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Senate confirms Biden pick to lead Medicare, Medicaid office

Senate confirms Biden pick to lead Medicare, Medicaid office
© Screenshot CSPAN

The Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm President BidenJoe BidenMellman: Trump voters cling to 2020 tale FDA authorizes another batch of J&J vaccine Cotton warns of China collecting athletes' DNA at 2022 Olympics MORE’s pick to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, who will be the first Black woman to hold the key health policy position. 

In a 55-44 vote, the upper chamber approved Brooks-LaSure as the CMS administrator, where she will oversee the Biden administration’s goals of expanding the Affordable Care Act. 

Her confirmation brings another Obama-era official into Biden’s administration; Brooks-LaSure served in the former president’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in implementing the Affordable Care Act.    

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Five Republicans joined the Democrats in supporting Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation: Sens. Roy BluntRoy Dean BluntGOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' GOP Rep. Vicky Hartzler launches Missouri Senate bid Cryptocurrency industry lobbies Washington for 'regulatory clarity' MORE (Mo.), Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrPast criticism of Trump becomes potent weapon in GOP primaries Trump endorsement shakes up GOP Senate primary in NC House Democrats to Schumer: Vote again on Jan. 6 probe MORE (N.C.), Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve Bipartisan lawmakers introduce bill to ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics as study finds them prevalent Cosmetic chemicals need a makeover MORE (Maine), Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranOvernight Health Care: Moderna says COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in 12- to 17-year-olds | US achieves full vaccinations for half of adults | Trump on Wuhan lab: Now everyone agrees 'I was right' Senate confirms Biden pick to lead Medicare, Medicaid office Bipartisan Senate bill introduced to give gyms B in relief MORE (Kan.) and Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHundreds in West Virginia protest Manchin's opposition to voting rights legislation How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress Senate confirms Garland's successor to appeals court MORE (Alaska). 

The confirmation came after GOP lawmakers had opposed her nomination following the Biden administration’s decision to rescind Texas’s Medicaid waiver previously granted by the Trump administration.

Last month, Sen. John CornynJohn CornynSenate passes bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday Harris calls for pathway to citizenship for Dreamers on DACA anniversary Senate confirms Garland's successor to appeals court MORE (R-Texas) announced he would place a hold on Brooks-LaSure’s nomination, after the Biden administration ended the waiver providing hospitals with federal funded reimbursements for treating uninsured people. 

“Senator Cornyn placed the hold after the Biden Administration decided to play political chicken with uninsured Texans’ healthcare,” a Cornyn spokesperson said at the time. 

Biden’s CMS argued that the Trump administration did not give the required time for public comment on the waiver. Texas responded to the decision by filing a lawsuit against the Biden administration. 

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Brooks-LaSure had not been confirmed when the Medicaid waiver was rescinded, so she had not participated in the decision.  

The Senate Finance Committee previously was divided on whether to move her nomination forward to the full Senate, with all Republicans voting against her advancement. But Senate Majority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Energy: Schumer to trigger reconciliation process Wednesday | Bipartisan bill would ban 'forever chemicals' in cosmetics | Biden admin eyes step toward Trump-era proposal for uranium reserve GOP senator: I want to make Biden a 'one-half-term president' How Biden can get the infrastructure bill through Congress MORE (D-N.Y.) succeeded in bringing the confirmation vote to the floor.

Hospital group America's Essential Hospitals congratulated Brooks-LaSure on her confirmation.

"Brooks-LaSure takes the reins at CMS at a critical juncture for our nation, as COVID-19 and its lingering economic effects make access to health care coverage more important than ever," Beth Feldpush, the organization's senior vice president of policy and advocacy, said. "Her intimate knowledge of, and experience with, Medicaid and Medicare make her well suited to meet these challenges."