Apr 11 2014
“Director Burwell’s nomination must and will be considered fairly, and with an open mind... [She] has a comparatively thin resume for the demands now placed on this position—she has never run anything on the scale of HHS—and, during her short stint as budget director, she did more to obscure the nation’s poor financial state than to illuminate it."
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today about the nomination of Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia M. Burwell to be the next Secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services:
“The Health and Human Services Secretary is one of the highest positions in the executive branch, controlling a huge department directly impacting one-sixth of the U.S. economy. Whoever fills this slot will be tasked with implementing the President’s colossal health law, which is already inflicting damage on the economy and the finances of our nation. The Administration has made numerous end-runs around Congress in a bid to keep the law afloat. At this moment in history, we need someone for this position with exceptional health care experience, management skills, and independence who will provide transparent information to the public—and who will tell the President ‘no’ if asked to do something contrary to law or good policy. Director Burwell’s nomination must and will be considered fairly, and with an open mind.
However, I am concerned that Director Burwell may have been chosen because the President believed her to be another political loyalist who would toe the party line. Ms. Burwell has a comparatively thin resume for the demands now placed on this position—she has never run anything on the scale of HHS—and, during her short stint as budget director, she did more to obscure the nation’s poor financial state than to illuminate it. The budget document she submitted, and her testimony about it, will have to be closely re-examined. Tasked with writing a financial plan for America, she delivered a document that violated in-law spending caps while trying to suggest it did not. The plan added more than $8 trillion to the debt and brought our interest payments, according to her own numbers, past $800 billion annually—yet was presented as providing financial stability. America does not need more political voices, but more highly-capable, independent, and honest voices who will act faithfully on the public’s behalf. That is the test I will apply to Director Burwell.”
[NOTE: To view an exchange from a Budget Committee hearing earlier this year in which Director Burwell repeatedly refused to admit that the President’s FY15 budget spends more money than allowed under the Ryan-Murray deal’s spending limits, please click here.]