The Senate vote today clinched the position for new secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services by a 78 to 17 vote.

Burwell was endorsed by Senator John McCain (R-AZ), who tweeted, “Sylvia Burwell is an excellent choice to be the next HHS Secretary.”

Who is Sylvia Burwell?

Ms. Burwell comes to her new position with a great deal of experience:

  • prior President of the Global Development Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • prior first chief operating officer at the Gates Foundation
  • previously served as president of the Walmart Foundation

Entering the political sphere, Burwell acted in a number of roles in the Clinton Administration:

  • deputy director of the OMB
  • deputy chief of staff to the president
  • chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin
  • staff director of the National Economic Council

Over this past year, Sylvia Burwell served as director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)and was confirmed in that capacity with a 96-0 vote of confidence in the Senate.

Before today’s confirmation vote, chair of the powerful Senate Finance Committee,

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR),  said that the country needs a “true agent of bipartisanship” at HHS, and Burwell fits the bill. “She will respond to the big questions and the big challenges in a way that brings America together,”

With the ACA and health exchanges facing a great many challenges over this last year including conflicts between the Republicans and Democrats over issues surrounding the ACA, let us hope that the experiences that Burwell has had, makes her up to the tasks at hand.