Members voted 78 to 17 to approve Burwell's nomination to replace outgoing Sec. Kathleen Sebelius, completing a confirmation process that was unexpectedly easy.
Although many expected her nomination to be a relitigation of the fight over the Affordable Care Act, Burwell sailed through hearings before the Senate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committees last month, boosted by glowing testimonies from Republican Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Richard Burr of North Carolina and John McCain of Arizona.
Burwell will depart her position as director of the Office of Management and Budget, a position to which she was unanimously confirmed last year. Current Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan has been tapped to replace her at OMB, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro has been nominated to take over at HUD.