Senate panel signs off on Obama budget pick

The Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday approved Shaun Donovan’s bid to lead the Office of Management and Budget, sending the nomination to the full Senate for consideration.

The panel approved Donovan’s nomination by a vote of 15 to 6.

Donovan, who is now the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, received bipartisan backing from committee members for his nomination. But some Republicans have been critical of the pick, arguing the longtime Obama adviser lacked the proper experience and was too political for the position at stake.

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“Since taking office, the President has staffed his budget office with political loyalists and insiders who have ignored our perilous financial condition and taken no steps to repair it,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking Republican on the panel. “Mr. Donovan has no demonstrated record or will to bring this surging government under control.”

Republicans also accused Donovan of being unresponsive as HUD Secretary, and used his confirmation hearings as an opportunity to criticize the president’s budgetary priorities and the growth of the national debt under his administration.

Democrats heaped praise on Donovan, calling him an effective housing official and the right man to take control of the president’s budget.

“It is clear Secretary Donovan is focused first and foremost on strengthening the middle class, and creating opportunity for workers and families, and I look forward to the full Senate quickly approving this nomination,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

If confirmed, Donovan would take over OMB for Sylvia Matthews Burwell, who was picked by the president to take over the Department of Health and Human Services.