Here’s who Biden is now considering for budget chief
President Biden is searching for a new nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) after Neera Tanden withdrew from consideration this week.
Biden will not name a replacement this week, press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday, and the White House has been mum about who is being considered. But lobbying has already started in earnest as lawmakers and outside groups push their preferred candidates.
Here are the names to watch as the Biden White House zeroes in on a new nominee for OMB director.
Shalanda Young is Biden’s pick for deputy director of OMB, making her a natural pick to elevate to the head of the agency, and she has received the most buzz of any potential nominee in the 24 hours since Tanden pulled out of consideration.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) issued a statement on Wednesday backing Young for the job, and the Congressional Black Caucus and New Democratic Coalition have also thrown their support behind her.
Perhaps most importantly, multiple Republican senators have indicated they would support Young for both the deputy director role and the director job should she be nominated for the latter.
“You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said at a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Young spent the past 14 years as a staffer on the powerful House Appropriations Committee, most recently in the top post of staff director. Young would be the first woman of color to lead OMB if nominated and confirmed.
Ann O’Leary has been floated as a possible replacement for Tanden dating back to mid-February when it appeared the latter’s nomination was in jeopardy.
O’Leary is a former aide to Hillary Clinton who worked on her Senate legislative staff and on her 2016 presidential campaign. She most recently served as chief of staff to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) before stepping down from that role in December.
Some progressive Democrats have backed O’Leary in discussions with the White House, and Politico reported in late February that O’Leary had privately voiced her belief that she would be qualified for the job should Tanden’s nomination falter.
O’Leary told Politico at the time that she was “1,000 percent behind” Tanden as the nominee.
Gene Sperling served as the head of the National Economic Council (NEC) under former President Clinton and former President Obama, making him the only person to do so for two different presidents.
Sperling worked extensively on economic policy in both administrations. He worked as an aide to the Treasury secretary during the Obama administration before leading the NEC.
His supporters have touted Sperling’s experience on Capitol Hill and in budget fights paired with his time in the Obama White House, arguing it will help him navigate difficult budget fights.
But Tanden was a woman of color, and the Biden White House will likely face pressure to nominate a diverse candidate in her place.
Chris Lu, Nani Coloretti or Sonal Shah
With Tanden’s nomination falling by the wayside, the Biden administration has only nominated one individual who is an Asian American or Pacific Islander for a Cabinet role with his choice of Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative.
The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and advocacy groups are urging Biden to consider an Asian American or Pacific Islander to replace Tanden, who would have been the first Indian American woman to lead OMB.
Among the names being pushed are Chris Lu, who served as Cabinet secretary during the Obama administration; Nani Coloretti, who was deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development during the Obama administration; and Sonal Shah, who founded the White House Office of Social Innovation and Civic Participation in the Obama White House and most recently served as national policy director on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.
“Hope @JoeBiden and Administration will consider another #AsianAmerican for OMB. This is the moment and it is important for the #AAPI community,” Shah tweeted on Tuesday.
Advocates have noted that Asian Americans are the fastest growing demographic group in the United States, making representation in Biden’s Cabinet particularly important.
“I think we put in a lot of effort with Neera’s nomination … At least to have other Asian Americans considered for the role would be helpful for the community,” said Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, president of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies.