Obama budget nominee receives praise from Senate GOP at hearing

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 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.

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“There is no question that you are highly qualified,” ranking member Sen. Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (R-Okla.) said.

Sen. John McCainJohn McCainArmed Services chairman unveils .1B Asia-Pacific security bill Overnight Defense: Trump scolds NATO allies over spending | Flurry of leaks worries allies | Senators rip B Army 'debacle' | Lawmakers demand hearing on Saudi arms deal The case for protecting America's intelligence agency whistleblowers 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 PortmanSens submit bill to 'Hack the DHS' CBO score underlines GOP tensions on ObamaCare repeal Senate panel could pass new Russia sanctions this summer MORE (R-Ohio).

Burwell could face tougher grilling at the Senate Budget Committee, where Republicans are led by the fiery Sen. Jeff SessionsJeff SessionsHispanic Dems demand meeting with Sessions Justice Department to seek Supreme Court review in Trump travel ban case Sessions vows to stop leaks about Manchester attack 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 LewWhite House divide may derail needed China trade reform 3 unconventional ways Trump can tackle the national debt One year later, the Iran nuclear deal is a success by any measure 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.