Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellOvernight Healthcare: GOP chairman to introduce pre-existing condition bill ObamaCare enrollment hits 11.5M for 2017 Obama, Dems eyeing strategy to defend ObamaCare 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.
Also next week, Burwell will meet with Sen. Ron JohnsonRon JohnsonHopes rise for law to expand access to experimental drugs Dems ask for hearings on Russian attempts to attack election infrastructure GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget 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 HagelChuck HagelWho will temper Trump after he takes office? Hagel: I’m ‘encouraged’ by Trump’s Russia outreach Want to 'drain the swamp'? Implement regular order 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 SessionsJeff SessionsObama-era cash for cronies under House fire McConnell: 'Winners make policy, losers go home' DeVos should ‘persist’ despite liberal opposition MORE (R-Ala.) and Democratic staff may not bode well.
Sessions grilled staffers for Chairman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order 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 KerryFormer Obama officials say Netanyahu turned down secret peace deal: AP How dealmaker Trump can resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict John Kerry to teach at Yale on global issues MORE as a counselor.
Another problem for Burwell could come from liberal Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersRep. John Lewis: Ellison is 'right person' to lead DNC DeVos should ‘persist’ despite liberal opposition Drug importation from other countries will save dollars and lives 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 CarperTom CarperSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Warren: Trump's EPA pick the 'attorney general for Exxon' Overnight Energy: EPA pick Pruitt set for Friday vote | Dems plan all-night protest | Trump nixes Obama coal mining rule 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.