The Senate confirmed Alex Azar on Wednesday to serve as the new Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary.
The Senate confirmed Alex Azar, 55-43, featuring almost entirely Republican votes.
Azar will replace Tom Price, who resigned last September after a series of reporters revealed expensive private flights billed to taxpayers for travel.
“I think he’s a very fine person, I certainly don’t like the optics,” President Donald Trump said when asked by reporters about the investigation.
Azar previously served as the HHS deputy secretary during the George W. Bush administration, the board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug industry lobby, and worked for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly. Azar also clerked for former Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
Breitbart News reported on the growing number of Bush 43 staffers who have joined the Trump White House, including Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kristjen Nielsen.
Roger Stone told the Associated Press, “If Donald Trump’s presidency fails it will be because he has perhaps inadvertently surrounded himself with” them.
Azar will have large authority to regulate and alter the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through administrative actions as HHS secretary.
Rep. Bill Flores (R-TX), once explained, “[the former HHS secretary] has said he has hundreds of opportunities to change the implementation of the ACA, the original Obamacare bill. He’s rolled out two and he said his goal is roll out two-a-week, but he can’t signal those in advance.”
President Trump tweeted when he announced Azar’s nomination, “Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!”
Happy to announce, I am nominating Alex Azar to be the next HHS Secretary. He will be a star for better healthcare and lower drug prices!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2017