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WV Native Burwell Confirmed As New U.S. Head Of Health and Human Resources

Reported: Jun. 5, 2014 2:33 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 5, 2014 6:40 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Heath Harrison) – Sylvia Mathews Burwell has been confirmed as the new U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources.

Burwell, who was born and raised in Hinton, W.Va., is taking over for Kathleen Sebelius, who announced her resignation in April.

Many had expected Burwell's nomination to be a long battle, centered around debate over the Affordable Care Act, but the Senate confirmed her in 78 to 17 vote on Thursday.

Burwell is currently serving as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. She began her political career as an intern to U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va, followed by work as an aide to Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis. She served as deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1998 and as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin from 1995 to 1997.

U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller reacted to Burwell’s confirmation.

“The Senate’s swift action to confirm Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services speaks directly to her abilities and record of accomplishment,” Rockefeller said in a statement. “Sylvia is a shining star and a devoted public servant who has earned the respect of both Democrats and Republicans, and the bipartisan support she received since the President announced her nomination only further reflects how highly regarded she is across the aisle.”

Rockefeller said Burwell is the right person for the position.

“Sylvia has a deep understanding of the need to provide affordable health care coverage to all Americans, as well as the need to invest in public health initiatives and medical research,” Rockefeller said. “And I know the Department will benefit from her ferocious work ethic and broad management experience from the public and private sectors. I am deeply proud of Sylvia and all of her accomplishments, and I look forward to working with her in this new role.”

Rahall praised the skills he said Burwell will bring to the position.

“The bipartisan mandate Sylvia has received from the United States Senate portrays the breath of fresh air and seasoned management she can continue to bring the federal government to get things done when given the opportunity," Rahall said in a statement. "Her pragmatism rooted in West Virginia values will continue to serve the nation and make our State prouder still.”

President Barack Obama offered his congratulations to Burwell.

"Sylvia is a proven manager who knows how to deliver results," Obama said in a Twiiter post announcing her confirmation



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