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Obama's new budget director straight from Wal-Mart

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
March 4th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to a senior administration official, U.S. President Barack Obama has nominated Wal-Mart's Sylvia Matthews Burwell as his next budget director. If she is confirmed by the Senate, Burwell would take the helm at the Office of Management and Budget during a period of heated budget battles between the White House and congressional Republicans.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Burwell will also bring more diversity to Obama's second-term Cabinet in reaction to criticism that many top jobs were going to white men.

The 47-year-old Burwell is a longtime Washington veteran. She served as OMB's deputy director in the Clinton administration and was chief of staff to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Burwell currently runs the Wal-Mart Foundation, the retail giant's philanthropic wing. Burwell also previously served as the president of the Gates Foundation's Global Development Program.

"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," a White House official told CBS News.

Burwell would replace acting OMB director Jeffrey Zients, a well-liked figure in the Obama administration who has been discussed as a contender for other top jobs.

Her nomination signals that the White House is trying to get back to normal business after the president and Congress failed to avert $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that took effect last week.

While the president has warned of dire consequences for the economy as a result of the cuts, the White House does not want the standoff with Congress to keep the president from focusing on other priorities. The president must still finish his Cabinet and pursue stricter gun laws in addition to overhauling the nation's immigration system.

Obama made quick work of filling key national security openings in his administration, but has been slower to makes appointments for other Cabinet openings, including the OMB post. Vacancies also remain at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Commerce and Energy Departments, and the U.S. trade representative.

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