Democratic congressional leaders are coming out in support of Shalanda Young as the choice for director of the White House Office of Management and Budget following Neera Tanden's decision to drop out of consideration following a disastrous nomination effort.
On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus all expressed private and public support for Young, who herself is going through the nomination process to become deputy director under Tanden.
Both Pelosi and Hoyer personally called President Joe Biden to urge him to choose Young and took the extraordinary step of releasing a statement pushing for her nomination, according to Punchbowl News.
"As longtime members of the Appropriations Committee, we take great pride in recommending Shalanda Young as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). We have worked closely with her for several years and highly recommend her for her intellect, her deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation," Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn said in a statement.
"Her legislative prowess, extensive knowledge of federal agencies, incisive strategic mind and proven track record will be a tremendous asset to the Biden-Harris administration. Her leadership at the OMB would be historic 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 your time and can secure broad, bipartisan support," they added.
Wow. Pelosi, Hoyer and clyburn release a statement pushing Biden to nominate shalanda young.— Jake Sherman (@JakeSherman) March 3, 2021
we reported in @PunchbowlNews this am they were pushing privately.
This takes it up a notch. pic.twitter.com/1i64Nn4NZF
For four years, Young has led the Democratic staff members on the House Appropriations Committee and has worked in the House since 2007, building deep ties to members of both parties, according to Politico.Tanden's turbulent nomination for the position was marred from the beginning by years of questionable tweets, controversial statements and personal insults directed toward the members of Congress she needed to be confirmed.
While many said Tanden, as a woman of color, was being held to an unfair standard few other white nominees are held to, others pointed to some of the more egregious mistakes she has made in the past, including publicly outing a victim of sexual harassment while she was president of the Center for American Progress.
During Tanden's nomination effort, multiple senators ripped her and harshly questioned her about her past statements about them.
Young, on the other hand, received glowing reviews from both Republicans and Democrats as she deftly handled their questions during a confirmation hearing on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Senate Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy touted Young's work during the 35-day government shutdown in 2019 and said she was crucial to reaching a deal between the parties.
“Fortunately, Shalanda was with us. We reached a solution. That's what Shalanda is best at. She knows how to work across the aisle to get a deal done,” Leahy said.
Before Tanden officially pulled her nomination, Young was asked by Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) about whether she thought she could step up and take the director position in case Tanden's nomination failed.
“Everybody that deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say. You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it,” Graham said.
Other lawmakers, like Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.), have also expressed their support for Young.
Sen. Graham: "Do you think you're ready to be director if that job was offered to you?"— CSPAN (@cspan) March 3, 2021
Shalanda Young: "I'm here nominated as deputy director. I hope after today you find me qualified for that position."
Graham: "Well, you'll get my support maybe for both jobs. Who knows?" pic.twitter.com/Mbl601IH7m
"I think our country would be served well by Shalanda Young," Tlaib tweeted on Tuesday.
Roll Call reported that Young's nomination easily moved through the Budget Committee after she received support from members of both parties.
But according to CNN, Biden's team is still mulling other options outside of Young, including Obama administration economic official, and former Hillary Clinton adviser Ann O'Leary.
Despite the other options, the pressure from Congress to choose Young may be too much for Biden to ignore. Multiple senators told CNN that Young's nomination would be far easier than anyone else's and another called her a "layup."
“I’ve seen how she’s interacted with people as well. I was the secretary of labor in Delaware and head of personnel, and I know it takes a people person to be able to do a job like that and to do it well. I think she’d be awesome,” U.S. Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester told The Hill.
"She brings with her a wealth of information about the process. She also knows about the agencies and the issues,” Rochester added.