Tom Price the most divisive health secretary in at least 40 years

WASHINGTON — Georgia Congressman Tom Price is now officially secretary of health and human services after the Senate’s alarm-busting 2:12 a.m. confirmation vote. Like many of the new members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, the Roswell Republican was approved by a historically narrow margin for the U.S. Senate.

Not a single Senate Democrat crossed the aisle to support the former orthopedic surgeon. The final tally was 52-47, with every single Republican voting in favor. (The missing vote was Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill.)

Per the Senate historian’s office, that officially makes Price the most divisive health secretary in at least 40 years.

 


 

Here’s a look at how past health and human services picks fared on the Senate floor and how long it took lawmakers to confirm them after formally receiving their nomination papers:

President Jimmy Carter (source)

Joseph Califano, Jr.: confirmed 95-1; four days from Senate receipt to approval

Patricia Harris: confirmed by voice vote; seven days from Senate receipt to approval

President Ronald Reagan (source)

Richard Schweiker: confirmed 99-0; one day from Senate receipt to approval

Margaret Heckler: confirmed 82-3; nine days from Senate receipt to approval

Otis Bowen: confirmed 93-2; eight days from Senate receipt to approval

President George H.W. Bush (source)

Louis Sullivan: confirmed 98-1; 40 days from Senate receipt to approval

President Bill Clinton (source)

Donna Shalala: confirmed by unanimous consent; one day from Senate receipt to approval

President George W. Bush (source)

Tommy Thompson: confirmed 100-0; four days from Senate receipt to approval

Michael Leavitt: confirmed by voice vote; 22 days from Senate receipt to approval

President Barack Obama (source)

Kathleen Sebelius: confirmed 65-31; 42 days from Senate receipt to approval

Sylvia Mathews Burwell: confirmed 78-17; 55 days from Senate receipt to approval

Boiling it all down, the Senate’s vote on Price ended up being a historically partisan one, but in terms of delays it doesn’t come close to being the longest.

The 21 days from when the Senate formally received the paperwork nominating Price on Trump’s inauguration day to today’s confirmation vote is less than half as long as predecessor Sylvia Mathews Burwell had to wait to win her green light. On the other hand, Price’s delay was substantial compared to the quick action that most health nominees of first-term presidents once received.

Times have of course changed since the days of Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. The Senate is substantially more polarized, especially when it comes to Trump, and Democrats have forced historic delays when looking across his entire Cabinet.

Democrats’ rejection of Price is based not on his personality or qualifications, they have argued, but his views on health care, a subject area that’s become substantially more partisan in the years since Obamacare was passed.

The goalposts have also moved. It only takes 51 votes to confirm Cabinet secretaries these days instead of 60. But Democrats’ move to lower that threshold back in 2013 helped contribute to some of the partisanship that’s brought Senate consideration of White House nominees to a snail’s pace.

Read more: Tom Price sworn in as health chief shortly after Senate confirmation

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223 comments
Craig Stewart Files
Craig Stewart Files

The New York Times (2/12, Pear, Subscription Publication) reports that congressional Republicans and the Trump Administration are working on “ways to shore up health insurance marketplaces” under the Affordable Care Act, despite their efforts to also repeal the healthcare law. The Times says that is because they fear “they could be blamed by consumers and Democrats” should the marketplaces “collapse” as President Trump has said they would. In order to attract insurers, they are working to “address concerns that insurers have been expressing for several years.” The piece points out that insurers want the Federal government to act quickly because they must use whatever information is available by May to decide if they will offer plans for 2018 through ACA marketplaces.

Gary Hart
Gary Hart

Believe half of what you read and nothing of what you hear .. That used to be the rule but now don't believe either ....

Karen Slimm
Karen Slimm

just get going on the new health care FAST and make fools of the libtards.

Charles Moss
Charles Moss

Pity you fools who put this despicable man in charge of the country's health care.

Craig Stewart Files
Craig Stewart Files

Suddenly, people are more in favor of the Affordable Care Act than are against it. For the first time, more people believe Obamacare is a good idea than think it is a bad idea, as a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll showed.There are a few reasons the balance might be tipping: It may be that growing participation in Obamacare has slowly tipped polls. It may be that Democrats' messaging that millions might lose coverage is sinking in.

Jane Scroggins
Jane Scroggins

The problem was that he was Trump's choice and he was from Georgia!

Steven Roix
Steven Roix

Yeah!!! Congrats Tom Price....you will be the best Secretary of HHS in years !!

Mary Ann Kitchens
Mary Ann Kitchens

They need to be ashamed\U0001f6211/2 of Americans can't afford and the rest get theirs thru work at astronomical cost\U0001f621

Joan West
Joan West

So sick and tired of the whining and crap! Trump was elected in what is suppose to be America. Land of freedom, now it didn't go your way and you want to cause trouble and take away the votes we legal citizen cast! We will not give up our rights.

Butch Augst
Butch Augst

Atlanta really needs a real editorial page. The communist hacks they have do not impress a lot of us.

Robert Randolph
Robert Randolph

... because they know he is going to dismantle their mess.

Nathalie Graf
Nathalie Graf

AJC, and your point?? He never seemed to be a problem till he was chosen for HHS. Give the man a chance.

Ron Mashburn
Ron Mashburn

Fake news or their negative spin on everything President Trump does !! These people are a disgrace to our country and government with their confrontational transition of power from the Dems to Republicans!! What a sad time !!

Darlene Knight
Darlene Knight

And not a single Republican voted for the ACA. Your point?

Garry Hyrne
Garry Hyrne

This rag is becoming one of the most divisive papers in history.

Shane Taylor
Shane Taylor

He's only divisive if you're a corrupt, hypocritical liberal who thinks the Government should control everything.

Malcolm Naderhoff
Malcolm Naderhoff

Good for them. Really who cares? Isn't there any real news out there to sensationalize?

Robin Toovey Mosele
Robin Toovey Mosele

They haven't crossed the line for any appointees yet? You should be shaming them

Craig Black
Craig Black

There are no more democrats. Those were your fathers and grandfathers time. Democrats now are really socialists borderline communist Marxist's that have more in common with 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto than the United States Constitution. Why even the Communist Party USA (CPUSA) has a comfortable place within the now defunct democrat party. They stand for nothing that is actually IN the Constitution unless they twist it for evil ends.

Mark Cotner
Mark Cotner

You mean all the democrats who voted _for_ the "affordable" care act?

Craig Black
Craig Black

Typical Urinal Constipation fish wrapper.

Karen Huber Armstrong
Karen Huber Armstrong

This post is the final dishonest straw. I'm done with your page. It's full of rotten bologna.

Shon Woods
Shon Woods

The whole administration is divisive and obstructive. 45 sure is making America great again.

Lavena Adams
Lavena Adams

You go Dems! Thanks for not supporting this little weasel!!!

Mike Dougherty
Mike Dougherty

What? As one of Tom's constituents, I never saw any divisiveness, never! Oh wait a minute, he wants to take away "Free Medical for the freeloaders" (AKA Obamacare) and the likes of Jay Bookman (D-AJC) are screaming about that.

Darryl S. Ellrott
Darryl S. Ellrott

It is the liberal wackdoodles with their marches and their partisan witch hunts who are dividing the country, and the backfire is coming!

Joe Armstrong
Joe Armstrong

This current Democratic Party (what's left of it) are the most divisive. The Senate Democrats will hardly ever cross the aisle. Unless it will benefit them. They are pissed because they lost over 1,100 elected seats in the past two elections. And they haven't figured out why. Nor does it seem like they care too.

Bill Mullen
Bill Mullen

Not a single Democrat crossed over for any other cabinet member either the Democrats are playing in the obstructionist they are going to be completely destroyed in 2018

Tillie Vilsaint
Tillie Vilsaint

Isn't Tom Price a Georgian? You can't even support your own, at least be quiet or just facts don't shower it with your negative leftist liberalism. Just as you guys were surprised Trump won, you will be ashamed after Trump presidency because you haven't learned.

Brian Holland
Brian Holland

Not a single republican supported obamacare. Big deal.

Nancy Trull Gibson Leggett
Nancy Trull Gibson Leggett

Looks like there will be a lot of worthless democrats replaced when they come back up for reelection. I'm watching all the dems in Ga. apparently they did not get the message yet.

Joe Fincher
Joe Fincher

Fortunately for the American people Republicans don't need dem support. Dems should be ashamed of themselves.

Joseph Lee
Joseph Lee

This page is a joke now...unfollowing

Maria Schell
Maria Schell

I think the extreme left and its minions has worked hard to divide this country, and will continue to do so until it is destroyed. Extremism of any kind is unhealthy.

Sigi Phillips
Sigi Phillips

The dems list big time and if they continue down this road it will be worse for them in 2018. Wake up.

Greg Pearson
Greg Pearson

That's because senate democrats are lock step bigots.

Angela Dawn Selden
Angela Dawn Selden

Price divisive? No, tell the truth!!1 It is the Communists Democrats being divisive!!

Edward C Tracey
Edward C Tracey

Whenever democrats make assertions they are projecting!!!

Rick Dorminy
Rick Dorminy

No. It's the Democratic Party and news organizations like the AJC that are divisive.

Keith Taylor
Keith Taylor

He is a good man. Just politics are not civil.