Skip to comments.Dems close ranks on Sebelius
Posted on 10/30/2013 5:25:32 AM PDT by Cincinatus' Wife
Senate Democrats on Tuesday closed ranks behind Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, declaring she should keep her job despite problems plaguing the Affordable Care Acts insurance exchanges.
Democrats sought to deflect criticism by Republicans who have called for Sebeliuss ouster over what even Democrats acknowledge has been a botched rollout of the landmark law.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, praised the implementation of ObamaCare for proceeding smoothly compared to other massive federal programs.
If you compare it to all kinds of other programs of large magnitude, its actually ahead of schedule, including Social Security, Medicare and a whole lot of other things, he said.
Rockefeller said neither Sebelius nor any other high-ranking officials at Health and Human Services should be fired.
Should any Republicans have stepped down? he asked in reference to GOP lawmakers who have repeatedly attempted to impede the laws implementation.
Sebelius is scheduled to testify Wednesday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, where she faces a harsh reception.
Two centrist Democrats facing tough reelections next year pointedly declined to defend Sebelius but they did not call for her resignation either.
I havent decided. Im not calling for it. Ill look at it. Ill continue to monitor it, said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), one of the chambers most vulnerable incumbents in 2014.
I think thats up to the president, but people should be held accountable, said Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska) when asked about Sebeliuss future. The president is the executive. He should make these decisions.
In the House, Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-N.C.), a perennial GOP target, also declined to endorse Sebelius or call for her removal.
No comment, McIntyre told The Hill.
Other centrist Democrats in the Senate defended the embattled health secretary.
I think we need to quit worrying about placing blame and start worrying about getting the system to work, said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.).
She said its too early to know whether any administration officials should lose their jobs because of systematic technical problems affecting HealthCare.gov.
I believe we need to keep all hands on deck getting this fixed. Yes, Kathleen Sebelius needs to take responsibility, but it will cause more problems, in my view, having the secretary step down at this point, said Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), one of the GOPs top targets in 2014.
Marilyn Tavenner, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), apologized for the botched rollout during a House hearing Tuesday.
I want to apologize to [the American people] that the website has not worked as well as it should, she told the House Ways and Means Committee.
Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), the committees chairman, complained that Sebelius had told his panel a dozen times that the administration would be ready for the Oct. 1 rollout date.
He said if CMS, which falls under the Department of Health and Human Services, had been more honest about the laws problems, many of these glitches could have been avoided.
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) set the tone Tuesday when he demanded on the Senate floor that Sebelius face consequences.
Taxpayers have spent $400 million to create exchanges that, after 3 1/2 years, still dont work, he said. No private sector chief executive officer would escape accountability after such a poor performance.
His speech caught the attention of Senate Democrats, who are more inclined to ignore conservative and Tea Party critics like Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
I respect Lamar Alexander. I know hes part of the common-ground coalition, said Landrieu. But the Republican Party, their right-wing extremists have been undermining this effort every way, shape or form.
Landrieu clarified that she does not view Alexander as an extremist but said any blame leveled at the laws faulty rollout should also be directed at the GOP.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) praised Sebelius as strong and smart.
She knows the problems, at this point, better than anyone else, and I have confidence in her, she said.
McCaskill said lower-ranking officials who might have misrepresented the technical progress of the laws implementation should face punishment.
The hard thing is going to be pinpointing whos responsible, she said.
I would not be opposed if someone presented to the secretary and to others who did not have great technical capability that technically that everything was perfect thats probably the person who should be fired.
Somebody knew that there were huge technical problems, McCaskill added.
Democrats expressed hoped that Jeffrey Zients, the former deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, would help smooth the laws implementation.
I have a lot of faith in Jeff Zients, and lets see what they come up with, said Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership.
He predicted the laws glitches will be forgotten rather quickly in our fast-moving world.
"Republicans close ranks behind Cruz"
MCCAIN IS GOING TO TRY AND SAVE IT. Guaranteed. George Soros wants us to be dragged to fiscal oblivion by socialized medicine and John McCain is his puppy—bought and sold.
One thing to say about the Democrats...they stand behind their own. The Republicans tend to cut and run...even when their fellow Republican did nothing wrong. Sen. Trent Lott comes to mind...
Keep Sebelius. She’s the face of stupidity, incompetence and fascist arrogance. Print her face on cereal boxes, milk cartons and manhole covers.
He (Schummer) predicted the laws glitches will be forgotten rather quickly in our fast-moving world.
That’s what they’re hoping, but I don’t think so. When you take the best medical care in the world and destroy it, I think (and hope) that Americans will have long memories—especially when it’s time to go to the voting booth.
Demoncrats: “Yes, the ship is sinking, due to the idiotic decisions made by all top level personnel, but at this point it would do more harm than good to replace them, so let’s just let the ship sink first and then we will have new a new crew come in for the salvage operation.” This time we will get the best and the brightest.
The poor got better and faster medical care for free by just going to the nearest hospital emergency room than they will get with Obamacare.
Landrieu = Lamar
Wounded Lame Ducks
Unfortunately, there are only a handful of real Republicans left, the rest of the seats are filled with RINOs!
I don’t think that is correct.
As I drive around, I see a proliferation of Doc in a Box facilities recently opened and operated by hospitals. These facilities will shunt the riff raff away from the ER’s and will provide service to anybody waving their card around.
Let them all defend this disaster. They all voted for it.
Like Eichmann defending Hitler to me.
Are you calling them “Little Eichmanns”. ;)
Just evidence that the Dims voted for the exact disaster hoping to get to single paer.
I think it will be best for us if Sebelius is NOT fired (although there is no question that she would be in the private sector). Her face will keep reminding people of their outrage at the failures and lies of 0bamacare.
Got to give them credit for staying on message-Nasssty Republicans. They are tricksy extremists.
I listened to the NPR news update at 8 this morning. They played a Jay Carney clip saying five percent would lose their insurance. However, coverage would be cheaper! better! Tax subsidies! Then they left that happy unicorn on the rainbow update and moved on to the next segment.
Ok photoshopers, need a pick of Kat as the wicked witch and the idiot dems as her flying monkeys.
McLame already said they’ll be pushing Amnesty after the primaries.