Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) is likely to be chosen as Secretary of Health and Human Services – provided she doesn’t pull a Daschle.
Should she be nominated, Ms. Sebelius would bring eight years of experience as her state’s insurance commissioner as well as six years as a governor running a state Medicaid program. But with President Obama about to begin a drive to expand health coverage, an issue on which the two parties have deep ideological divisions, her strongest asset in the view of the White House may be her record of navigating partisan politics as a Democrat in one of the country’s most Republican states.
It remained unclear whether the White House would finish vetting Ms. Sebelius in time to nominate her by next week. Advisers described her as “the leading candidate,” although they said other names were still in discussion and emphasized that no final decision had been made. After the troubles with Mr. Daschle and other nominees, the White House has intensified its vetting to make sure it thoroughly scrubs its choices before Mr. Obama signs off.
Sebelius would be the fourth woman to join Obama’s cabinet and would oversee a $700B budget. Health care activists appear pleased with Sebelius’ candidacy so far.