May 21,2014

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Finance Committee Approves Burwell for HHS Secretary, Commerce and USTR Nominees

WASHINGTON –Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today led the committee to approve three nominees to fill key positions in the administration.

The committee approved Sylvia Mathews Burwell’s nomination to be the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Stefan Selig nomination to be Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and Darci Vetter’s nomination to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Burwell was approved by a vote of 21-3. Selig and Vetter were approved unanimously by voice vote.

The committee considered Burwell’s nomination at a hearing held on May 14. Burwell was previously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on April 24, 2013 with a 96-0 vote.

“There are significant challenges to address in health care, child welfare and family service, so Ms. Burwell will need to hit the ground running at HHS,” Wyden said. “That’s why it’s so important for the Senate to take up Ms. Burwell’s nomination promptly. She will be a force for bringing people together in a bipartisan way and forging common ground.”

Burwell previously served as president of the Walmart Foundation. Before joining the Foundation in 2012, she was president of the global development program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she worked for 10 years and was also the first chief operating officer. During the Clinton administration she served as deputy director of OMB, deputy chief of staff to the President, chief of staff to the Secretary of the Treasury, and staff director of the National Economic Council. She received an A.B. from Harvard University and a B.A. from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar.

The committee considered Selig and Vetter’s nominations at a hearing held on May 8.

“Mr. Selig has a critical role to fill helping American businesses be as competitive as possible overseas as the head of the International Trade Administration, and he is well-suited for the job,” Wyden said. “Ms. Vetter will have an important task as the person who fights on behalf of American farmers and ranchers in trade negotiations. Both of these nominees will help to advance a trade agenda that’s focused on creating jobs and a strong economy for all Americans.” 

Stefan Selig is currently the executive vice chairman of global corporate and investment banking at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Previously, he held various leadership roles at Banc of America Securities. Mr. Selig received a B.A. from Wesleyan University and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School.

Darci Vetter is currently the USDA deputy under secretary for farm and foreign agricultural services, a position she has held since 2010.  Prior to her service with USDA, she was an international trade advisor on the Senate Finance Committee. Vetter has also served as USTR director of agricultural affairs from 2005 to 2007 and as USTR director for sustainable development from 2001 to 2005.  She received her M.P.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University and her B.A. from Drake University.