Obama leans toward nonprofit veteran for budget office

Sylvia Mathews Burwell is U.S. President Barack Obama's pick as the new budget director. Photo by: Walmart

U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to nominate today a new budget director, just as the White House braces for another budget deadline.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who heads Wal-mart’s charity arm, is said to be Obama’s pick for the position, according to administration officials who have been floating the news ahead of a formal announcement expected Monday. If confirmed, Burwell will replace acting budget director Jeffrey Zients, who has been leading the Office of Management and Budget since Jack Lew left in January last year.

Burwell’s rumored nomination comes on the heels of a mandatory, across-the-board cuts in the U.S. government budget which took effect March 1. The impact of the cuts is not expected to be felt immediately.

The position won’t be an unfamiliar territory for Burwell, who served as deputy director at OMB during the Clinton administration from 1998 to 2001. Once she assumed the post, she will be working closely with Lew, who was at that time her director and is now the Treasury secretary.

Burwell has had lengthy experience in international development. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has served as executive vice president, chief operating officer and president of the Global Development Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to name a few.

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About the author

  • Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.