The director of Walmart's philanthropic
foundation was Monday tapped by Barack Obama to lead the White House
budget office, as the US president worked to fill his cabinet in his
Obama also announced his picks to serve as energy secretary and director of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Sylvia Matthews Burwell would serve as director of the Office of Management and Budget, which is tasked with presenting the president's annual budget. The position is especially crucial as Obama faces a series of showdowns with Congress over austerity measures and seeks to push through his agenda.
"As the granddaughter of Greek immigrants, she also understands that our goal when we put together a budget is not just to make the numbers add up," Obama said in announcing the nominations at the White House.
"Our goal is also to reignite the true engine of economic growth in this country, and that is a strong and growing middle class, to offer ladders of opportunity for anybody willing to climb them."
Burwell had served as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget during the Bill Clinton administration in the 1990s, working as part of the team that crafted three budget surpluses. That team also included Jack Lew, who was confirmed as Obama's new treasury secretary last week.
Prior to taking over as president of the Walmart Foundation, Burwell oversaw the global development efforts at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Obama also nominated Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist Ernest Moniz to replace Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Gina McCarthy to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, which drafts many of the US' environmental regulations. She would replace Lisa Jackson.
The nominees have to be confirmed by the Senate before they can office.
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