Trump's pick for the top healthcare official defends past votes supporting 'Confederate History Heritage Month'



President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Health and Human Services faced questions about resolutions he supported earlier in his career lauding the Confederate States of America.

Tom Price, a US representative from Georgia and former Georgia state senator, was asked by Sen. Tim Kaine about his support for a number of resolutions in the Georgia Senate supporting celebrations of the Confederacy.

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"When you were a member of the Georgia legislature, you fought pretty hard to keep the Confederate battle flag as part of the Georgia state flag and you sponsored resolutions to make April 'Confederate History Heritage Month' in Georgia," noted Kaine. "And, quote, 'urging schools to commemorate the time of Southern independence'."

Kaine also noted that the resolution sponsored by Price "mentions nothing about slavery" and asked why Price supported the resolution and what was "laudatory" about the time of Southern Independence.

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Confederate flags currently around US
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Confederate flags currently around US
WASHINGTON, DC- JUNE 21: Confederate flag covers a window of a store in a small town in Georgia. The Confederate flag (aka the Rebel Flag) can be seen in plain view in almost any part of the United States although sightings are more common in the South. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- JUNE 21: A confederate flag reflected in the window of a gift shop that sells them in Seligman, Arizona. The Confederate flag (aka the Rebel Flag) can be seen in plain view in almost any part of the United States although sightings are more common in the South. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- JUNE 21: The South has more than its share of public reminders that the area is religious and tends to be conservative. Confederate flags in yards and on vehicles are common sights in the area. This truck was seen in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The Confederate flag (aka the Rebel Flag) can be seen in plain view in almost any part of the United States although sightings are more common in the South. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC- JUNE 21: The entrance to the Redneck Yacht Club in Yulee, Florida.The Confederate flag (aka the Rebel Flag) can be seen in plain view in almost any part of the United States although sightings are more common in the South. Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - JUNE, 22: The sun sets on the Confederate flag located at The Confederate Memorial on the grounds of the state capital in Columbia, SC on Monday, June 22, 2015 with the citys Main Street seen in the background. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag near the state Capitol should be moved, reversing an earlier position she had held and adding a powerful voice to the growing chorus of calls for the flags removal. (Photo by Brett Flashnick/For The Washington Post via Getty Images)
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"I think every heritage has things that are good about it, every heritage has things that are harmful about it," replied Price. "And I'm happy to answer the specific question, I think slavery was an abomination."

Price also noted that during his time as majority leader of the Georgia Senate, the state advanced for referendum the first state flag to not incorporate the Confederate battle flag. Though the new Georgia flag is noted as using elements from the first flag of the Confederacy, known as the "stars and bars" flag.

Kaine noted that he had just come from the hearing of South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley as UN ambassador. Kaine contrasted Haley's fight to remove the Confederate battle flag from the ground of the South Carolina state capitol with Price's record in Georgia.

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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions
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Trump's official picks for Cabinet and administration positions

Counselor to the President: Kellyanne Conway

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Veterans Affairs Secretary: David Shulkin

(Photo credit DOMINICK REUTER/AFP/Getty Images)

Transportation secretary: Elaine Chao

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Energy secretary: Rick Perry

(Photo credit KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images)

Secretary of State: Rex Tillerson

 REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Secretary of Defense: Retired Marine General James Mattis

(Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Chief of staff: Reince Priebus

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Chief strategist: Steve Bannon

(EDUARDO MUNOZ ALVAREZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Attorney General: Senator Jeff Sessions

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Director of the CIA: Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Deputy national security adviser: K.T. McFarland

(Photo by Michael Schwartz/Getty Images)

White House counsel: Donald McGahn

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Ambassador to the United Nations: South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley

(Photo by Astrid Riecken For The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Education secretary: Betsy DeVos

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Commerce secretary: Wilbur Ross

(Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Homeland security secretary: General John Kelly

(Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Housing and urban development secretary: Ben Carson

(Photo credit NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)

Administrator of Environmental Protection Agency: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Health and human services secretary: Tom Price

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security: Retired General John Kelly

(REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)

Secretary of agriculture: Sonny Perdue

(BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)
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Kaine used the aspect of Price's record to question the potential HHS director on his opinion about the Office of Minority Health which was created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), better known as Obamacare. Kaine asked how Price's plan to repeal the ACa would impact the office.

Price replied that the continued existence of the Office of Minority Health was a "legislative question" for a replacement bill, later in the hearing he did not confirm or deny that he supported keeping the office in place.'

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