WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama today will nominate Walmart’s Sylvia Mathews Burwell as his next budget director, a senior administration official said.
If confirmed by the Senate, Burwell would take the helm at the Office of Management and Budget at a time of heated budget battles between the White House and congressional Republicans. She also would bring more diversity to Obama’s second-term Cabinet following criticism that many top jobs were going to white men.
The president will announce Burwell’s nomination during a White House ceremony this morning, said the official, who requested anonymit.
Burwell is a Washington veteran, having served as OMB’s deputy director in the Clinton administration and chief of staff to former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin. Burwell currently runs the Walmart Foundation, the retail giant’s philanthropic wing, and previously served as president of the Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program.
The official credited Burwell with being a principal architect of a series of budget plans in the 1990s that led to a budget surplus. Burwell’s nomination signals that the White House is trying to get back to business after the president and Congress failed to avert $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that took effect Friday.