News

Senate panel backs Burwell for next Health Secretary

Senate panel backs Burwell for next Health Secretary

HEALTH:In a show of congressional bipartisanship, eight Republican lawmakers joined 13 Democrats to back Sylvia Burwell, President Barack Obama's choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and oversee its implementation of Obamacare, Obama's signature domestic policy achievement. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Senate Finance Committee easily approved the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as U.S. health secretary on Wednesday, sending her candidacy to the Senate floor for a final confirmation vote.

In a show of congressional bipartisanship, eight Republican lawmakers joined 13 Democrats to back President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and oversee its implementation of Obamacare, Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement.

Three Republicans opposed the nomination: Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota.

Burwell, a 48-year-old technocrat known for being able to work with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, is also expected to see a smooth confirmation following two cordial Senate confirmation hearings.

It is unclear when the full Democratic-controlled Senate will take up the nomination. Democrats had hoped to wrap up the matter before Monday’s Memorial Day holiday, but aides recently suggested the confirmation vote could occur in early June.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s office had no immediate comment.

At least one Republican, Senator David Vitter of Louisiana, has said he will vote against Burwell’s confirmation.

Administration officials and their Democratic allies hope Burwell’s replacement of outgoing U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will open a less contentious chapter for Obamacare, formally known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Since last year’s botched rollout of the federal website HealthCare.gov, the 2010 healthcare law has become a major campaign issue for Republicans who are trying to win control of the Senate in November’s congressional elections.

Democrats say Burwell’s main task will be to avoid further problems with Obamacare’s implementation in hopes of minimizing its negative impact on Democratic candidates.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Bill Trott and Paul Simao)

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Peeps milk coming to an Easter basket near you

peeps

Because why shouldn't milk taste more like marshmallows?

in Music

Hall & Oates sue cereal maker

hallandoates

The rockers are not amused by a granola company's clever name for its breakfast food.

in Music

Iron Maiden’s future depends on Bruce Dickinson’s cancer treatment

brucedickinson

Iron Maiden's manager Rod Smallwood updated fans on the singer's progress.

in Music

Kurt Cobain’s childhood home up for sale – again

Kurt Cobain

The Nirvana frontman lived in the home up until he was nine, when his parents separated, and then again from age 16 to 20.

in Music

Buddy Holly plane crash case could be reopened

buddyholly

The National Transportation Safety Board could take another look at the 1959 plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and The Big Bopper.