Shalanda Young is the top choice for Black lawmakers in Congress to become the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, but the White House is still weighing other names for the role. Neither the Republican nor Democratic sides of the isle have concerns over Young, but Politico reports that the Oval Office may be frustrated by the pressure to get behind her.
The Biden administration first supported Neera Tanden, but she withdrew after Republicans and some Democrats refused to back her over her past tweets.
The holdup is apparently due to the fact that Biden had already nominated her to be deputy director of OMB and doesn’t want to move on supporting her for the top spot until she has been confirmed in the No. 2 role. Next week, the full Senate will vote on Young’s nomination for that post.
“There is no one else who brings her depth of experience, or congressional relationships and understanding of the budget process, who has already been vetted and who has the support of Democrats and Republicans,” said Rep. Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), who has led transition efforts between the Black Caucus and the White House. “This needs to happen.”
Here is more on what is happening with Young’s standing for the top role, per Politico:
Though top Democrats want Young for the role, a source familiar with White House discussions said Jared Bernstein, who sits on the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, is a serious contender. Thea Lee, president of the Economic Policy Institute think tank, was recommended by Sen. Bernie Sanders for the job shortly after Tanden withdrew and is also being considered.
The administration is also facing pressure from Asian American Pacific Islander advocacy groups and lawmakers to appoint an Asian or Pacific Islander American to replace Tanden, who would have been the first Indian American to hold the position. Groups have rallied behind Nani Coloretti, senior vice president of the Urban Institute think tank.
Asian lawmakers also shared a list of possible candidates with the White House and are engaged in ongoing communication about the vacancy. But they are keeping the list of names private, according to a House aide.
The White House initially signaled it wanted Gene Sperling to lead the OMB after Tanden’s bid failed, but it received pushback from lawmakers who made clear that Young is their choice.
According to the Washington Post, Young arrived in D.C. 20 years ago a presidential management fellow at the National Institutes of Health.
She was the first Black woman to serve as staff director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee. Young oversaw $1.4 trillion in annual federal funding for programs ranging from infrastructure to defense to development. Prior to that role, she held other positions on the committee over a 14-year-span.
Here is more from the Post on Young’s qualifications:
Young was also central to negotiations that ended the 35-day government shutdown at the beginning of 2019, when President Donald Trump refused to budge on funding for the border wall.
Alongside House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Lowey, Young mapped out a strategy that would temporarily allow parts of the government to reopen before any negotiations on homeland security could proceed. Young represented the newly Democratic House majority in negotiations with Republican Senate leadership, holding firm until Trump agreed to temporarily reopen the government without any new money for the border wall.
If Biden does end up nominating Young and she is confirmed, she would be the first Black woman to lead the OMB.