Sylvia Mathews Burwell, whom the Senate unanimously confirmed last year as director of the Office of Management and Budget, is widely expected to be confirmed as the next HHS secretary.
Few significant concerns have been raised about her ability or fitness for the post overseeing the $1 trillion agency. But that doesn't mean there won't be plenty of tough questions when she appears Thursday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee.
The hearing will give Republicans a chance to blast away at the perceived failings of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and bolster their odds of gaining control of the Senate in the November elections. They are expected to focus on HHS' lack of transparency on insurance exchange enrollments and the administration's use of executive authority to make significant changes to the law.