Feb 282009

It appears that Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius has been tapped as the new Secretary of Health of Human Services…

Kansas Governor Accepts Offer as Health Secretary

Kathleen Sebelius
Kathleen Sebelius

WASHINGTON — President Obama asked Gov. Kathleen Sebelius of Kansas on Saturday to become his nominee for secretary of health and human services, tapping a red state ally to help him push through his plan to remake the nation’s health care system.

Ms. Sebelius accepted the president’s offer and will be introduced by Mr. Obama at the White House on Monday, said administration officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid upstaging the formal announcement. The selection comes just days before Mr. Obama hosts a health care summit meeting at the White House.

Ms. Sebelius became one of Mr. Obama’s most valued allies when she endorsed him early in the presidential nomination battle. She has been discussed for a variety of positions, including vice president and other cabinet jobs. A two-term state insurance commissioner and second-term Democratic governor in a reliably Republican state, Ms. Sebelius has a reputation for bipartisan instincts.

“She is one of the nation’s best and most respected governors,” a senior administration official said in explaining Mr. Obama’s decision. “As a former state insurance commissioner, she has a real depth on health care. And she has a history of working across party lines.”

In selecting Ms. Sebelius, Mr. Obama has decided to risk running headlong into the nation’s volatile abortion wars. Since Ms. Sebelius’s name emerged as a leading candidate for the health job, anti-abortion groups have assailed her record and vowed to fight her confirmation.

Not exactly my first choice for the job, nor was she President Obama’s, but I think she will do a terrific job. We’ll await the formal announcement on Monday.

Feb 282009

In the Weekly Address this morning, President Obama explains how the budget he sent to Congress will fulfill the promises he made as a candidate. On fiscal responsibility, a fair tax code, a clean energy economy, real health care reform, and education, this budget sets out a new vision for our country.

But having put his priorities on paper and having stood behind them, the President recognizes that there are those who will fight against change every step of the way.

Watch the full address and read the transcript below.

Continue reading »

Feb 272009

Just click to enlarge or to start a manually controlled slide show…

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As always, our thanks go to the talented and observant cartoonists who, each week, help us smile through the pain.



Iraq withdrawal plans

 Posted by at 13:28  Democrats, Iraq, Politics
Feb 272009

President Barack Obama today announced his plans to end George W. Bush’s War in Iraq. He plans to have all combat troops out of that country by August 31, 2010 and all remaining troops out by the end of 2011…

The full text of the president’s speech at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina may be read after the fold.

Continue reading »

Feb 252009

Somewhat lost in all the excitement over President Obama’s first address to Congress last evening was the news that Hilda Solis was finally confirmed by the Senate as Secretary of Labor. The Republicans were doing all they could to delay and even possibly derail her nomination due to her pro-labor beliefs. She is the complete ideological opposite of Elaine Chao, George W. Bush’s Secretary of Labor. (Ms. Chao was the only cabinet member to serve throughout both of Mr. Bush’s terms and is the wife of Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.)

Solis Confirmed as Labor Secretary

Hilda Solis
Hilda Solis

The Senate this afternoon confirmed Rep. Hilda Solis (D-Calif.) as labor secretary, more than two months after she was nominated for the post by President Obama.

The Senate voted 80 to 17 to confirm Solis, after Senate Republicans today assured Democrats that they would not filibuster the nomination. Solis had come under fire from Senate Republicans, who thought she was unresponsive to many of their questions during her confirmation hearing, a situation that was compounded by her work as treasurer for American Rights at Work, a pro-labor group.

There were also concerns among some Republicans about her support for a measure that would make it easier for workers to organize unions.

Consideration of Solis’s nomination was further delayed when it was revealed that her husband had recently paid about $6,400 to settle tax liens against his California auto repair business.

While Solis’s nomination generated skepticism among many Republicans and their backers in the business community, the new labor secretary enjoys solid support among members of organized labor. The daughter of immigrants from Mexico and Nicaragua, both of Solis’s parents were union members. Also, as a member of Congress, Solis has shared union skepticism toward free trade agreements, and been a strong proponent of developing jobs in renewal energy and other “green collar” areas.

“America’s working men and women will be fortunate to have someone of Hilda’s tremendous talents leading the Department of Labor. She knows the huge challenges facing workers and their families, and she has the experience and dedication needed for this vital position,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. ” It’s been a privilege to work with her in Congress, and I look forward very much to working with her as secretary.”

Labor leaders applauded Solis’s confirmation.

UPDATE: Here are the 17 Republicans who voted against our new Secretary of Labor: Bond (R-MO), Bunning (R-KY), Burr (R-NC), Coburn (R-OK), Cornyn (R-TX), Crapo (R-ID), DeMint (R-SC), Ensign (R-NV), Inhofe (R-OK), Kyl (R-AZ), Risch (R-ID), Roberts (R-KS), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA) and Wicker (R-MS).

Feb 252009

President Obama’s third attempt at filling the Secretary of Commerce post… They say the third time’s the charm.

Obama nominates Locke for Commerce chief

Gary Locke
Gary Locke

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Obama named former Washington Gov. Gary Locke as his nominee for commerce secretary Wednesday.

“Gary will be a trusted voice in my Cabinet, a tireless advocate for our economic competitiveness and an influential ambassador for American industry who will help us do everything we can, especially now, to promote our industry around the world,” Obama said at the announcement made near the White House.

“Gary knows the American dream. He’s lived it. And that’s why he shares my commitment to do whatever it takes to keep it alive in our time,” he added.

Locke, 57, was the country’s first Chinese-American governor, elected to lead Washington in 1996 and re-elected in 2000.

Before becoming governor, he served five terms in the Washington state House of Representatives and one term as King County executive. He was chairman of the House Appropriations Committee from 1989 to 1994.

A lawyer, Locke is in private practice with Davis Wright Tremaine in the national firm’s Seattle, Washington, office.

“Working with the professionals at the Department of Commerce, I’m committed to making the department an active and integral partner in advancing [Obama’s] economic policies and restoring the American dream to all Americans,” Locke said.


Americans support president

 Posted by at 23:05  Politics
Feb 232009

Most of them, anyway…

Most Americans support Obama’s economic plan: polls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Large majorities of Americans support U.S. President Barack Obama’s plans to revive the economy and his efforts to work across party lines, according to a pair of public opinion polls released on Monday.

One month into his presidency, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found 68 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s job performance.

Sixty-four percent of respondents supported the administration’s $787 billion economic stimulus package and the same percentage backed his proposal to prevent housing foreclosures, the Washington Post reported.

According to a New York Times/CBS News poll, Obama has a 63 percent job approval rating and more than 75 percent of Americans are optimistic about the next four years with him as president…

Both polls found widespread support for Obama’s effort to bridge the partisan divide in Washington and found fault with Republicans for balking.

In the New York Times/CBS poll, about 75 percent of respondents, including 61 percent of Republicans said Obama has been trying to work with Republicans.

Sixty-three percent said Republicans opposed the economic stimulus package for political reasons rather than policy concerns.

Eighty percent of Americans think Republicans should work in a bipartisan way rather than holding fast to their policies, according to the poll.