On June 5, in a bipartisan 78 to 17 vote, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s appointee for secretary of Health and Human Services. Despite a fast-tracked confirmation process with bipartisan support, all the likely GOP contenders for president voted “no” on her confirmation.
With Senate approval, Burwell is now set to take the place of the retiring Kathleen Sebelius as head of HHS. Her most difficult responsibility will be to push regulations for President Obama’s unpopular Obamacare law.
Burwell’s confirmation was swift and devoid of any protracted debate over her suitability, but there were a number of no votes nonetheless. While all the no votes were cast by Republicans, each of the three senators thought to be vying for the GOP nomination for president in 2016 were included.
Rand Paul (R-KY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) all voted thumbs down on Burwell’s nomination.
Meanwhile, Republican Senators John McCain (AZ), Lisa Murkowski (AK), and Susan Collins (ME) voted to confirm.
The rest of the no votes were made by Republican Senators Sessions (AL), Shelby (AL), Risch (ID), Moran (KS), Roberts (KS), McConnell (KY), Vitter (LA), Blunt (MO), Heller (NE), Ayotte (NH), Inhofe (OK), Thune (SD), Cornyn (TX), and Mark Kirk (IL).
Since he is involved in a tough primary race, Mississippi’s Thad Cochran was not in Washington to vote.
Though Burwell will be responsible for implementing Obama’s massive takeover of our healthcare system, Obama’s new HHS secretary has no actual experience with health care or its policy.
Her biggest experience in government was as an economic adviser to Bill Clinton. She led his economic transition team in 1992 and went on to stints at such agencies as the National Economic Council and the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton years. After Clinton left office, one of Burwell’s longest-held jobs was at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
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