White House spokesman Jay Carney declined to predict how the Senate will handle Sylvia Mathews Burwell's nomination for Health and Human Services secretary, but noted her unanimous confirmation as Obama's budget chief.
Carney told reporters that he “wouldn't want to predict” how Republicans will handle her confirmation. “But I would point to the fact that roughly a year ago she was confirmed 96-0,” he added, noting the vote to make her director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Carney said President Obama believes there is no one more qualified for the top spot at HHS. He added that since Obama announced his decision to tap Burwell to replace outgoing HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius several Republicans have praised her.
“Those comments and that praise is merited because she is an exceptional” OMB director, he said.
Pressed on whether Burwell has significant enough experience addressing health care issues to helm the sprawling department at such a critical time, Carney cited her experience at OMB, which he said “has a significant role to play in the health care arena.”
He added that OMB also “directly interacts” with HHS and other departments.
Carney also cited her experience in health care issues when she sat on the board of directors of Metlife and headed the Walmart Foundation.