WASHINGTON (June 6, 2014) — By a 78-17 vote, the Senate approved Sylvia Mathews Burwell June 5 as the new secretary of health and human services, succeeding Kathleen Sebelius.
As HHS secretary, Ms. Burwell will have authority over the ongoing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), as well as the branch agencies of HHS including the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health.
Ms. Burwell, who has been director of the Office of Management and Budget since April 2013, was opposed by some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., because of their general opposition to the ACA. The problematic rollout of the federal healthcare website earlier this year forced Ms. Burwell's predecessor to resign in April 2014.
A native of West Virginia, Ms. Burwell was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration. Before becoming President Obama's OMB director, she was president of the WalMart Foundation.