The Senate confirmed Dr. Rachel Levine as assistant health secretary, making her the first openly transgender federal official approved by the Senate.
The vote was 52 to 48, largely along party lines, with GOP Sens. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine joining all 50 Democrats.
The pediatrician and former Pennsylvania secretary of health helped steer the state’s response to Covid-19. She has also worked to increase awareness of equity issues that the LGBT community faces and is a professor of pediatrics and psychiatry at Penn State College of Medicine.
Sen. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), chairwoman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, highlighted the historic nature of the confirmation.
“I’m proud to vote for Dr. Levine, and incredibly proud of the progress this confirmation will represent for our country and for transgender people,” she said.