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Health nominee could wait 2 weeks for confirmation

WASHINGTON — It will be at least two weeks before Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius will know whether she's moving to the nation's capital.

A vote on her nomination to head the Department of Health and Human Services will have to wait until Congress returns from its Easter recess later this month.

"Her experience makes her the right person for the job," said Democratic Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "I'm working to get her confirmed as quickly as possible."

Sebelius was back in Topeka on Friday for the last day of Kansas' legislative session. Her spokeswoman, Beth Martino, said she had a stack of bills on her desk awaiting review.

No one spoke out against Sebelius during her confirmation hearing Thursday before Baucus' committee or at an earlier session with the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The finance panel decides whether to send her nomination to the full Senate for confirmation. Its usual practice is to wait 48 hours after a hearing before deciding on a nominee.

The time enables members to submit written questions on issues that weren't asked during a hearing. While the 48-hour rule can be waived, the committee chose not to do that with Sebelius.

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