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Senate confirms Wal-Mart’s Burwell as White House budget director


Washington, D.C. -- The U.S. Senate on Wednesday voted 96-0 to confirm former Wal-Mart Foundation president Sylvia Mathews Burwell as White House budget director.

Burwell, the first fully confirmed budget director since January 2012, when Jack Lew, now Treasury Secretary, left the position to become Obama's chief of staff, received a vote of confidence from her former employer.

"Sylvia understands business and the role that it, along with government and civil society, must play to build a strong economy that provides opportunity and strengthens communities across the country,” said Mike Duke, Wal-Mart Stores president and CEO, in a statement. “Perhaps most importantly, she knows how to get things done and has proven time and again that she can deliver strong results, even in especially challenging environments.”

The Office of Management and Budget isn’t new to Burwell. Burwell served as deputy budget director and a top White House aide during the Clinton administration. After former president Clinton left office, she worked for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation before joining the philanthropic arm of Wal-Mart Stores in 2012.

"Sylvia shares my commitment to growing our economy, shrinking our deficits in a balanced way, and reigniting a rising, thriving middle class," Obama said in a statement. "Her experience will be especially important as we continue our efforts to replace the indiscriminate budget cuts that are already starting to cost jobs, hurt families and inconvenience Americans."

She will take the place of Jeffrey Zients, who has served as acting director since Lew’s departure.

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