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Senate Confirms Burwell To Top Post At Health And Human Services

Sylvia Mathews Burwell won Senate approval as the new secretary of health and human services.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell won Senate approval as the new secretary of health and human services.

The Senate has voted to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell to the post of secretary of health and human services, where she will replace Kathleen Sebelius, who presided over the troubled rollout of the HealthCare.gov website.

In a 78-17 vote, Burwell, who served most recently as White House budget director, was approved Thursday.

In a statement released by the White House press office, President Obama said he applauded the confirmation of Burwell.

"Sylvia is a proven manager who knows how to deliver results, and over her career she has built deep relationships with Democrats and Republicans alike," the president said. "I'm confident Sylvia's unparalleled experience will serve her well in her new role as she works to ensure the safety of our food and drug supply, protect our nation from outbreaks or bioterror attacks, keep America at the forefront of medical research, and make sure every American has access to quality, affordable healthcare."

Despite the bipartisan vote, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., indicated that Republican opposition to the Affordable Care Act was as strong as ever.

"The Senate shouldn't be focusing on a new captain for the Titanic. It should focus on steering away from the iceberg," McConnell said.

The Associated Press notes that although the health care website had "a strong finish" to the open enrollment this year, "HealthCare.gov is still dealing with unresolved issues ranging from possibly inaccurate insurance payments, to e-commerce basics."

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