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U.S. Senate confirms Shalanda Young as first Black woman to head up White House budget agency

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate made history Tuesday when it confirmed Louisiana’s Shalanda Young as White House budget director.

Young, former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee, will become the first Black woman to head up the Cabinet-level agency that releases the president’s budget request, oversees federal agencies’ performance and reviews significant federal regulations.

The 61-36 vote came with substantial Republican backing for Young, including from Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, Louisiana Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy, Maine Sen. Susan Collins and Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley.

The new title won’t change much of Young’s day-to-day responsibilities, however.

She’s been working as acting director of the Office of Management and Budget since the Senate confirmed her as deputy director last March.

“Shalanda Young is one of the most effective Cabinet leaders to have the label of acting in a very long time. But it’s long past time for that word to drop from her job title,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Tuesday.

Young, a Louisiana native who holds an undergraduate degree from Loyola University New Orleans and a master’s degree in health administration from Tulane University, began working her way up the ranks of the House Appropriations Committee in 2007.

Young became staff director in 2017 and continued working for Democrats on the spending panel until she became deputy budget director a year ago.

During her time as a senior Democratic staffer, Young was a central figure in negotiations on the dozen annual government funding bills as well as emergency spending measures meant to address natural disaster recovery and the COVID-19 pandemic.

As part of her confirmation process for OMB director, Young testified before the Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees in February.

The Senate Budget Committee voted 15-6 and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted 8-6 in February to send Young’s nomination for director to the Senate floor.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, the top Republican on the Homeland panel, voted for Young in committee, but not on the Senate floor.

During the February markup, Portman said he was particularly frustrated with OMB for dragging its feet on a document request he and Chairman Gary Peters, D-Mich., made more than a year ago regarding President Joe Biden’s administration’s COVID-19 response.

The two also requested documents regarding a national security issue that Portman couldn’t talk about publicly.

This article by Jennifer Shutt is published from The Missouri Independent via a Creative Commons license.

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