WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Shalanda Young, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be his deputy budget director who has emerged as the top contender for budget director after the nomination of Neera Tanden was withdrawn, won praise from Republican lawmakers on Thursday for her ability to work across the political aisle.
“These days wide bipartisan support is rare, but when Senators Graham, Leahy, Sanders and Shelby agree, either we’re in a some sort of weird space-time continuum or the nominee is exceptionally capable,” said Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, referring to fellow Republicans Lindsey Graham and Richard Shelby and Democrats Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sander.
“Ms. Young is a qualified individual with a distinguished record in public service. I look forward to the committee and the Senate approving her nomination,” said Cassidy, in his introduction of Young to a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing.
House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats, including the Congressional Black Caucus, say that Young should replace Tanden as Biden’s nominee for director of the Office of Budget and Management.
Tanden withdrew her nomination this week, after senators from both parties threatened not to vote for her because of her critical comments on Twitter.
Young, who was the first Black woman to serve as the staff director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee, could become the first Black woman to head the OMB.
Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee wrote to Biden on Thursday urging him to nominate Young. “Shalanda Young has an impressive, lengthy record of hard work and smart budgeting across all of the federal departments and programs,” they wrote.
The White House emphasized Thursday that Young wouldn’t automatically get the top job of gatekeeper for the $4 trillion federal budget.
Biden clearly thinks highly of Young and she would be acting director of the budget office if confirmed, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. However, she added, “There is a range of individuals in the country who are qualified for the job.”
If Biden chooses another woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget, and all remaining nominees are confirmed, his cabinet will be 46% female and 50% non-white, including Biden and Harris, according to Inclusive America, a non-profit that tracks diversity in government.
Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons, Cynthia Osterman and Leslie Adler
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