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Senate committee approves Burwell nomination for HHS

The nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell for secretary of Health and Human Services passed 21-3 out of committee and heads to the Senate floor.

By
Gabrielle Levy
Sylvia Burwell testifies during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the her nomination to be secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on May 8, 2014. UPI/Molly Riley
Sylvia Burwell testifies during the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on the her nomination to be secretary of the Health and Human Services Department, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on May 8, 2014. UPI/Molly Riley | License Photo

WASHINGTON, May 21 (UPI) -- The Senate Finance committee overwhelmingly approved the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be the new secretary of Health and Human Services Wednesday.

A breezy, at times jovial hearing that lasted less than a half-hour saw quick approval of the nomination, by a vote of 21-3.

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Republicans Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota were the only no votes.

Burwell, who received glowing reports from senators on both sides of the aisle at separate Finance and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee hearings, will now face a full Senate vote.

The Senate approved Burwell to her current position as director of the Office of Management and Budget by a vote of 96-0 last year, and her approval as HHS secretary is expected to go similarly smoothly.

The Finance Committee also approved, by voice vote, the nominations of Stefan Selig to be the under secretary of commerce for international trade and Darci Vetter to serve as chief agricultural negotiator for the Office of the United States Trade Representative.

President Obama is expected to nominate Shaun Donovan, the secretary of Housing and Urban Development to replace Burwell at OMB, and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro to replace Donovan at HUD.

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