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Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
What would David Vitter do?
The first hearings for Sylvia Mathews Burwell will be held Thursday, and Republicans don't have a clue what to do about it. Burwell is President Obama's pick to replace Kathleen Sebelius, who has resigned as Health and Human Services secretary. Burwell is currently director of the Office of Management and Budget, a seat she gained with a unanimous, 96-0 vote. Senate Republicans really like her, but they hate Obamacare. Hence, they are flailing.
Within three days, Politico and Reuters published two previews of the confirmation hearings that seemed diametrically opposed: Politico concluded the long-expected showdown was "looking more and more like a dud." Reuters countered that GOPers are "relishing the chance" to push their anti-Obamacare message.

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), a member of both of the committees that Burwell will face, seemed more concerned in an interview with Politico with how she planned to handle public health issues than re-litigating Obamacare. But then a GOP spokeswoman told Reuters the hearings would "focus on all of the Obamacare-related disasters." […]

No cohesive strategy has emerged. Several members of Louisiana's congressional delegation have asked their senators to put a hold on Burwell's confirmation in protest, as first reported by Roll Call and confirmed by TPM. But another likely source of instigation, the Texas delegation, which already has Sen. Ted Cruz at its side, hasn't had any discussions about doing the same, aides told TPM.

Boy, it's hard to imagine Republicans wouldn't be able to come up with a cohesive Obamacare strategy, isn't it? Republican Sen. David Vitter is still, remarkably pushing his "no Obamacare for congressional staff" bill (how he still has any staff is a mystery) and he's been willing to take hostages to try to get that vote in the past, so he might be toying with that hold. But so far, he's kept mum on Burwell.

Ultimately, since filibuster reform means that an executive nominee can't be blocked by Republicans, Burwell will be confirmed. How much of a fight Republicans put up on the way there will be a big indicator of whether they're ready to finally move on from Obamacare.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Wed May 07, 2014 at 10:42 AM PDT.

Also republished by Obamacare Saves Lives and Daily Kos.

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