HHS Secretary Sebelius Resigns; President Obama Nominates OMB Director Burwell


Last Friday, at a ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House, President Obama accepted the resignation of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and announced that he would nominate Sylvia Mathews Burwell, current Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to be the next Secretary. 

President Obama commended Sebelius for her leadership and observed “the final score speaks for itself: there are 7.5 million people across the country that have the security of health insurance, most of them for the very first time.”  Sebelius characterized her service in the Obama Administration as “the most meaningful work I have ever been a part of” and “the cause of my life.”  In a farewell letter to colleagues over the weekend, Sebelius indicated that she would continue serving until Burwell is confirmed, to assist in the transition. 

Senators from both parties expressed their support for Burwell, when she was confirmed as OMB Director by a 96-0 vote in April 2013.  Burwell is expected to face a tougher vetting from Senators for this position, particularly from Republicans who vehemently oppose the Affordable Care Act.  Under the Democrats’ rules change, Burwell needs the support of a simple majority of Senators, instead of 60, to be confirmed. 

Burwell, a West Virginia native who graduated from Harvard College and Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, worked for charitable organizations including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and previously served in the Clinton Administration.  If confirmed, she would be the first non-governor Secretary of HHS since the Clinton Administration.

Reporter, Allison Kassir, Washington, D.C., + 1 202 626 5600, akassir@kslaw.com.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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