite of its massive technical flaws.

Republicans are livid with her for testifying that ObamaCare's rollout was on track earlier this year. 

No doubt very soon, Sebelius will suddenly discover that she needs to spend more time with her family and President Obama will "reluctantly" accept her resignation. In reality, she is going to be set up as the fall guy for the botched rollout and all the problems associated with Obamacare.

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