The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Shalanda Young as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in a historic first, almost a year after the senior adviser and longtime congressional aide was first installed as acting director. 

The upper chamber voted 61-36 to confirm Young to the position on Tuesday afternoon, making her the first Black woman in history to be confirmed to head the key office, which oversees execution of the government’s budget. 

Young, whom the White House previously tapped to serve as deputy budget director, was named acting director of the agency after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination for budget chief in March 2021following scrutiny from Republicans and Democrats over past tweets. 

Prior to assuming the role last year, Young served for years on the House Appropriations Committee, including as Democratic staff director, clerk, deputy staff director and in other roles. 

During her time with the panel, the White House said Young oversaw $1.3 trillion annual appropriations legislation, disaster aid and “major aspects of COVID-19 related spending.”

Her confirmation on Tuesday comes after Young, a graduate of Tulane University and Loyola University New Orleans, drew the backing of top Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.). 

Young’s nomination had also seen endorsement from the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as support from Republicans like Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, in the months leading up to the Tuesday vote. 

“I think it’d be hard for the Biden administration to do any better. She’ll do a good job, if they let her,” Shelby told The Hill during the vote on Tuesday, after recalling his experience working with Young.

Her confirmation makes her the fifth Black woman to be named to President Biden’s Cabinet and joins several history-making additions to the body.  

Biden vowed to make diversity a top priority in his administration ahead of his inauguration last year, promising in December 2020 to make his Cabinet the “most diverse” in history. 

“I’m going to keep my commitment that the administration, both in the White House and outside in the Cabinet, is going to look like the country,” Biden said at the time.  

Young’s confirmation comes as the White House is also pushing for Nani Coloretti to be confirmed as OMB’s deputy director.  

Coloretti is a senior vice president for business and financial strategy at the Urban Institute. She previously served as deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, assistant secretary for management and acting deputy chief financial officer of the Department of the Treasury, and acting chief operating officer of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  

If confirmed, the White House said Coloretti would be among the “highest-ranking Asian American, Native Hawaiians, or Pacific Islanders serving in government.” 

Tags Biden cabinet Joe Biden Nancy Pelosi Neera Tanden OMB Richard Shelby Shalanda Young Steny Hoyer

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