The Senate voted 52 To 48 on Wednesday to confirm Rachel Levine as the assistant secretary for health at the Department of Health and Human Services, according to The Hill.
Levine, who previously served as the physician general and secretary of health in Pennsylvania, will be the first openly transgender official to be confirmed to the upper chamber of any administration.
The vote fell mostly along party-lines with GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska supporting the nomination.
Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke highly of the historic nomination saying that, “The arc of history is long but it keeps bending in the direction of justice.”
“As transgender Americans suffer higher rates of abuse, homelessness, and depression than almost every other group, it’s important to have national figures like Dr. Levine who, by virtue of being in the public spotlight, will help break down barriers of ignorance and fear.”
Republicans who stood against Levine’s confirmation pointed to Pennsylvania’s record in fighting COVID-19 saying that the nominee was not experienced enough to be moved up to the national level.
“Along with the testing challenges from last spring, your state failed to adequately protect nursing home residents from the virus, and is making unacceptable mistakes in the vaccine distribution process,” said Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) who is the top Republican on the Senate Health Committee.
Conservatives have remained concerned about a nominee who is still considered to be suffering from a psychological malady known as gender dysphoria.
Not to mention that likely half of the country is conservative enough to stand against someone who is transgender being in office. However, slanted journalism and a silent majority might leave someone from the outside looking in with the impression that Americans have a much more positive view of the malady than they actually do.