We're in a public heath emergency and we don't have an HHS director because of GOP obstructionism not over Kathleen Sebelius's qualifications for the job, but because of her views on late-term abortion. The vote is coming, but Republicans are still making threats:
As you know, Senate Republicans have been filibustering Sebelius over lingering questions about her views on late-term abortions and some campaign contributions she received from an abortion doctor. Late last week, the Senate Dem leadership announced that in the face of GOP opposition, they had agreed with Republicans to bring Sebelius’ confirmation to the floor for a vote tomorrow that would indeed require the 60 votes.
The outbreak of the flu epidemic had led some Dems to hope that the GOP would drop their filibuster, which would mean the 60 vote threshold would no longer apply. And even GOP Senator Susan Collins called for the Senate to expedite her confirmation today.
But McConnell spokesperson Don Stewart tells me she’ll still have to clear the 60 vote threshold.
A public health emergency doesn't trump politics for these people. If there was ever a time when we needed someone in place to work with DHS and other agencies to coordinate the response, it's now. This very well might not turn into a pandemic, but a quick and efficient response on the part of all involved agencies of government will help prevent a larger emergency.
Republicans could very easily drop the filibuster, drop the 60 vote threshold. They care more about a political win on a single issue than the public good--even in the face of a public health emergency.