U.S. President Barack Obama will nominate Walmart's philanthropic head
Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Monday to become director of the White House
budget office, a White House official said on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Burwell, 47, is a veteran of Bill Clinton's White House and for the past
year has been president of the Walmart Foundation at the corporation's
Bentonville, Arkansas, headquarters. The charity organization in 2011
gave out nearly $1 billion in corporate contributions to projects around
the world such as fighting hunger and empowering women.
Burwell, who is originally from West Virginia, would replace Jeffrey
Zients, who has been serving as acting director at the White House
Office of Management and Budget, known by the acronym OMB.
Obama is set to announce Burwell's nomination at 10:15 a.m. EST/1515 GMT
on Monday, the White House official said, adding that Burwell had a
proven record as a problem solver and consensus builder. The job
requires Senate confirmation.
"Burwell's deep knowledge of budget and economic issues along with her
record of fighting for working Americans make her the perfect choice to
lead the OMB at this important time," the White House official said.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the senior Republican on the Senate
Budget Committee, said he would "fairly and thoughtfully review" Obama's
choice of Burwell. The panel, led by Democratic Senator Patty Murray,
will oversee the nomination.
"The director must lead an effort to make government leaner and more
efficient and must be committed to providing honest and accurate
information on the dangerous financial condition of our country,"
Sessions told Reuters in a statement.
Mike Duke, president and chief executive of Wal-Mart, congratulated
Burwell on her nomination, describing her as "a strong leader who both
masters the details and has a clear vision for making big thing happen."
The move will reunite her with another Clinton White House veteran, Jack
Lew, who was Clinton's OMB director for a time and was recently
confirmed as Obama's treasury secretary.
Burwell will take the office that carries out the administration's
spending policies and prepares an annual budget. That office will
inevitably be caught up in the ongoing budget battle between Democrats
and Republicans as lawmakers seek ways to reduce annual $1 trillion
She brings a certain outsider status to Obama's inner circle and may
offer a fresh perspective from the business world far away from
Burwell would also bring gender diversity to the top echelons of the
Obama White House after the president drew fire from critics for picking
men for many top jobs.
Burwell served as deputy OMB director during part of Clinton's 1990s
presidency. She was also deputy White House chief of staff and served as
chief of staff for Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.
After her work in the Clinton administration, Burwell was president of
the Global Development Program at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
She led the foundation's grantmaking and advocacy efforts aimed at
lifting the world's poorest people out of hunger and extreme poverty./Trend/