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Legislative News

April 11, 2014

Sebelius Resigning, Will Be Succeeded By OMB Director Burwell


HHS Secretary Sebelius will announce her resignation today, and President Obama plans to nominate OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell as her successor. The news received only brief mention on the three broadcast network newscasts, since it was breaking news at the time of the shows, but all three called the introduction of the Affordable Care Act under her tenure “rocky.”


Print, wire, and online coverage also focuses on the challenges with the roll-out. USA Today reports Obama accepted Sebelius’ resignation earlier this week, and “officials suggested Sebelius made the decision on her own to resign and was not forced out.” USA Today says she is going out on a high note, telling the Senate Finance Committee Thursday “that 7.5 million people had enrolled in private health insurance plans – 500,000 more people more than Congressional Budget Office’s initial projections.”


The New York Times reports Burwell “has spent much of the past year mired in Washington’s fiscal fights, including the standoff that led to a 15-day government shutdown in early October,” and if confirmed, she would “take over one of the largest and most unwieldy parts of the federal bureaucracy.”


The Wall Street Journal reports that a senior Administration official said Burwell was the only candidate Obamat considered, seeing her strong management skills as essential in a new HHS chief. Her 96-0 confirmation as OMB director last April, during a time when many nomination fights were contentious, was also a factor.


Politico says “the theory among senior Democrats is that Burwell will be both hard for Republicans in the Senate to reject...and hard for them to demonize once she’s in the job.” They say her “relationships with Republicans on the Hill should help ease her confirmation, though administration officials are aware that Republicans will use the hearings as an opportunity to score points” on the ACA. 

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