Obama nominee faces GOP anger over White House budget delays

Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellPrice was a disaster for HHS — Time for an administrator, not an ideologue Overnight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 MORE, President Obama’s nominee to be budget director, faces a critical week.

She will be meeting with key Republicans to tamp down any opposition they may have.

ADVERTISEMENT
On Tuesday, Burwell will meet with Sen. Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyRepublicans jockey for position on immigration House clears bill to combat crimes against elderly Grassley: DACA deal wouldn't need border wall funding MORE (R-Iowa), who led the opposition to Jack LewJacob (Jack) Joseph LewBipartisan bill would force Treasury to put Tubman on bill Top conservative rails against ‘clean’ debt limit increase Trump mocked Obama for three chiefs of staff in three years MORE becoming Treasury secretary earlier this year. Grassley is withholding judgment on Burwell until she has a hearing, an aide said.

Also next week, Burwell will meet with Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonGun proposal picks up GOP support GOP lawmaker to unveil bill banning gun bump stocks Senate Homeland Security chairman backs bump-stock ban after Las Vegas shootings MORE (R-Wis.), a Tea Party-backed fiscal hawk who nonetheless had a cordial dinner with Obama and other GOP senators this month.

Democrats say a Budget committee nomination hearing is being looked at for late April, after Easter recess and the administration’s budget is presented.

Burwell will also have a hearing in the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee given the Office of Management and Budget’s multifaceted role of preparing a budget, producing regulations and running the bureaucracy.

Johnson sits on both the Budget and Homeland Security committees.

Senate Republicans have lambasted Obama for repeatedly failing to submit a budget on time and sources said that could spell trouble for Burwell.

The 2014 Obama budget is now supposed to come out on April 8, according to the White House. It was due Feb. 4.

This year, Republicans showed with the nomination of Defense Secretary Chuck HagelCharles (Chuck) Timothy HagelThe Hill's 12:30 Report The Hill's 12:30 Report Billionaires stopping climate change action have a hold on Trump, GOP MORE that they are willing to mount usually rare filibusters of a nominee. Hagel's nomination failed to get 60 votes when it came up in early February but ultimately went through.

A source said that a hold could be placed on Burwell in protest over budget delays. Other GOP sources said that there does not yet appear to be widespread opposition to Burwell, who served as deputy chief of staff for President Clinton.

Missteps in the upcoming meetings could change that.

The feisty—some Democrats say nasty—back and forth in the Senate Budget Committee Thursday between Ranking Member Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsIntel leaders: Collusion still open part of investigation Republicans jockey for position on immigration Biden to Alabama: No more extremist senators MORE (R-Ala.) and Democratic staff may not bode well.

Sessions grilled staffers for Chairman Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayChildren’s health-care bill faces new obstacles Overnight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Schumer calls for attaching ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance MORE (D-Wash.) and accused them of misrepresenting her new budget. Staffers claim it reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion but using a different baseline preferred by Sessions this falls to $300 billion.

The exchange was reminiscent of when Sessions grilled Obama’s nominee to be deputy budget director, Heather Higginbottom, then placed a secret hold on her nomination.

Higginbottom was ultimately confirmed in October 2011 after a six-month delay. She left OMB with little fanfare this year to join Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change MORE as a counselor.

Another problem for Burwell could come from liberal Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Clip shows Larry David and Bernie Sanders reacting after discovering they're related For now, Trump dossier creates more questions than answers MORE (I-Vt.). Burwell most recently served as the head of the charitable Wal-mart Foundation.

Sanders is a vocal critic of what he sees as Wal-mart’s low wages and anti-union policies.

A source said that Sanders is still mulling over the nomination. A “no” vote by Sanders could stall the nomination in the Budget Committee if Republicans are all opposed to Burwell.

Last week Burwell met with Homeland Security Chairman Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperOvernight Energy: Dems take on Trump's chemical safety pick Dems lambaste Trump’s ‘outrageous’ EPA chemical safety pick Infrastructure spending bill sliding down agenda MORE (D-Del.).

“I look forward to overseeing her confirmation hearing in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and to working with my colleagues to see to her swift and fair confirmation,” he said after the meeting.