Burwell nears final hurdle before floor vote

The Senate Finance Committee is poised to approve Sylvia Burwell as Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, the final step before her nomination goes to the Senate floor.

Committee lawmakers will meet Wednesday in an executive session to vote on Burwell, the panel announced.

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Burwell sailed through two previous confirmation hearings with strong support from the GOP, signaling that it is unlikely Republicans will mount a serious challenge to her nomination.

Democrats also have the votes necessary to confirm Burwell, the current White House budget director, under reformed filibuster rules.

Though the Senate unanimously backed Burwell to lead the Office of Management and Budget, at least one Republican has announced he will oppose her to replace HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced Monday that he will not support Burwell's nod until the Obama administration delays the Affordable Care Act's mandate that individuals carry health insurance.

Vitter is also a vocal opponent of the employer subsidies that lawmakers and staffers receive to purchase healthcare coverage.

His statement came in response to a letter from three House lawmakers from Louisiana urging the state's Senate delegation to block Burwell's nomination over ObamaCare. The state's other senator is Democrat Mary Landrieu, currently in a tough reelection fight.