The Senate Finance Committee voted on two Biden administration nominations on April 22. The committee voted 14-14 on the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator and 20-8 on the nomination of Andrea Palm to be the Health and Human Services (HHS) deputy secretary. The votes followed a hearing on the nominees on April 15 [refer to Washington Highlights, April 16].
In his opening statement, Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) urged the committee to advance both nominations, stating, “These are highly qualified and experienced nominees. They’re coming off an excellent hearing in this committee last week. Health care is always a topic of serious debate, but these nominees made clear to the committee that they want to work with both sides to find common ground and solve big health care challenges.”
Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) expressed support for Palm but raised concerns about the Brooks-LaSure nomination, specifically referencing a CMS decision earlier in the week to revoke Texas’ 1115 Medicaid waiver. He stated that “this sudden policy shift, on the heels of other partial waiver rescissions, sows significant mistrust between the states and the federal government, and could chill cooperation across a range of policy issues.” Crapo and all other committee Republicans voted against Brooks-LaSure.
Palm’s nomination will now move to the Senate floor for consideration. Brooks-LaSure’s nomination, because it resulted in a tie, must be moved to the Senate floor via a discharge petition that will be filed by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). The AAMC has supported the nominations of both Palm and Brooks-LaSure.