Shalanda Young tapped by President Biden to lead OMB

President Biden on Wednesday nominated Shalanda Young to head up the Office of Management and Budget, filling a leadership role that has sat empty for months since he withdrew his first choice, Neera Tanden, amid bipartisan criticism.

Young, who has been the agency’s acting director since being confirmed as deputy budget director in March, would be the first black woman to lead OMB if the Senate approves her nomination.

Tanden sunk any chances of her confirmation by posting a series of profanity-laced tweets in recent years about both Republicans and Democrats, including some senators whose support she needed to win confirmation to the post.

But Young, who was confirmed by a 63-37 Senate vote and has broad support on Capitol Hill, is no stranger to controversy herself.

She described access to abortion as a matter of “racial justice” on a confirmation questionnaire in response to a query about the pro-life Hyde Amendment.

Shalanda Young was conrfirmed in a senate vote of 63-37.
POOL/AFP via Getty Images

“The President has spoken in favor of Congress ending the Hyde Amendment as part of his commitment to providing comprehensive health care for all women,” Young wrote. “Further, eliminating the Hyde Amendment is a matter of economic and racial justice because it most significantly impacts Medicaid recipients, who are low-income and more likely to be women of color.”

The Hyde Amendment bans federal funds for abortion except in cases of rape, incest or threats to the life of the mother.​​

Young, ​who previously served as a staff director for the House Appropriations Committee​, also raised eyebrows in June during a House Budget Committee hearing when she sidestepped questions about whether Biden’s proposed budget included funding for research by the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China, where many believe the coronavirus was created or accidentally leaked from.

President Biden
The OMB has been leaderless for months, since President Biden’s previously nominee, Neera Tanden withdrew.
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Under questioning, Young referred lawmakers to the 90-day review Biden had ordered US intelligence agencies to conduct of evidence surrounding the pandemic’s origins. ​

At one point, Rep. Jason Smith (R-Mo.), the ranking member on the panel, asked her directly: “So let me ask you this, can you commit that American dollars will never be used to fund such research going forward from this budget?”

“Congressman, I started my career at NIH [the National Institutes of Health],” Young replied. “I would never, you know, make that commitment, as someone who believes we need to be led by science, and we certainly need to wait [for] this review before we jump to conclusions.”

Biden also announced the nomination of Nani Coloretti as deputy OMB director Wednesday.

Coloretti is currently senior vice president at the Urban Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank that is “dedicated to using evidence, insight, and analysis to advance upward mobility, equity, and shared prosperity of all Americans,” the White House said in a statement.

Previously, Coloretti was deputy secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration.