Sen. Tom Harkin Tuesday removed the hold he had placed on the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and said he would no longer stand in the way of a Senate vote despite actions by the Obama administration that he said violate “both the letter and the spirit” of the 2010 health care law.
But after Harkin announced his decision on the Senate floor, Majority Leader Harry Reid said it was unclear when the Senate would vote on the nomination.
Tavenner was introduced at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and has bipartisan support. The committee approved her nomination with a unanimous voice vote before sending it to the full Senate.
Late last month, Harkin blocked Tavenner’s nomination to protest the White House’s decision to take $332 million from the health law’s prevention fund to help finance its online marketplaces, or exchanges, where eligible individuals and small businesses will be able to buy health insurance coverage. The administration took that step after Republicans denied a request in March for $949 million in additional funding for implementation efforts.