HHS nominee wins GOP praise

Associated Press
FILE - In this April 11, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama listens as his nominee to become Human Services secretary, current Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Burwell appears Thursday, May 8 before the Senate Health Committee, the first of two Senate committees that will hold hearings on her nomination. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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FILE - In this April 11, 2014, file photo, President Barack Obama listens as his nominee to become Human Services secretary, current Budget Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington. Burwell appears Thursday, May 8 before the Senate Health Committee, the first of two Senate committees that will hold hearings on her nomination. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's nominee for health secretary is winning GOP praise as she makes her first appearance before a Senate committee.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is called highly qualified to take over as Health and Human Services secretary and assume leadership of the president's health law.

Senator John McCain had effusive praise as he introduced Burwell to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Thursday

Senior committee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander took the opportunity to criticize "Obamacare" — but he also cited Burwell's reputation for competence.

The comments indicated Burwell could be headed for a smooth confirmation even while she is called upon to defend the unpopular health law.

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