Shalanda Young will testify Thursday morning before the Senate Homeland Security committee, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats publicly pressure the Biden administration to pick her to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
White House officials have been quietly working through potential replacement options after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination, including Young, Gene Sperling, the former Clinton and Obama administration economic official, and Ann O’Leary, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton.
But it’s clear that Young, the nominee for OMB deputy director, is a favorite on Capitol Hill. She has received bipartisan praise from members of Congress for her work as the Democratic staff director for the House Appropriations Committee.
Pelosi and her top leadership team made clear on Wednesday that Young, a Black woman with both policy chops and bipartisan bona fides, is their preferred pick. In a joint statement, Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn recommended Young for OMB director, citing her “intellect, deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation.”
“Her leadership at the OMB would be historic,” they added. “And would send a strong message that this Administration is eager to work in close coordination with members of Congress to craft budgets that meet the challenges of our time and can secure broad, bipartisan support.”
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said Tuesday that Young is “highly qualified” for the job.
“Everybody who deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say,” said Graham. “You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it.”
Graham even asked Young if she’s “ready” to be director. She said she was nominated to be the deputy.
“You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs,” replied Graham.
Tanden withdrew her nomination this week after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced his opposition, and other senators stayed silent. Manchin said Tanden’s “overtly partisan statements” against Republican senators and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during his presidential campaigns would “have a toxic and detrimental impact” on the relationship between Congress and OMB.
In a 50-50 Senate, any Democratic defection needs to be replaced by a Republican vote. Tanden apologized for some of her tweets, which she deleted, but no GOP support emerged.
At one of her hearings, Ohio GOP Sen. Rob Portman read aloud Tanden’s insults of Republican senators.
“Just to mention a few of the thousands of negative public statements, you wrote that Susan Collins is ‘the worst,’ that Tom Cotton is a fraud, that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz,” said Portman. “You called Leader McConnell ‘Moscow Mitch’ and Voldemort. And on and on. I wonder specifically how do you plan to mend fences and build relationships with members of Congress you have attacked through your public statements?”
CNN’s Kristin Wilson contributed to this report.