SENATE COMMITTEE APPROVES ALEX AZAR TO HEAD HHS
The U.S. Senate Finance Committee voted 15-12 to approve the nomination of Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Jan. 17.
Only one Democrat, Tom Carper of Delaware, assented to Azar’s nomination, joining the panel’s Republicans. The committee vote sets up a vote in the full Senate.
Although several Senate Democrats have indicated they will vote against Azar, it is still likely that he will be confirmed. Two Democrats ― Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Joe Manchin (WV) ― have said they will support Azar. Nominees for cabinet positions require only 51 votes to be confirmed ― and Republicans hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate.
Azar, a former executive for the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly, was nominated to lead HHS by President Donald J. Trump in November 2017. He was the department’s general counsel from 2001 to 2005 and its deputy secretary from 2005 to 2007 during the George W. Bush administration. VTN