President-elect Donald Trump chose orthopedist and six-term Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and health policy expert Seema Verma to head Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Meanwhile, Mr. Trump’s pick for secretary of state is still in question: Mitt Romney and Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) appear to be contenders. John Yang reports.
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President-elect Trump whittled down his options for key administration positions today.
John Yang has our report.
Traffic in the Trump Tower lobby was heavy today, as the Trump Cabinet takes shape. Representative Tom Price was picked as health and human services secretary tasked with fulfilling a key campaign promise, repeal and replace Obamacare. The six-term Georgia congressman is an orthopedic surgeon.
Chairman of the House Budget Committee, he’s one of Obamacare’s most outspoken critics, introducing a detailed plan to replace it in every Congress since 2009.
Senator Chuck Schumer, the incoming Democratic leader, signaled a tough confirmation fight.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER (D-N.Y.):
He is going to get a lot of very strong and very thorough questions about the kinds of things that he has proposed. And if he sticks with them, I think there is a chance that his nomination will fail.
Health policy expert Seema Verma will be in charge of Medicare and Medicaid. She runs a consulting firm called SVC. She worked closely with Vice President-elect Pence was when he Indiana governor designing their Medicaid expansion, which requires participants to make monthly payments to get the most coverage. It has become a model for other Republican governors.
Still a big question:
Who will Mr. Trump pick for secretary of state? Mitt Romney now targeted by Trump loyalists is to have dinner with President-elect Trump this evening, their second meeting.
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, another contender, met with him today.
SEN. BOB CORKER (R-Tenn.):
The secretary of state’s role is so important to a president. He needs to choose someone who he’s very comfortable with, that he knows there’s going to be no daylight between him and them. The world needs to know that the secretary of state is someone who speaks fully for the president.
President-elect Trump also picked Elaine Chao for transportation secretary. Chao is an experienced administrator, restoring public trust to the United Way after a financial scandal, and serving as labor secretary under President George W. Bush, the first Asian American woman Cabinet member. She’s also married to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Mr. Trump hits the road again for a campaign-style rally in Cincinnati on Thursday, a way for him to meet face-to-face with voters who propelled him to victory.
For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m John Yang.