Shalanda Young went through another confirmation hearing as the nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, as House leaders and caucuses are pushing the Biden administration to nominate her instead to lead the agency.
“This position requires someone with a history of looking beyond partisanship,” U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) said during Thursday’s confirmation hearing for her nomination as deputy director. “She is exceptionally capable.”
After a tumultuous hearing for President Joe Biden’s pick to lead OMB, Neera Tanden, and her critical tweets toward GOP members that surfaced, she withdrew her nomination late Tuesday after Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, made it clear that he would not vote for her. In a 50-50 Senate, no Republican support for Tanden’s nomination emerged, and without all Democrats on board, her nomination would have likely sunk.
Democrats have touted Young’s bipartisan work on coronavirus relief packages and help to end the government shutdown in 2019 as reasons the Biden administration should nominate her to lead OMB. If she were nominated and confirmed to lead OMB, she would be the first Black woman to run the agency.
During Thursday’s Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing, Young said if confirmed, OMB would be at the center of developing legislative proposals for handling the pandemic and getting relief to Americans.
“With COVID-19 deaths surpassing 500,000, our focus must remain on beating the virus, delivering immediate relief to millions of struggling Americans, and ensuring that we emerge from these crises even stronger than we were before,” she said during her opening statement. “If confirmed, I look forward to engaging with members of Congress from both parties on this and other important work.”
A Louisiana native, Young first came to Congress to work as a congressional aide in 2007. She is currently the Democratic Staff Director for the Appropriations Committee. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Loyola University New Orleans and a master of health administration degree from Tulane University.
“She’s highly qualified, has (an) incredible track record of performance, and certainly brings the skills necessary to serve in the role that she’s nominated for now,” said Sen. Gary Peters (D- Michigan), who chairs the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
Sen. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) asked Young how OMB would prevent special interest groups from influencing federal rulemaking through the agency’s public comments.
“I think we have to have a regulatory system that regular people understand and can be involved in their government,” Young said. “We need to make sure that we’re actually hearing from your constituents and not representatives that have the money to bear that their facts are the only voices we’re hearing from the public comment.”
During Young’s first hearing on Tuesday — and before Tandeen withdrew her nomination — Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) signaled his support for Young to lead OMB.
“You may be more than deputy,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) echoed those remarks.
“Do you think you’re ready to be director if that job was offered to you?” he asked her.
Young said that the position she was nominated for by the president was deputy director. “I hope you find me qualified for that position.”
“You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” Graham said.
Ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said during a press gaggle on Capitol Hill that he was impressed with Young during Thursday’s confirmation hearing, but would not say whether he supported the idea of her being proposed as a new nominee to run OMB.
“That’s up to the White House to decide that,” he said. “I thought she did a good job today.”
During a press briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that the president thinks highly of Young, which is why he nominated her for deputy director.
“We certainly know there’s a lot of support on Capitol Hill,” Psaki said, adding that the final announcement will be up to Biden.
House Leaders including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) gave their support for Young to lead OMB in a Wednesday statement.
“We have worked closely with her for several years and highly recommend her for her intellect, her deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation,” they said.
“Her legislative prowess, extensive knowledge of federal agencies, incisive strategic mind and proven track record will be a tremendous asset to the Biden-Harris Administration,” they added.
Because of Young’s bipartisan work, the leaders argued that she would “send a strong message that this Administration is eager to work in close coordination with Members of Congress” on bipartisan legislation.
Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), the chair of the Appropriations Committee, also gave her support for Young to lead OMB in a Wednesday statement. DeLauro said that Young successfully worked on the Appropriations Committee with both Democrats and Republicans and is an expert on the legislative and federal budget process.
“She has deep knowledge of the whole of the federal government and an ability to work with anyone to accomplish big, important things for our country,” DeLauro said. “While she has served as a Democratic staffer, her dedication to results has earned her respect across the aisle.”
Young also has the support of the Congressional Black Caucus and the Democratic Women’s Caucus who have issued statements calling on the Biden administration to nominate Young to lead OMB.