Newly-confirmed Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell secured a lightning rod position with minimal controversy by running a "textbook campaign," according to Politico.
The Senate confirmed Burwell, formerly the director of the Office of Management and Budget, with a 78-17 vote yesterday. She cultivated a far more bipartisan image than her predecessor Kathleen Sebelius, according to the article, and impressed Sebelius critics with her commitment to transparency.
"You just never knew whether you were going to get a straight answer or if you were going to get an answer at all [from Sebelius]," said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). "[Burwell] is an extremely competent person who will answer your questions unlike Ms. Sebelius. She's got the skills to be able to run a huge department and she will answer your questions. That's about all you can ask for."
Burwell's first challenge will be picking up where Sebelius left off--the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, according to the Washington Post. She will be responsible for merging the insurance marketplaces of three states into the federal insurance exchanges, as well as implementing the twice-delayed requirement that employers offer their workers health benefits, the article states.
"I think she's somebody that we can work with on trying to--if we can't get rid of Obamacare, at least improve it," Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), the leading Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, told Politico. "She's qualified and I think that she's a very good worker. So I'm pleased that she's willing to do this--it's a terrible job."
But Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) refused to support Burwell's confirmation, according to the New York Times, saying that as secretary, "she would be the chief operating officer of Obamacare implementation, a law that's doing incredible damage to middle-class families."