Sylvia Mathews Burwell
, President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Kathleen Sebelius
as head of HHS, cleared the Senate Finance Committee on a 21-3 vote Wednesday with bipartisan support.
Just three Republican senators—Pat Roberts of Kansas, John Cornyn of Texas and John Thune of South Dakota—voted against approving her to lead the $1 trillion agency. The full Senate will now take up her nomination, although no vote has been scheduled.
Burwell was approved by a 96-0 vote for her current post as director of the Office of Management and Budget. The 49-year-old West Virginia native's resume also includes serving as president of the Walmart Foundation, chief operating officer of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.
“There are significant challenges to address in healthcare, child welfare and family service, so Ms. Burwell will need to hit the ground running at HHS,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), chairman of the Finance Committee, said in a statement after the vote. “She will be a force for bringing people together in a bipartisan way and forging common ground.”Follow Paul Demko on Twitter: @MHpdemko