Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell might have been tapped as the next Health and Human Services Director because President Obama sees her as a political ally who will do what the Democratic Party wants, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions cautioned Friday.
“I am concerned that Director Burwell may have been chosen because the President believed her to be another political loyalist who would toe the party line,” Sessions, the most senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee said in reaction to the nomination.
“Ms. Burwell has a comparatively thin resume for the demands now placed on this position — she has never run anything on the scale of HHS — and, during her short stint as budget director, she did more to obscure the nation’s poor financial state than to illuminate it,” he added. “The budget document she submitted, and her testimony about it, will have to be closely re-examined.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned Thursday. The White House quickly named the current Office of Management and Budget Director Sylvia Burwell as Sebelius’ replacement.
“Sylvia was a rock, a steady hand on the wheel who helped navigate the country through a very challenging time,” Obama said in his Rose Garden announcement Friday.
Sessions’ office blasted out a seemingly frustrating exchange the Alabamian had with Burwell over the president’s budget earlier this year — in which Burwell refused to answer straight forward questions about spending increases in Obama’s budget.
“Tasked with writing a financial plan for America, she delivered a document that violated in-law spending caps while trying to suggest it did not,” Sessions said. “The plan added more than $8 trillion to the debt and brought our interest payments, according to her own numbers, past $800 billion annually — yet was presented as providing financial stability. America does not need more political voices, but more highly-capable, independent, and honest voices who will act faithfully on the public’s behalf. That is the test I will apply to Director Burwell.”
Burwell’s nomination must be approved by the Senate, and while Sessions already has had his frustrations with her handling of the budget he said the “nomination must and will be considered fairly, and with an open mind.”