White House says Shalanda Young could serve as acting OMB director
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Shalanda Young could serve as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) once she is confirmed as deputy director while President Biden settles on a permanent occupant for the position.
Biden’s first nominee for OMB director, Neera Tanden, withdrew earlier this week.
Young is seen as a natural candidate to be elevated to the role of director and has won backing from Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill as well as some Republicans. Psaki’s comments on Thursday indicated that Biden is considering multiple individuals and has not settled on a replacement for Tanden, though she didn’t rule out Biden ultimately choosing Young to fill the role permanently.
“I don’t expect to have an announcement this week,” Psaki told reporters at a briefing, noting that Biden remains focused on getting his nominees to Cabinet roles and other high-level positions confirmed.
“We’re certainly hopeful Congress will move forward on [Young’s nomination] and then she would be in a place to be the acting head while we go through the process of nominating a replacement for Neera,” Psaki said.
When pressed about why Biden would not just make Young his nominee for OMB director, Psaki noted that Biden thinks “highly” of her but indicated there were multiple individuals being considered for the position.
“All I was conveying is how the process works. When the deputy is confirmed — knock on wood — they will then become the acting director,” Psaki said. “Hence there is a need and an imperative to move forward on that quickly. I will reserve his space for making his own decision.”
“There is a range of individuals in the country who are qualified for the job, so we’ll leave him the space and time to make a decision on who he’d like to nominate,” she later added.
Young was a longtime staffer on the House Appropriations Committee before Biden nominated her to serve as deputy OMB director. House Democratic leaders threw their support behind Young as a nominee for OMB director earlier this week, after Tanden withdrew her nomination. The Congressional Black Caucus and New Democratic Coalition have also backed her for the role. Some Republican senators have also voiced support for her as a potential choice for OMB director.
A handful of names have circulated as possible nominees, including Ann O’Leary, a former chief of staff to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and former National Economic Council head Gene Sperling.
Biden is expected to wait until at least next week to announce his nominee. Young went through confirmation hearings this week and her nomination will need to be advanced by two committees before reaching the Senate floor for a final vote.