Today’s Qs for O’s WH — 4/27/2009

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 27, 2009 3:53pm

TAPPER: I know that Kathleen — Governor Sebelius’s nomination is probably going to be voted on tomorrow in the Senate, but do you guys have the litany of other assistant and deputy secretaries at HHS, as well as the surgeon general, ready to go, to hit the ground running after she is confirmed, assuming she is?

GIBBS: Absolutely. And let me — you know, as I mentioned earlier, the primary presidential directive for homeland security denotes — I know there’s been some discussion about why Napolitano’s role in this. That’s why I mentioned the presidential directive that denotes interagency coordination goes to the Department of Homeland Security. And I mentioned this yesterday. There’s — our response is in no way hindered or hampered by not having a permanent secretary at HHS right now. Dr. Besser and thousands of people both at CDC and throughout HHS are responding to this. There are professional staff over there as we speak, helping to coordinate this. I’m sure many of you all have called public affairs over there, and gotten your questions answered. So we feel confident with the team that is there now. Having said that, we’re certainly hopeful that secretary — soon- to-be-Secretary Sebelius will join them without delay tomorrow.

TAPPER: But presumably, you would rather have a permanent group there.

GIBBS: Well, we’d rather not have a swine flu. (Calling on someone else:) Yes, sir.

TAPPER:  Wait — look, I’m sorry, could you just — do you have them ready to go? I mean, the surgeon general, the assistant secretary –

GIBBS: There are — there are — there’s a whole group of people there, and there will be more to follow. Some will and some won’t need Senate confirmation. Yes, sir?

- jpt

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