As Congress begins investigations into the Affordable Care Act rollout and the healthcare.gov flaws, Republicans are calling for resignations as far up as the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The logic goes: if managerial issues were behind failures to test the website component of the federal health care exchange, we need new management.
That concern is a valid one. In the private sector and often times in the public sector, when misakes happen—particularly in an area critical to the executive’s interests—heads roll.
Yet, Kathleen Sebelius will stay, and Republicans have no one to blame but themselves.
Why is this? In an ironic twist of fate the Republican Party’s obsession with filibustering, delaying, or holding executive branch nominations will finally have negative consequences for the GOP instead of the president.
Over the past several years, Republicans in Congress had refused to confirm a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau because they did not like the law that authorized the agency. They refused to confirm nominees to the National Labor Relations Board because of opposition to unions. They put a hold on the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission for fear he may require more transparency in campaign activity. The examples go on.
Why, then, would President Obama remove Secretary Sebelius and nominate a replacement? The HHS Secretary oversees the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. And GOP opposition to CFPB or NLRB or FCC pales in comparison to the visceral and existential contempt the party feels toward Obamacare. Given such opposition, the president would be foolish to make such a change in HHS leadership.