Pence swears in VA, Small Business Administration heads

Pence swears in VA, Small Business Administration heads
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Vice Presiden Pence on Tuesday swore in David Shulkin to lead the Department of Veterans affairs and Linda McMahon as head of the Small Business Administration.

"Few duties of the federal government are as important as fulfilling what President Lincoln promised, which is that we as a nation would, quote, 'Care for him who shall have borne the battle,' " Pence said at Shulkin's swearing-in, according to pool reports. "We know you'll be a great benefit, not so much to the Department of Veterans Affairs as to our heroes across this country ... we're grateful for your continued service."

Shulkin, a physician and former Obama administration official, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate on Monday, in a rare showing of bipartisan cooperation. He has served as the VA’s undersecretary for health since 2015.

"This is really such an honor to be able to serve our veterans. And I have such an obligation and duty that I feel to making sure that we give our veterans everything that they deserve," Shulkin said in brief remarks after taking the oath of office.

"We know that we have a lot of work to do," Shulkin said. "And that's what I plan to do as secretary."

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Shulkin’s nomination for the top VA post surprised many because Trump called the department’s medical system a failure on the campaign trail.

In his new post, Shulkin will oversee more than 300,000 employees and an $82 billion budget.

McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, was confirmed earlier Tuesday by a vote of 81-19.

A two-time Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut, McMahon been a longtime GOP donor and backed Trump’s presidential bid early on.

The business agency has a budget typically less than $1 billion and a few thousand employees.

At McMahon's ceremony, Pence said small businesses are "the beating heart of our national prosperity."

"And Linda McMahon knows this better than most," he said.