Sylvia Mathews Burwell

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Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Sylvia Mathews Burwell at April 2013 Senate nomination hearing.jpg
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 24, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJeffrey Zients (Acting)
White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
In office
January 1997 – May 1998
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byHarold Ickes
Succeeded byMaria Echaveste
Personal details
BornJune 1965 (age 48)
Hinton, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Stephen Burwell
Alma materHarvard University
Worcester College, Oxford
 
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Sylvia Mathews Burwell
Sylvia Mathews Burwell at April 2013 Senate nomination hearing.jpg
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 24, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJeffrey Zients (Acting)
White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy
In office
January 1997 – May 1998
PresidentBill Clinton
Preceded byHarold Ickes
Succeeded byMaria Echaveste
Personal details
BornJune 1965 (age 48)
Hinton, West Virginia, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Stephen Burwell
Alma materHarvard University
Worcester College, Oxford

Sylvia Mary Mathews Burwell (born June 1965) is the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget. She has been in that position since April 2013. Prior to that, she was president of the Walmart Foundation, having assumed that post in January 2012,[1] and was previously the president of the Global Development Program of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. While at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, her program focused on combating world poverty through agricultural development, financial services for the poor, and global libraries. She was Chief Operating Officer and Executive Director of the Foundation prior to its reorganization in 2006. She came to the Foundation in 2001, after serving as Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget in Washington, D.C., since 1998.

Biography[edit]

Born and raised in Hinton, West Virginia, into a Greek-American family[2] Mathews is the daughter of Dr. William Mathews, a retired optometrist and former Hinton Mayor Cleo Mathews. She began her career while still in college, serving as an intern for West Virginia Congressman Nick Rahall, as governor's aide to Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis, and working on the Dukakis/Bentsen and the Clinton/Gore campaigns. Ms. Mathews served as Deputy Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 1998, and was Chief of Staff to Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin from 1995 to 1997. She also served as Staff Director for the National Economic Council from 1993 to 1995. Prior to that, she was an Associate at McKinsey & Company from 1990 through 1992. She is a Member of the University of Washington Medicine Board, the Pacific Council on International Policy, the Aspen Strategy Group and the Nike Foundation Advisory Group.

Ms. Mathews received a bachelor’s degree in government, cum laude, from Harvard University in 1987 and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. Ms. Mathews has been a Director of MetLife and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company since January 2004. She often returns to West Virginia and to West Virginia University to speak, and recently a scholarship was established in her honor to support aspiring WVU political science students. In 2005 Mathews was chosen by the Wall Street Journal as one of The 50 Women to Watch -- 2005 world wide.[2] She was mentioned as a possible candidate to replace Patty Stonesifer, who had announced plans to step down as CEO of the Gates Foundation in 2008.[3] However, on May 12, 2008, the foundation announced that Microsoft executive Jeff Raikes would assume the CEO position. Reportedly, Mathews and the foundation's other presidents approved of Raikes' appointment.[4] Mathews was named Obama-Biden Transition Agency Review Lead for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.[5]

She married attorney Stephen Burwell in February 2007.[6] They have two children.[7]

On March 3, 2013, the White House announced that President Obama will nominate Burwell to head the White House Office of Management and Budget.[8] On April 24, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed Burwell to be the head of the OMB in a 96-0 vote.[9] On July 30, 2013, Ms. Burwell appeared on The Diane Rehm Show, broadcast by NPR, National Public Radio. Ms. Rehm asked if President Obama's Minimum Wage Proposal was a "living wage." Ms. Burwell responded by citing talking points promoting an upcoming Presidential speech, but she did not answer the question asked. A caller later cited the non-answer, and requested an answer, to the question: was the proposed minimum wage a "living wage"? Ms. Rehm, then added her own request for an answer. Ms. Burwell again did not answer the question, but did note that the President's proposal was made with a view towards what was politically realistic. Ms. Rehm then rather more vehemently pointed out that this was an issue of critical importance for many Americans. Ms. Burwell took the cue, and added that the President took the issue very seriously.

In October 2013 Burwell prepared for a shutdown. "Agencies should now execute plans for an orderly shutdown due to the absence of appropriations," Burwell wrote in a memo to heads of executive departments and agencies.[10] She was ordering the action because there was no "clear indication" that Congress would strike an agreement on a continuing resolution before the end of the day Tuesday. "We urge Congress to act quickly to pass a Continuing Resolution to provide a short-term bridge that ensures sufficient time to pass a budget for the remainder of the fiscal year, and to restore the operation of critical public services and programs that will be impacted by a lapse in appropriations," Burwell said in a statement.[11]

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Political offices
Preceded by
Jeffrey Zients
Acting
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
2013–present
Incumbent