| WASHINGTON, April 17
WASHINGTON, April 17 President Barack Obama's
choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget appeared
Wednesday to be on a clear path toward Senate confirmation.
Sylvia Mathews Burwell, a former official in the
administration of President Bill Clinton and until recently head
of Wal-Mart Stores' philanthropic wing, sailed through committee
votes without Republican opposition on Wednesday, virtually
assuring her confirmation as the next head of OMB.
The president nominated Burwell in early March, and she sat
for her Senate confirmation hearings last week.
Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington state,
chairwoman of the budget committee, released a statement shortly
after the committee vote on Wednesday applauding the "strong
bipartisan support" for Burwell's confirmation.
"I am confident she is going to do a great job at OMB
working to boost the economy and tackle our deficit and debt in
a balanced way," Murray said. "And I am looking forward to the
full Senate approving her nomination as quickly as possible."
If Burwell proceeds through confirmation of the full Senate,
she will take over the office that crafts the administration's
spending policies and acts as a key negotiator in budget
disputes with Republicans in the U.S. Congress.
While Obama has faced a number of bruising confirmation
battles over his executive branch selections, Burwell cleared
both the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Committee and the Senate Budget Committee by a voice vote,
winning praise from some Republicans along the way.
Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, the highest-ranking
Republican member of the budget committee and a longtime critic
of OMB and Obama's budget policies, offered kind words for the
"She's a very delightful person, able," Sessions said.
"Perhaps at a time of fiscal crisis, it's the toughest job in
Burwell's nomination will now face a full Senate vote, which
appears to be a foregone conclusion.
Burwell would replace acting director Jeffrey Zients, who
stepped in after Obama tapped former OMB Director Jack Lew to be
his White House chief of staff.
As head of the Wal-Mart Foundation, Burwell oversaw the
distribution of nearly $1 billion in corporate contributions to
projects around the world such as fighting hunger and empowering
women in 2011.
Burwell was deputy OMB director under President Bill Clinton
in the 1990s.