Julián Castro is going to Washington. President Barack Obama will make it official Friday afternoon, when he will announce his intent to nominate Castro to be the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, with HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan taking over at the Office of Management and Budget.
Castro has already been seen as a potential national player in Democratic politics, getting tapped by Obama as the keynote speaker at the 2012 Democratic National Convention , although the housing post hasn’t generally been a stepping stone to greatness. He will add another Latino to the president’s Cabinet, joining Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez. Like Obama, he has a Harvard law degree.
He’ll still have to navigate the Senate confirmation process, but Republicans will not be able to filibuster either nomination after Democrats last year detonated the “nuclear option” getting rid of the 60-vote rule for nominations. Castro is the twin brother of Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Tex.
The White House noted that Donovan also chaired the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force. He’s an original member of the president’s Cabinet. He previously served as commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development.
Donovan can expect the usual questioning from Republicans about the president’s budget policies. But he’ll be taking over at a time of relative truce in the years-long budget wars on Capitol Hill, with talk of grand bargains on ice and the deficit shrinking to its lowest levels since the recession hit.
Donovan will fill the vacancy left by Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who can expect to be easily confirmed as the secretary of Health and Human Services after the Memorial Day recess.
The shuffle began when HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced her resignation after the end of the first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act exchanges.