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Republicans tell HHS nominee they’ll work to scale back health care law

WASHINGTON (AP) — The woman who’s been nominated to head the federal Department of Health and Human Services is telling senators that the new health care law “is making a positive difference.”

But at today’s confirmation hearing for Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Republican senators are taking issue with that assessment. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee warned Burwell that Republicans hope to retake the Senate in November, and to scale back the law in a number of ways. He says they will try to “repair the damage” from the health care law.

Despite their differing views on that issue, Republicans have been offering praise for Burwell. Alexander cited her “reputation for competence,” and Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina said he plans to vote to confirm her. He says she’s a “tremendous asset.”

Burwell is President Barack Obama’s choice to replace Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. She resigned last month after presiding over the passage of the health law and the disastrous rollout of the federal enrollment website.

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APPHOTO DCSA109: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become secretary of Health and Human Services, appears before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee for her confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, May 8, 2014. Burwell has found favor with both Republicans and Democrats in her current role as the head of the Office of Management and Budget and would replace Kathleen Sebelius who resigned last month after presiding over the Affordable Care Act and its problematic rollout. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (8 May 2014)

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