Rounding out his second-term Cabinet, President Obama today announced his picks to run the budget office, Environmental Protection Agency and Energy Department.
The president named Gina McCarthy, who heads the EPA’s air and radiation office, as the agency’s next administrator, MIT physicist Ernest Moniz as Energy Secretary and Walmart’s Sylvia Matthews Burwell as his next budget director.
The president described Moniz, known for his wavy gray hair, as a “brilliant scientist” and McCarthy as a “straight shooter.”
“They’re going to be making sure that we’re investing in American energy, that we’re doing everything that we can to combat the threat of climate change, that we’re going to creating jobs and economic opportunity in the first place,” he said.
McCarthy has led the EPA’s air regulation efforts for the last four years, but she also bring a bipartisan background to the job. She previously worked as an environmental regulator under former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney.
Moniz, who has helped craft energy policy under Presidents Clinton and Obama, is a big supporter of the current administration’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. He supports nuclear power, renewable energy, and shale gas produced by hydraulic fracturing.
Burwell previously served with new Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as deputy director of OMB and later held a top position at the Gates Foundation and led the Walmart Foundation.
As Obama put it, “Sylvia knows her way around a budget.”
She understands “our goal when we put together a budget is not just to make the numbers add up,” he said. “Our goal is also to reignite the true engine of economic growth in this country, and that is a strong and growing middle class, to offer ladders of opportunity for anybody willing to climb them.”
If confirmed, McCarthy, Moniz and Burwell would bring more diversity to Obama’s second-term Cabinet, following criticism that top positions have all been filled by white men.