Republican opposition is holding up Kathleen Sebelius taking office as health and human services secretary and completing President Obama's cabinet.
And her supporters are none too happy.
The Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday sent the Kansas governor's nomination to the full Senate, but when the top Senate Democrat, Harry Reid, tried to bring up the nomination today, Republican leader Mitch McConnell objected, pushing the vote into at least next week.
Republicans have criticized Sebelius's ties to a Kansas abortion doctor and her views on healthcare reform. Anti-abortion groups have lobbied against Sebelius, a Catholic who personally opposes abortion, for her actions as governor on the issue.
NARAL Pro-Choice America today sent out an email alert to supporters urging them to contact their senators.
"Just a couple of hours ago, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ nomination to lead the Department of Health and Human Services hit a serious road block," the email says.
"Anti-choice senators blocked a vote today in response to pressure from the big 10 of the anti-choice movement. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, and seven other anti-choice groups sent a letter yesterday calling on the Senate to block Gov. Sebelius’ nomination. There’s no way we can allow far-right radicals like James Dobson or Wendy Wright to obstruct this critical nomination."
John Sweeney, president of the AFL-CIO, also criticized the delay.
"Senate Republicans are obstructing the confirmation of Gov. Kathleen Sebelius and ignoring the American voters' mandate for new leadership and an end to the status quo, especially when it comes to our nation's broken healthcare system," he said in a statement. "Gov. Sebelius is part of that new leadership, and she will bring to the position of Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services new vision rooted in experience.
"Throughout her career and as health insurance commissioner of Kansas, Sebelius has shown a commitment to fighting for consumers' and patients' rights. As governor of Kansas, Sebelius has a proven record of working with leaders on both sides of the aisle to solve problems."
UPDATE: Late today, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele called on Obama to withdraw Sebelius's nomination unless she answers more questions on abortion, saying that she has not been forthcoming about her ties to a Kansas abortion doctor, George Tiller.
"Significant questions remain about Gov. Kathleen Sebelius' evolving relationship with a late-term abortion doctor as well as about her position on the practice of late-term abortions," Steele said in a statement, the Associated Press reports. "If Gov. Sebelius and the Obama administration are unwilling to answer these questions, President Obama should withdraw her nomination."
The White House declined to comment. A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed Steele's complaints.
"This is nothing more than a baseless attack from someone desperate to stake a claim as the leader of the leaderless Republicans and get right with the right-wing of his party," said Reid spokesman Jim Manley.
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.