April 28th, 2009
10:30 AM ET
5 years ago

Vote on Sebelius expected in midst of swine flu outbreak

Kathleen Sebelius is expected to be confirmed as the health and human services secretary.
Kathleen Sebelius is expected to be confirmed as the health and human services secretary.

(CNN) - The Obama administration is up against its first public health outbreak without a secretary of health and human services, but that could change with a Senate vote expected as early as Tuesday on the confirmation of Kathleen Sebelius.

If confirmed, Sebelius would take office as swine flu numbers climb worldwide. As of Tuesday morning, at least 90 cases have been confirmed, including 50 in the United States.

The White House, which declared a public health emergency Sunday, has insisted that it is equipped to handle the situation.

"I think this notion somehow that if there's not currently a secretary, that there's not the function that needs to take place in order to prepare for either this or any other situation is just simply not the case," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said.

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Filed under: Kathleen Sebelius
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. RSR

    How soon will it be before we learn this one hasn't paid her taxes either.

    April 28, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. P. Y.

    Limbaugh said yesterday that the reason Mexico has a flu outbreak, and that the reason they had an earthquake, is because Obama made a visit down there. He also said it is Obama's fault because a lot of the newspapers in the country are going out of business. My guess is that either Limbaugh, or Hannity, are taking their info from each other.

    April 28, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Al, KS

    You have to wonder why it took so long to get to this confirmation. The 2 Senators from Kansas were so glad to get her out of the 2010 senate race, as well as most other Republican senators, that this was always a forgone conclusion.

    April 28, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Honest Abe

    Another example of Republicans trying to what isn't best for our Nation!

    April 28, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. Dave

    I hope everyone realizes this flu strain is synthetic. main stream media is downplaying but the fact is that it is impossible that the mixture happend naturally.

    April 28, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Lisa B

    I guess this means she won't be giving the commencement address at Notre Dame anytime soon!

    April 28, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  7. ANGIE IN PA

    Once again Republicans standing in the way 21 percent and Falling soon there will be no GOP!

    April 28, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  8. Ken in NC

    People like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity’s blame President Obama for the Swine Flu outbreak. Rush Limbaugh even blamed President Obama for the earth quake that hit Mexico a couple of days ago. That "Lard Butt" fails to realize that some place on earth shakes with every step he takes. This is about a dumb as it gets. It seems that if President Obama does something good and right, people like Limbaugh and Hannity’s may not be able to criticize him for it but they will not give him credit for it. They will come up with some reason it would have worked out even if President Obama had done nothing.

    I guess if his daughters work and study hard and get all A's and B's in school, he and his wife will be accused of paying for those grades or the girls will have gotten those grades out of fear of reprisal from the White House. This is so crazy. No President has ever been treated this way in all of history. I will not label it as Racism because I am Black and people like Limbaugh and Hannity’s expect that from me so I will leave it to Whites to apply the Racism label to this issue.

    April 28, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Jefe

    How have 90 cases been confirmed worldwide, yet over 140 have died in well over 1000 cases in Mexico alone?

    Regardless, its just a flu, let's not blow it out of proportion the way the panic-mongers at a certain network are trying to do.

    And Mike in Dallas: lol : )

    April 28, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  10. Jackie in Dallas

    The Department of Health and Human Services has in place all kinds of contingency plans. While I'm sure it will function well without a Secretary, it would be better if the GOP would stop blocking votes on President Obama's nominees.

    As for the swine flu, yes, the numbers are pretty small at this time; however, there are already over 100 reported deaths in Mexico, and it won't be long before we will probably get a few, ourselves. The real crux of the problem is that it appears to be strongly contagious, we don't have an immunization against it, it is possibly airborn within a small area, and with our global travel ability, can infect dozens of countries literally overnight. While I understand that 50 cases does not seem like much, scenarios speculating on the flu epidemic of 1917 that killed hundreds of millions worldwide place something like four cases as instrumental in the spread initially. Our President's suggestion to keep calm but to stay aware is wise. Avoid travel to Mexico at this time. At the first sign of flu-like symptoms, see a doctor. Stay home from work or school if you feel ill with flu-like symptoms. Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze, and wash hands frequently.

    In this country, we tend to under rate influenza, but it is a leading cause of pandemic deaths worldwide. And this one seems to be seeking out a different target - instead of the very young and old whose immune systems are not developed or are compromised, it is affecting the healthy. That IS a frightening development.

    April 28, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  11. JonDie

    We need Ms. Sebelius at work...now. But Republicans just don't care about the health and safety of Americans. This is, after all, the party that gave us Hurricane Katrina.

    April 28, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. Ravi

    We need Sebelius to be confirmed NOW.

    She will help counter the right wing extremists who oppose a woman's 13th amendment right to be free from slavery (providing involuntary physical servitude/service to a parasitic mass of cells within her uterus). We must put the bigoted Repubs in their place.

    April 28, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  13. Tom in Delaware

    Get anybody other than Janet Napolitano on this 'swine-caused disaster'.

    April 28, 2009 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  14. indiana voter

    If the swine flu was any real threat, maybe there would be the need to appoint her right away and disregard her qualifications. However, there is not a crisis yet. Sixty people have gotten sick. There are more sicknesses and death from the regular flu a year, like over 100,000. They don't ever consider that a health care scare. This is another tool being used by Obama to ram through his agenda.

    CNN, probably won't post this, since it is anit-democratic.

    April 28, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  15. David

    3....2.....1.....and then we find out her and Geithner had a "Don't Pay our Taxes Party" last year at one of their estates.

    April 28, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. Nancy

    Far right Republicans have become the sheep running heedlessly off the cliff. Some of the things that are being said by Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck are unbeliveable. If it wasn't so sad, it would be funny. Beck was upset this morning because Obama is not causing enough panic about swine flu.

    If the Republicans keep listing to the 10-15% they will be lost. Move on with the appointment.

    April 28, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. Donna from Colorado Springs

    I'm sure that Kathleen Sebelius would be confirmed anyway,eve if this flu outbreak wasn't making headlines. Leave it to the right wing nut jobs like Glenn Beck to say that this is all a ruse to get her confirmed and that there is no flu outbreak problem! How anybody could make that statement with a straight face is beyond me! Beck has taken his rightfull place and dethroned Limbaugh.......if only temporarily.....as king of the right wing idiots! Fools like Beck ought to be thrown off television and put in a home where they can be monitored 24/7!

    April 28, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. J.P.

    Obviously, George Bush is behind swine flu.

    April 28, 2009 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  19. J.P.

    Yes, but is there some money we can throw at this problem?

    April 28, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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