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U.S. Senate confirms Donovan as White House budget director

Shaun Donovan
Shaun Donovan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate confirmed former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan on Thursday to take over as President Barack Obama's budget director.

Donovan takes the helm of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who is now serving as secretary of health and human services. Donovan was confirmed on a vote of 75-22.

The OMB is in charge of formulating the president's annual budget. It also has responsibilities for issuing regulations and overseeing government management practices.

Donovan, who holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from Harvard University, was a leader within the administration in tackling the U.S. housing crisis, one of the triggers of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

He was a chief negotiator in the historic $25 billion settlement reached with five of the nation's biggest banks and 49 state attorneys general to end a probe of abusive mortgage practices stemming from the housing bust.

Shortly after his re-election, Obama appointed Donovan to lead rebuilding efforts in areas that suffered damage from Superstorm Sandy, which ravaged the eastern coast of the United States.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Susan Cornwell; Editing by Paul Simao)