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Senate confirms Levine, first openly trans official

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Dr. Rachel Levine made history Wednesday as the first openly transgender official to be confirmed by the U.S. Senate, as the next assistant Secretary of Health.

Levine was confirmed by a vote of 52-48, despite strong opposition from Republicans.

Two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, joined Democrats in voting to confirm Levine.

Formerly a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State University, Levine arrives in Washington after having served as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, where she led the state's response to the pandemic.

During her confirmation hearing last month, Levine also highlighted her work managing the state's opioid crisis.

Levine's transgender identity came up during her hearing when Republican Senator Rand Paul pressed Levine about her position on gender transition-related surgeries, and compared sex reassignment procedures to genital mutilation.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the Health Committee, later rebuked Paul for making quote "harmful misrepresentations" during his line of questioning.

Video Transcript

- The nomination is confirmed.

- Dr. Rachel Levine made history Wednesday as the first openly transgender official to be confirmed by the US Senate as the next Assistant Secretary of Health. Levine was confirmed by a vote of 52 to 48, despite strong opposition from Republicans. Two GOP senators, Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins, joined Democrats in voting to confirm Levine.

Formerly a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State University, Levine arrives in Washington after having served as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Health, where she led the state's response to the pandemic.

RACHEL LEVINE: am honored to be President Biden's nominee.

- During her confirmation hearing last month, Levine also highlighted her work managing the state's opioid crisis. Levine's transgender identity came up during her hearing, when Republican Senator Rand Paul pressed Levine about her position on gender transition-related surgeries and compared sex reassignment procedures to genital mutilation.

Democratic Senator Patty Murray, who chairs the health committee, later rebuked Paul for making, quote, "harmful misrepresentations" during his line of questioning.