Deputy OMB nominee sails through budget committee

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“I’m glad that Brian has a track record of putting middle class families over Wall Street profits — and it is my belief that he will bring these values to the budget process at OMB," said Chairwoman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) in her opening remarks.

The drama-free hearing follows the warm reception legislators gave to Sylvia Burwell, who was confirmed to lead the OMB by a vote of 96-0 in April.

As part of his duties at the budget office, Deese will also be partly responsible for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), which reviews agency regulations before final approval. That office has been criticized for opacity and long-delayed rules.

OIRA is supposed to review rules within 90 days, but more than half of the 142 regulations currently under review have been there for longer than that.

"Things tend to disappear over at OMB," said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) "It is not a model of transparency for those of us on the outside looking in."

"The regulatory process has to, at base, provide trust to the public that this is a process that they understand and can rely on," Deese responded.

He added, "I think that transparency is a real important part of that because I think that does go to that question of trust."

Deese, currently the deputy director of the National Economic Council, said regulatory oversight was "not an issue that I've been closely involved in," but pledged "to bring fresh eyes and try to ask the set of questions about what could we do to improve the transparency and also the rigor of the process," including instances of industries exerting influence over the agencies that are supposed to regulate them.

Deese's smooth sailing comes in contrast to the OMB's previous deputy director, Heather Higginbottom. In a 2011 hearing before the panel, she received a grilling from Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), the top Republican on the committee. GOP legislators held up her nomination for more than 10 months.

Higginbottom left the OMB and went to the State Department in February.

Murray said she would seek a vote on Deese soon after the Senate returns from its Memorial Day recess.