Two Senate committees held hearings this month on the nomination of Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell to succeed Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services, the federal agency most responsible for overseeing implementation of Obamacare.
In these two hearings, according to transcripts published by CQ Transcriptions, the senators and the nominee spoke approximately 49,000 words. Not one of these words directly addressed the contraception-sterilization-abortion-inducing drug regulation that Sebelius issued under Obamacare and that is now the target of more than 90 lawsuits.
The closest anyone came was Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, who told Burwell he was going to ask her a question in writing in "regard to abortion coverage transparency for insurance plans offered in the federal exchanges."
The central question in the lawsuits filed against Sebelius is whether the federal government can force Americans into complicity with the taking of innocent human life by compelling them to buy or provide health insurance that covers abortion-inducing drugs.
Unless Burwell rescinds Sebelius's regulation -- which she will not -- she will become the enforcer of the single-greatest attack on freedom of conscience in the history of the United States.
But for the Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee and on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee this was not an issue during Burwell's confirmation hearings.
Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, testified in the Health committee in support of Burwell's nomination.
"I recommend strongly Ms. Burwell and hope the committee will endorse her nomination," McCain said.
Sen. Tom Coburn, once a leading advocate of limited government, testified in the Finance Committee on her behalf.
"I will support her nomination on the floor, and I will do everything to help her be successful at Homeland -- at HHS, if she is so given that responsibility," Coburn said.
After McCain endorsed Burwell in the Health committee, Sen. Bernie Sanders, the socialist from Vermont, got Burwell to endorse the rapid establishment of a single-payer health care system in his state.
"I believe in a Medicare for all single-payer system," Sanders told Burwell.
"In that regard, in the ACA legislation, I put language in, supported strongly by Senator Harkin, that would give flexibility to states to move in different directions, including single-payer," he said. "And as you know, the state of Vermont intends to do that.
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