Harris swears in Shalanda Young as White House budget chief in historic first

Vice President Harris swore in senior adviser and longtime congressional aide Shalanda Young as the head of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on Thursday, making her the first Black woman in history to assume the Cabinet position. 

Young was sworn in during a ceremony two days after the Senate voted to confirm her to the role and almost a year after she was first installed as acting director of the OMB, which oversees execution of the government’s budget.

Young was previously tapped by the White House to serve as deputy budget director but assumed an acting leadership role in the office after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination for budget chief in March 2021 amid scrutiny over past political tweets.

President Biden announced plans to nominate Young to the role in November, as the official had also drawn the backing of top Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.), House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (S.C.).

Her nomination was endorsed by the Congressional Black Caucus, as well as by Republicans like Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), ranking member of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

“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 Senate vote on Young’s confirmation on Tuesday. 

Young’s experience spans years on the House Appropriations Committee, including as a Democratic staff director, clerk and deputy staff director, among 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 makes her the fifth Black woman to be named to Biden’s Cabinet and joins several history-making additions to the body, including Harris, who is the first Black American, South Asian American and woman to serve in the nation’s No. 2 position. 

The news comes as the White House is also making a push 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 Housing and Urban Development, assistant secretary for management and acting deputy chief financial officer of the Treasury Department and acting chief operating officer of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  

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

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

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