Senate panel approves Higginbottom nomination

For his part, Sessions called on the president to withdraw Higginbottom’s nomination in a statement released after the vote. But, when asked by reporters, the Alabama Republican also wouldn’t say whether he would try to place a hold on Higginbottom’s nomination. 

In his statement, Sessions noted that Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had called the national debt the greatest threat to U.S. security. 

“Confirming Ms. Higginbottom to this position would be like installing, in the midst of a war, a battlefield general who has never had a day of military service,” he added.

Sessions also told reporters, after calling Higginbottom’s experience “stunningly lacking,” that “it’s important that we raise the question as to whether or not her appointment represents a lack of commitment on the part of the president to get control of spending.”

Higginbottom has also served as deputy director of the White House Domestic Policy Council and under Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

—This post was updated at 3:22 p.m.