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Unanimous Vote for Obama-Era Official as VA Secretary

David Shulkin provides rare bipartisan confirmation moment

David Shulkin has earned a promotion at the VA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
David Shulkin has earned a promotion at the VA. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In a break from the partisan rancor over Donald Trump’s nominees, senators came together to back the president’s choice to helm the Department of Veterans Affairs, who so happened to be a senior-level holdover from the administration of President Barack Obama.

David Shulkin received overwhelming bipartisan support to head the VA, which has been plagued by health care scandals in recent years. Senators quickly backed Shulkin in a unanimous vote.

A rare holdover, Shulkin has been serving as Under Secretary of Health at the department. He was appointed to that post by Obama.

Senate Veterans Affairs Chairman Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and ranking Democrat Jon Tester of Montana both supported Shulkin’s nomination through the committee process, where support was unanimous.

The vote went as expected Monday evening. Under an agreement between Republicans and Democrats, Shulkin only needed 10 minutes of formal floor debate before being up for the roll call.

That’s a real contrast from many of Trump’s other nominees, for whom Democrats have asserted their rights to extend debate as much as possibly under the Senate’s rules.

Another swift confirmation is expected Tuesday morning, when senators are expected to back Linda McMahon to helm the Small Business Administration.

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.

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