On Wednesday, January 17 the Senate Finance Committee approved the nomination of Alex Azar to be the next Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Senator Tom Carper (D-DE) was the only committee member to cross party lines on the final 15 to 12 vote. Carper’s vote does not necessarily indicate he will vote for him on the floor and he issued a statement said he was still evaluating his nomination.
One of the flash points has been his position on controlling prescription drug medication prices. He has indicated his opposition to aggressive government action. Azar is currently a consultant, but he had worked for drug manufacturer Lilly until 2017. He also served at HHS under the George W. Bush Administration. It’s not clear when a vote will be scheduled or whether there will be universal opposition by Democrats. This past week Republicans have been two votes short with Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and Senator Thad Cochrane (R-MS) dealing with illness.