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Obama names budget, environment, energy cabinet picks

President Barack Obama nominated three more members of his second-term cabinet Monday, formally unveiling his choices to head the Office of Management and Budget, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Energy Department.

Obama tapped Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the head of WalMart’s philanthrophic arm, for the top budget job.

President Barack Obama announces the nomination of Sylvia Mathews Burwell as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Obama also introduced Gina McCarthy as nominee to head the EPA and Ernest Moniz to take over the Energy Department.

The choice of Burwell, 47, may help to assuage critics who say that Obama’s cabinet lacks enough women and candidates with private sector experience. She's also no stranger to Washington; before her post at the WalMart Foundation, Burwell served as deputy budget director and deputy White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton.

Noting the effects of the just-implemented sequestration budget reductions, Obama said that Burwell will be charged with working “to blunt the impact of these cuts on businesses and middle class families.”

Obama also nominated Gina McCarthy – currently the head of the EPA's air and radiation office -- to lead the agency at the center of debates over global climate change and the environment. If confirmed, McCarthy would replace outgoing administrator  Lisa Jackson, who became a lightning rod for conservative opponents of federal regulation intended to control the effects of climate change.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Ernest Moniz is the president’s choice to serve at the helm of the Energy Department in the place of outgoing head Steven Chu.

Moniz, recognizable for his wavy professorial hairdo as well as his academic credentials, also served in the Clinton administration as an undersecretary of energy and as associate director of the White House office of science and technology policy.

Calling his choice a “brilliant scientist,” Obama said Moniz “knows that we can produce more energy and grow our economy while still taking care of our air, our water, and our climate.”

Later today, Obama will hold his first cabinet meeting of his new term. 

 

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