January 24,2018

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Hatch Urges Colleagues to Support Azar on Senate Floor

1.24 azar floor speech

Click Here to Watch Hatch Speak in Support of Azar’s Nomination

WASHINGTON – Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today on the Senate floor urged his colleagues to support the nomination of Alex Azar to be secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

Azar’s nomination advanced out of the Finance Committee earlier this month with bipartisan support. 

Hatch’s remarks can be found below:

The Senate will soon vote on President Trump’s nominee for Secretary for Health and Human Services. 

I can think of very few others as qualified to take the helm of this very large ship than Mr. Alex Azar. 

As Secretary of HHS, Mr. Azar would be responsible for trillions of dollars in spending, liabilities, and contracts that make-up the backbone of our healthcare system. 

What’s more, Mme. President, HHS is still in the process of off-ramping many of the poor decisions made throughout the eight years of the Obama administration. Unfortunately, many of those policies, regulations, procedures, and practices still remain in place, continuing to undermine the sustainability of programs like Medicare and Medicaid and artificially propping up the so-called Affordable Care Act. 

But, the good news is that Mr. Azar brings with him nearly two decades of experience in the healthcare system, working in both in the private and public sectors. 

Mr. Azar spent several years as a senior official at HHS, holding key positions overseeing Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage. He also led HHS’s responses to the anthrax attacks shortly after 9/11, the SARS and monkeypox crises, Hurricane Katrina, and many others. 

Clearly, Mr. Azar has seen both the good and bad at HHS and knows how to manage them. I don’t think there is anyone here, even on the other side of the aisle, who would contest that. 

In fact, in the past, Mr. Azar has actually been confirmed twice. With experience both on the company side and the government side of healthcare, he is now only more experienced and knowledgeable. 

I think that broad expertise will serve him well, particularly at this critical time when the HHS Secretary will need to be intensely focused on the opioid epidemic and other major problems facing our country. No doubt all of these are reasons why we reported Mr. Azar out of the Finance Committee with a bipartisan vote. 

If we set aside the partisan and the pre-conceived notions some have about certain industries, Mr. Azar would likely get a near-unanimous vote. So, I hope at least some of our Democratic colleagues will vote to confirm him. 

I urge all of my colleagues to join me in doing so.