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

Today in entertainment history: Oct. 22

Fresh
beachboys2

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

in Viral Videos

WATCH: ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ Halloween house

15-overlay4

The decorations and synchronized light display on this house is so impressive, we won't even ask for candy.

in Music

Alice Cooper wants to ‘die on stage’

alice

The rocker says he's not worried about elaborate stunts on stage because that's the way he would want to go out.

in Entertainment

Bryan Cranston laughs off ‘Breaking Bad’ toy controversy

breaking

A Florida mom wants action figures from the popular series banned from Toys 'R' Us stores.

in Viral Videos

Brad Pitt in ‘Furby’

17-overlay1

What if the WWII tank movie was remade with the furry toys?