Senate confirms Burwell for head of HHS

June 05, 2014
Area(s) of Interest: Licensing & Regulatory Issues 

The United States Senate confirmed Sylvia Burwell on Thursday as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and declared her a “breath of fresh air.” The vote was 78 to 17 with many Republicans joining with Democrats to vote yes. All of the “no” votes were cast by Republicans.

Burwell, who has been director of the White House Office of Management and Budget since April of 2013, will focus on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She is a veteran of the Clinton administration’s economic team, and at HHS she will oversee 11 agencies, including the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

She proved to be a popular choice with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and sailed through the confirmation hearings with promises to be cooperative and candid with Congress.

Burwell spent more than a decade working in philanthropy, starting with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and then as president of the Walmart Foundation. During the Clinton administration, she held several economic roles, including staff director of the White House National Economic Council, Treasury chief of staff under then-secretary Robert Rubin and as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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