Following the resignation of Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, The White House will be nominating Sylvia Matthews Burwell to take her place.
“The president wants to make sure we have a proven manager and relentless implementer in the job over there, which is why he is going to nominate Sylvia,” White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough told The New York Times.
Burwell, 48, who went through one Senate confirmation process when she was picked to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, now faces another.
So who is she?
Well, for starters: She’s only been in her current role as OMB Director for under a year, having been confirmed on Apr. 24, 2013. But she’s had plenty of experience both in and out of government.
Before joining the Obama administration, she was the president of the Walmart Foundation for two years, and worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for 10 years.
She’s also a Clinton administration alumnus, having served in a number of positions — handling budget matters, treasury, and others. It was Burwell who was instrumental in designing a number of the federal budgets that turned from deficits to surpluses, according to The Wall Street Journal.
She has an impressive academic record, with an A.B. from Harvard and B.A. from Oxford University where she was a Rhodes Scholar.
Still, Burwell is relatively unknown outside the White House, as one of the few actions that got her widely noticed was her ordering the first government shutdown in 17 years, NBC reports.
But the White House is confident in its pick, who will no doubt face a contentious confirmation process as Republicans will be sure to pepper her with questions — as they did Sebelius — over the shortcomings and technical glitches of the Obamacare rollout.
Battling with Republicans isn’t new for her either. She often butted heads with Republicans for delaying spending bills in 2000, telling them “we will sign short-term [continuing resolutions] as long as it takes to get the job done,” The Wall Street Journal reported.
Here’s what The White House said of her:
“The President sought a nominee with strong credentials in management, implementation, and performance for this important role. Sylvia Mathews Burwell brings just those skills. A proven manager, Burwell is someone the President has relied on to navigate through the government shutdown in October, to jump-start his management agenda and bring our government into the 21st century, and help reach the two-year budget agreement the President signed into law. Having also worked in leadership positions at the Gates Foundation, the WalMart Foundation and Met Life, Burwell’s combination of public and private sector experiences makes her the right person to steer HHS in the coming years. Sylvia was confirmed unanimously by the Senate to lead the OMB less than a year ago, and has a record of building bipartisan consensus to get things done.”
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