By Erik Wasson - 04/09/13 08:28 PM EDT
Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellUS declares 'public health emergency' in Puerto Rico over Zika Administration shifts funds to boost Zika vaccine work Health chief warns Congress: Zika funds quickly running out MORE, President Obama’s nominee to be his next budget director, faced little resistance from Senate Republicans during the first of her two confirmation hearings Tuesday.
The GOP has been lambasting Obama this week as he delivers a budget on Wednesday that will not balance, two months late. But Republicans on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee signaled that the nominee, a former Clinton administration official and head of the Wal-Mart Foundation, likely faces an easy confirmation.
Sen. John McCainJohn McCainThe Hill's 12:30 Report State officials under pressure to OK ObamaCare premium hikes McCain's primary opponent takes shot at his age MORE (R-Ariz.), who has made wasteful spending a signature issue, praised Burwell as an “incredibly well-qualified nominee.”
“There must be some character flaw that she wants the job,” he quipped. “This is an excellent choice.”
“I believe you will be the next budget director,” added Sen. Rob PortmanRob PortmanThe Trail 2016: On the fringe McConnell: Senate won't take up TPP this year Senate Dems' campaign arm knocks GOP for Trump support MORE (R-Ohio).
Burwell could face tougher grilling at the Senate Budget Committee, where Republicans are led by the fiery Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsSessions: 'I can be supportive' of Trump's immigration plans Hard-liners shrug off Trump’s softer tone on immigration Trump vows to protect jobs, wages for Hispanic voters MORE (R-Ala.), on Wednesday, but as it stands, she appears to have the 60 votes needed to overcome any potential filibuster on the floor.
How long the honeymoon lasts remains to be seen.
Jack LewJack LewObama officials call to boost healthcare funds to Puerto Rico GOP lawmakers call for overhaul of proposed corporate tax rules GOP senator: Obama 'hid' Iran payment from Congress MORE, now the secretary of the treasury, was praised when he became Obama’s budget director based on his history of balancing budgets in the Clinton administration.
By the end of his tenure at the budget office, Lew was on the receiving end of harsh rhetoric by Republicans who built their 2012 campaigns on the idea that Obama is fiscally irresponsible.
Burwell, who was a deputy budget director for Clinton, said she hopes to build a solid dialogue with the GOP based on the quiet meetings she has already had.
“There is no question the road will be difficult … I am confident we can come together on a comprehensive plan,” she said.