Senate Unanimously Confirms Thompson
In a unanimous vote yesterday, the Senate confirmed Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson (R) as HHS secretary, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports. Thompson's confirmation was "eased" by support from outgoing HHS Secretary Donna Shalala, as well as Wisconsin's Democratic senators, Herb Kohl and Russ Feingold. Furthermore, his "reputation as a reformer and pragmatist" helped ensure that his nomination generated "no real controversy." While senators did question Thompson on RU-486, the Journal Sentinel reports that no one asked him about embryonic stem cell research or his ties to Philip Morris (Gilbert, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/25). Senators approved Thompson 100-0 after a "brief debate" in which they "praised his record" (Lichtblau, Los Angeles Times, 1/25). Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) said, "The qualities that have made Gov. Thompson so successful in Wisconsin are also what makes him an ideal choice to lead this important department. He will bring a wealth of knowledge ... and an innovative style to the national debate on welfare reform" (Carter, AP/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 1/24). In a statement, Thompson said, "I am humbled and honored. ... We intend to make this a time of action in Washington." Thompson will not be sworn in until at least next week, the Journal Sentinel reports (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1/25). His first tasks as HHS secretary will be reauthorizing national welfare reform legislation and devising a Medicare reform plan (Los Angeles Times, 1/25). To view Thompson's confirmation hearings, go to
http://video.c-span.org:8080/ramgen/hdrive/c2k011801_thompson.rm, and for Thompson's statement accepting the nomination, go here http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/elections/bushtext122900.htm. Background information on Thompson is available at http://washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/onpolitics/elections/cabinet/bushcabinet.htm.