Burning the midnight oil for a third night this week, the Senate early Friday morning approved Rep. Tom Price of Georgia for a spot in President Trump’s Cabinet, voting 52-48 along party lines to confirm the veteran Georgia lawmakers for the job of Secretary of Health and Human Services.
The vote came after Democrats forced another lengthy day of debate, which mainly featured their attacks on Price, as Democrats accused him of planning to enact harmful reforms to Medicare and the Obama health law.
“This guy is a wrecking ball, he’s not a Secretary,” said Sen. Angus King (I-ME).
“He’s going into this agency to destroy it,” King added on the Senate floor, as critics zeroed in on Price’s support for major changes in Medicare.
“Congressman Price has led the effort to end Medicare as we know it, by giving seniors inadequate vouchers to purchase private health insurance,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Democrats also verbally rebuked Price over his stock trades while a member of Congress – again, all but accusing the veteran Georgia lawmaker of making illegal trades, a charge he has steadfastly denied.
“This just looks to me like a cover up, and it ought to shake this body’s confidence in Congressman Price’s nomination,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).
But as with other controversial Cabinet picks by President Trump, Democrats made no headway in getting GOP Senators to break ranks and vote against a nominee.
For the most part, Republicans let Democrats do all the talking on the Senate floor, leaving Price’s two colleagues from Georgia to make the case for his nomination.
“Tom Price is a great man, he’s a great public servant, and he will do a great job as Secretary of Health and Human Services,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA).
“Dr. Price will work to end Washington’s takeover of our health care system,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA).
“Truly, Mr. President, there is no one more qualified to serve as our next Health and Human Services Secretary,” Perdue added.
The vote on Price began at 1:45 am, as Democrats refused to speed things up, still trying to make Republicans work hard for every Cabinet choice that President Trump has made.