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Panel Advances Health Secretary Pick   01/18 06:05

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Senate committee has signed off on President Donald 
Trump's pick for health secretary, clearing the way for final confirmation of 
Alex Azar.

   The Finance Committee voted 15-12 on Wednesday to send Azar's nomination to 
the full Senate.

   Although the panel's vote was largely along party lines, Azar's confirmation 
hearings weren't nearly as contentious as the deliberations over his 
predecessor, Tom Price.

   One Democrat, Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware joined majority Republicans to 
advance Azar's nomination.

   Azar, 50, is an Ivy League lawyer and a former drug company and government 

   As the new secretary of Health and Human Services, Azar would head a $1 
trillion department with 80,000 employees.

   He's promised to make the high cost of prescription drugs his top priority.

   No floor vote has been scheduled.


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