Polarizing HHS Nominee Confirmed by Senate on Party-Line Vote

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A polarized Senate voted early Friday morning to confirm Tom Price, the conservative Georgia congressman who has been one of Congress’s most vehement opponents of the Affordable Care Act, as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The 52-47 vote made Price the latest in a series of controversial Cabinet nominees whom the Senate’s Republican majority has been strong enough to muscle through on party-line votes.

Price did not draw a single vote from Senate Democrats, who argued that the intersection of the nominee’s personal investments and legislative behavior warranted deeper scrutiny of his ethics.

Lacking the votes to defeat his confirmation, Democrats instead marshaled a war of words. They used the hours leading to the 2 a.m. roll call to read testimonials from Americans with severe, expensive-to-treat illnesses and gratitude to the ACA, Medicare or Medicaid — cornerstones of federal health policy that the Democrats accused the nominee of wanting to undermine.

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