Senate Confirms Burwell as OMB Director

WASHINGTON— Today, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) released the following statements after the full Senate confirmed the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Senate approved Burwell’s nomination by a vote of 96 to 0.

“Given our nation’s fiscal challenges, particularly as sequestration takes effect, it is up to the Administration and Congress to work together to regain control of our budget and put this country’s fiscal house in order,” said Chairman Carper. “We also need a strong leader who can work with Congress to tackle this enormous challenge. As a former Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Deputy Chief of Staff during the Clinton Administration – a time when our nation had four balanced budgets in a row – and as someone who has run two of our nation’s largest philanthropic foundations, Sylvia Mathews Burwell knows what it takes to get our nation back on a sound fiscal path at this critical point in time. In all of the jobs she has held over the years, Ms. Burwell has shown a great work ethic and intellect. Her wisdom from her years both in and out of government will now be put to use in addressing fiscal challenges that are much more severe than the daunting challenges she helped address in the 1990s.  She also is a warm and gracious person, and someone who can build consensus across party lines at a time when members of both political parties need to set partisan considerations aside for the sake of our nation.  I have no doubt that she will be a valuable member of the Administration as it works with Congress to frame budget negotiations and lay the groundwork for a long-term solution to our complex fiscal challenges. I welcome her to the position and I look forward to working with her on a comprehensive plan to permanently set our country on a sustainable fiscal track.”

“In order to reform the federal government and bureaucracy, we must have a strong leader at the Office of Management and Budget who will be a powerful voice for government efficiency to both the Congress and the Administration.  You can’t reform the federal government until you reform OMB, and I am confident Sylvia Mathews Burwell has the qualification to do so,” said Dr. Coburn.  “Burwell will be tasked as the county’s chief budget official and performance officer responsible for overseeing the fiscal and management functions of the federal government, including properly managing sequestration, during a time of unsustainable spending and borrowing.  Similarly, with our national debt soon to surpass $17 trillion while the federal government continues to spend billions every year on parochial waste and duplicative programs, it is imperative we have a business-minded leader in charge of the OMB that recognizes the financial inefficiencies caused by overlapping government initiatives.  Mrs. Burwell is qualified and capable, and I am hopeful she will use her position to advocate these non-partisan commonsense reforms.  I look forward to working with her to reduce the deficit by uncovering and eliminating unnecessary duplication while increasing government transparency and efficiency.”       

Prior to becoming the Director of OMB, Burwell served as the President of the Wal-Mart Foundation. She began her service in government in 1993 when she joined the Clinton Administration as staff director of the National Economic Council. From 1995-1997 she served as Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin’s chief of staff before returning to the White House as deputy chief of staff under Erskine Bowles in 1997. She was later confirmed to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget in 1998, working under Jack Lew, who was then OMB Director.

After leaving the Clinton Administration, Burwell worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, serving in a variety of roles, including president of the Global Development Program. She has also worked for McKinsey & Company, a management consulting firm, where she focused on consulting for financial institutions. She received a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University and a master’s degree from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Burwell is a native of Hinton, West Virginia.