Monday March 4, 2013
Obama to nominate new budget chief
WASHINGTON: President Barack Obama will nominate Walmart Foundation head Sylvia Mathews Burwell on Monday to be his next budget chief, amid a sharp row with Republican lawmakers, officials said.
The announcement comes after Obama signed severe, across-the-board cuts of $85 billion in federal spending this year after failing to clinch an agreement with Republicans to solve the nation's deficit and debt problem.
A White House official said Obama would announce Burwell as his choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget at 10:15 am (1515 GMT) in the East Room.
A former OMB deputy director under president Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001, Burwell is an "expert on budgetary and domestic policy and brings a keen understanding of the budget process to this role," the official added.
Burwell also served as deputy chief of staff to the president and chief of staff to the secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton administration.
After her first stint in the federal administration, Burwell spent a decade working for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and later joined the Walmart Foundation, the charitable giving arm of US retail giant Walmart.
If confirmed by the Senate, Burwell would replace Jeffrey Zients, OMB acting director since the departure of Jack Lew in 2012 to serve as White House chief of staff. Lew was confirmed Wednesday as the new Treasury secretary.
"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.
"Her record proves that she knows how to cut wasteful spending in a smart way while also making the investments needed to grow the economy, protect the middle class and promote prosperity for generations to come."
The official said Obama was "grateful" that Burwell had agreed to return to public service again in the senior post. - AFP