By a vote of 78 to 17, the U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. Twenty-four Republicans joined 52 Democrats and two independents in voting for her confirmation.

Burwell, formerly director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, garnered bipartisan support from Senate leaders and replaces embattled HHS head Kathleen Sebelius, who announced in April that she was resigning. The Obama administration is hoping that Burwell's confirmation will help alleviate widespread criticism of Seblius's handling of the botched rollout of President Obama's signature healthcare law.

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