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Senate confirms Biden's historic nominee for OMB director

Shalanda Young is the first Black woman to be confirmed for the powerful role, which is key in implementing Biden's budget goals.


The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Shalanda Young to lead the Office of Management and Budget, making her the first Black woman in history to lead the White House budget office. 

She was confirmed with bipartisan support in a 61-36 vote. 

Young had been serving as OMB’s acting director since January 2021. President Joe Biden nominated her to serve in the role permanently after conservatives blocked his previous nominee, Neera Tanden. Previously, Young served as clerk and staff director for the House Appropriations Committee.

OMB directors have tremendous power to implement the White House’s fiscal agenda. They help develop budget proposals, oversee agencies’ use of funds, coordinate with Congress on legislative budget proposals, and help the White House and government agencies coordinate on implementing executive orders. 

Senate Homeland Committee Holds Office Of Management And Budget Confirmation Hearing
Shalanda Young speaks addresses a Senate panel in Washington, D.C. on Feb. 1, 2022. Al Drago / Bloomberg via Getty Images, file

As a reminder of the power the position holds, remember: then-President Donald Trump directed Mick Mulvaney, then serving as OMB director and White House chief of staff, to temporarily withhold aid from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure that nation's officials to open an investigation into Biden, his election opponent. 

The powers of the OMB are literally awesome. And there’s ample reason to believe Young will be deployed in pursuit of far more righteous goals. 

In an executive order issued in January 2021, Biden called on the OMB director to examine how government agencies can provide for marginalized communities more equitably. 

In the past, I’ve written on the windfall of federal dollars Congress has authorized for things like infrastructure spending, and my worries that these funds will not be distributed to Black and brown communities most in need. Young’s confirmation could be one step toward preventing that from happening.