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

This weekend in entertainment history

randy-travis

A look back at some of the Hollywood headlines that went down in history.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: Surprising talent creates weird onscreen magic in ‘Foxcatcher’

This image released by Sony Pictures Classics shows Channing Tatum, left, and Mark Ruffalo in a scene from "Foxcatcher."

Sibling rivalry, loneliness, competition and madness fuel director Bennett Miller’s award-worthy true crime tale Foxcatcher.

in Entertainment

REVIEW: ‘Wild’ is both unsettling and triumphant

This image released by Fox Searchlight Pictures shows Reese Witherspoon in a scene from the film, "Wild."

Reese Witherspoon leaves her comfort zone as real-life hiker Cheryl Strayed in "Wild."

in Entertainment

Cameron Diaz engaged to Good Charlotte star

camerondiaz

The "Charlie's Angels" star is reportedly planning to marry Benji Madden.

in Entertainment

MOVIES: 25 Days of Christmas Films

James Stewart, center, is reunited with his wife, Donna Reed, left, and children during the last scene of Frank Capra's "It's A Wonderful Life".

Count down to Christmas with these 25 festive holiday movies.