Apr 24 2013
On Wednesday, April, 24th, 2013, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray delivered a speech on the Senate floor in support of OMB Director Nominee Sylvia Burwell before the Senate voted unanimously, 96-0 to confirm Burwell to the position of Director, Office of Management and Budget.
Previously, Burwell passed through the Senate Budget Committee on April 17th on a voice vote with strong bipartisan support. At the Budget Committee hearing considering her nomination, Burwell testified on the need for a balanced and pro-growth approach to tackling our fiscal challenges and about her past experiences in the public and private sectors.
“Thank you, M. President.
“I rise today to speak in support of Sylvia Mathews Burwell, whose nomination to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget was approved last week with strong bipartisan support by the Senate Budget Committee.
“As we all know, our country faces serious fiscal and economic challenges that we need to work together to address. The American people are looking to us to end the constant artificial crises and political brinksmanship that are threatening our fragile economic recovery. They want us to come together around fair solutions that work for the middle class, help the economy grow, and tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly.
“It’s time that we stop governing from crisis to crisis, and return stability and regular order to our budget process.
“That’s why I’m so pleased that we have such an exceptional and qualified nominee to lead OMB in Sylvia Burwell. I know she is the right person to come in to this leadership role at this important time for our country.
“M. President, Sylvia is no stranger to OMB or to tackling important fiscal issues. In the 1990s, she was a critical part of President Clinton’s economic team, serving as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, and Chief of Staff to the Secretary of the Treasury.
“In those roles, she worked closely with Jack Lew, Erskine Bowles, Robert Rubin, and the rest of President Clinton’s economic team to help produce three out of the four budget surpluses in a row.
“During Sylvia’s tenure, our government took a fair, credible and sustainable approach to our federal budget. This gave businesses the confidence to hire new workers and invest in their growth. Her leadership and hard work in the ‘90s helped to create broad-based economic growth that worked for the middle class and turned our debt and deficit problems around.
“M. President, Sylvia’s first-hand experience creating a balanced and responsible approach to deficit reduction makes her uniquely qualified to lead OMB at this important time for our economy.
“Since the ‘90s, Sylvia has dedicated her life to helping people all over the world. As the President of the Global Development Program and the Chief Operating Officer at the Gates Foundation, Sylvia worked to improve the lives of millions across the globe. Under her leadership, the foundation invested in important programs to help combat poverty, produce clean water, improve literacy, and provide emergency relief to those who needed it most.
“Most recently, as President of the Wal-Mart Foundation, she led the foundation’s charitable giving and focused on critical issues such as hunger relief and women’s economic empowerment.
“M. President, not only do Sylvia’s achievements in the foundation and philanthropy worlds demonstrate her vast experience managing large global budgets, but they also speak volumes of her values and demonstrate her deep, life-long commitment to serving others.
“Sylvia grew up understanding the values of hard work and public service. Her parents have both been community leaders in West Virginia for over a half century. Her father is a longtime optometrist, and her mother, the Honorable Cleo Mathews, served as the mayor of her hometown of Hinton, and later served on the West Virginia State Board of Education for a decade.
“As my colleague Senator Manchin said when he introduced her in the Budget Committee, ‘It’s easy to see that public service is a part of Sylvia’s DNA.’
“M. President, as the Director of OMB, Sylvia will help set our nation’s priorities and make tough decisions about our federal spending.
“That’s why I’m glad that Sylvia knows that budgets are about more than abstract numbers and partisan back-and-forth. As a second-generation Greek American, Sylvia understands the importance of the promise of American opportunity. She knows that budgets are a reflection of our values and our priorities and that they are about the families across our country whose lives and futures are impacted by the decisions we make.
“M. President, not only is Sylvia an expert on domestic economic policy and a dedicated public servant, but she also has a demonstrated track record of working across the aisle to get things done. During her time in Washington in the ’90s, she reached across the aisle and negotiated the balanced and fair budgets with Republicans in Congress. She knows that working to find common ground is the key to solving our fiscal challenges, a point made clear by her during her confirmation hearing in front of the Senate Budget Committee earlier this month.
“And so I am pleased that her nomination passed through committee on a voice vote with strong bipartisan approval. Republicans, including my colleague Senator Sessions, have praised Sylvia as someone who is ‘by all accounts well liked and an able leader with a commitment to public service.’
“I know that Sylvia possesses the kind of experience, integrity and expertise necessary to successfully lead in this crucial position for our country.
“I strongly support the nomination of Sylvia Burwell and look forward to joining my colleagues in passing her nomination through the Senate with strong bipartisan support.
“M. President, I yield the floor.”
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