Senate OKs housing chief for new job running Obama's budget office, completing Cabinet shuffle

The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Barack Obama's housing chief as the new director of the White House budget office, completing a second-term Cabinet shuffle.

In his new job, Shaun Donovan will be responsible for preparing Obama's annual budget request and reviewing proposed agency regulations before they become final.

"His leadership will be critical, because while we have made progress on our budget challenges, there is still work to be done," said the head of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash.

Donovan's nomination drew opposition from the committee's top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who said Donovan was unqualified and hadn't proved he understood fiscal and budgetary issues.

"It would seem that Mr. Donovan was chosen because he has good people skills and is politically loyal and would defend the administration's goals and priorities," Sessions said.

By a 75-22 vote, the Senate approved shifting Donovan from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to the Office of Management and Budget.

"Today's bipartisan vote ensures the dedicated professionals at OMB will have a proven, effective leader to build on the progress we've made," Obama said.

The Cabinet shuffle began when Kathleen Sebelius stepped down as health secretary and was replaced by the president's budget chief, Sylvia Mathews Burwell.

The incoming housing secretary is San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who was confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday.

Donovan worked at HUD during the Clinton administration and later was commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.