Former Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine was re-elected as Assistant Secretary of Health on Wednesday. This makes her the first openly transgender federal official to be confirmed by the US Senate.
Wednesday’s 52-48 vote was partially concurrent with only two exceptions, Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski from Alaska and Susan Collins from Maine.
Pa. Republican Senator Pat Toomey did not vote in favor of Dr. Levine. Toomey says, “Levine didn’t get a promotion to run HHS.”
“In Pennsylvania, the pandemic has hit senior citizens in nursing homes disproportionately compared to other states,” Toomey said.
“This was partly due to poor decision-making and scrutiny by Dr. Levine and the Wolf government. Furthermore, the extended Commonwealth economic blockade advocated by Dr. Levine has been excessive, arbitrary, and has resulted in a slower recovery.
“While I greatly appreciate Dr. Levine’s service and responsiveness in my office over the past year, she has not been promoted to head of the US Department of Health and I cannot support her endorsement.”
Pennsylvania Democratic Senator Bob Casey continues to support Levine and praises the affirmation on Twitter:
Dr. Levine is the kind of troubled leader our nation needs at @HHSGov during this persistently troubled time. Throughout her long career in medicine and public service, she has demonstrated her deep knowledge of healthcare and public health, as well as her skills as a manager.
– Senator Bob Casey (@SenBobCasey) March 24, 2021
The The Associated Press reported on Tuesday Levine was one of the sources of social media attacks, particularly in a private Facebook group called the Pittsburgh Area Police Breakroom, which includes current and retired police officers.
The AP report states that a retired official wrote, “Somebody has to shoot this thing !!”
In January, a Pennsylvania State Republican legislature, Jeff Pyle, mocked Levine’s appearance on Facebook and later apologized.
Rep. Jeff Pyle, a Republican representing Armstrong and Indiana counties, said on Facebook that he “had no idea” that the post mocking Levine would be “as badly received as it was,” but “tens of thousands hotter Emails assured me it was. “
She will be sworn in later this week.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice’s free daily email and message notifications.