Panel Backs Burwell's Nomination For U.S. Health Secretary
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[May 22, 2014]
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
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
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
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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)
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