POLITICS

Sylvia Mathews Burwell Wins Republicans' Praise

05/08/2014 11:12 am ET | Updated May 08, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's nominee for health secretary is winning GOP praise as she makes her first appearance before a Senate committee.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is called highly qualified to take over as Health and Human Services secretary and assume leadership of the president's health law.

Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) had effusive praise as he introduced Burwell to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday. McCain lauded Burwell for agreeing to lead HHS, a job he said was like "taking over the Titanic after it hit the iceberg."

Senior committee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander took the opportunity to criticize "Obamacare" — but he also cited Burwell's reputation for competence.

The comments indicated Burwell could be headed for a smooth confirmation even while she is called upon to defend the unpopular health law.

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