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Julian Castro, Shaun Donovan Part of Cabinet Changes

Julian Castro, Shaun Donovan Part of Cabinet Changes

By Alexis Simendinger - May 23, 2014

President Obama plans to revamp his Cabinet on Friday to fill a pending vacancy at the Office of Management and Budget and tap an up-and-coming Democratic mayor from Texas to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Obama will ask the Senate to approve his nominations of Shaun Donovan, his HUD secretary since 2009, to lead the White House budget office. At the same time, he will formally announce Julián Castro, the 39-year-old mayor of San Antonio, to lead HUD.

Castro’s rise has sparked discussions in some political quarters that he will one day be on a national ticket as a vice presidential or presidential candidate.

If confirmed, Castro’s elevation in Washington would showcase a Democrat from a family of Mexican descent, who prospered in Republican-dominated Texas. Castro, who has been mayor since 2009, has an identical twin brother, Joaquin, who serves in the U.S. House.

Donovan, 48, who is among the president’s Cabinet favorites, would succeed outgoing OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell. West Virginia native and former Clinton White House adviser Burwell, also 48, is Obama’s pick to replace Health and Human Services Department Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who announced her resignation this spring.

The president decided to announce Donovan’s new White House role even before the full Senate votes on Burwell’s nomination. She easily won committee approval from the Senate Finance Committee this week after several days of testimony.

Beside Donovan, other Obama Cabinet officials who have served since the beginning of the administration include Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki, who remains under fire on Capitol Hill and among veterans groups for alleged incidents of misconduct among department employees.

In the final years of this president’s second term, the top jobs at OMB, HUD and HHS involve sustained management and improved congressional relations rather than headline-grabbing new policy innovations.

Donovan, Castro and Burwell -- like Obama -- all earned undergraduate or law degrees from Harvard.

Alexis Simendinger covers the White House for RealClearPolitics. She can be reached at asimendinger@realclearpolitics.com. Follow her on Twitter @ASimendinger.

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