Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D) has been confirmed as secretary of the Health and Human Services Department. The Senate vote was 65-31. Sixty votes were needed for approval.
The nomination took on a greater urgency in the wake of the swine flu outbreak. That apparently outweighed Republican objections to her record on abortion.
President Obama's first choice for the post, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, withdrew his name from consideration on Feb. 3 following tax payment problems.
Mark Parkinson, the former state Republican Party chairman who became a Democrat to run with Sebelius on the 2006 ticket, will become the next governor of Kansas. He has said he will not run to keep the post in 2010.