On Monday, Nov. 13, President Donald Trump announced his intention to nominate Alex Azar as the next secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) — a position recently vacated by former Secretary Tom Price after he stirred controversy by misusing publicly funded charter flights.
Azar is an HHS veteran, having served under the administration of President George W. Bush from 2001-2005. Most recently he was president of Lilly USA – a subsidiary of Eli Lilly, which is a pharmaceutical company known for manufacturing psychiatric medications.
Azar’s nomination is likely to face scrutiny from Democrats due to his history in the pharmaceutical industry, as well as his criticism of the Affordable Care Act. However, Senate Democrats will need help from at least three Senate Republicans in order to thwart Azar’s nomination.
Although future dates for Senate action on Azar’s nomination have yet to be set, Azar will require 51 votes from the U.S. Senate to assume the position of HHS secretary.