The Senate confirmed Shalanda Young to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget on Tuesday, as a Democratic intraparty fight emerges over who should lead it.
The vote was 63-37.
Young, who has received bipartisan praise from members of Congress for her work as the Democratic staff director for the House Appropriations Committee, would be the first Black woman to be OMB director. She is a favorite on Capitol Hill; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn have recommended her to lead the office. In a statement, they cited Young's "intellect, deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation."
But some Asian American groups are now advocating for Nani Coloretti, who served as deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development in the Obama administration, as they are frustrated by the lack of Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the Cabinet, according to The Washington Post. Coloretti is of Filipino descent.
Neera Tanden, who is Indian American, would have been one of two Asian Americans in a Cabinet-level position but she withdrew her nomination after Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced his opposition over her "overtly partisan statements" against Republican senators. Katherine Tai is the first woman of color to serve as US trade representative, and the only Senate-confirmed Asian American in Biden's Cabinet.
Hawaii Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono criticized the White House at a virtual retreat on Monday for its lack of Asian-American representation in the Cabinet.
"I shared the position that AAPI community has that there hasn't been a significant number of AAPIs at the Cabinet level," Hirono said. "I realize that we have Katherine Tai, but I don't think the trade representative is what the community understands as a Cabinet-level (position)."
Gene Sperling, the former top economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Ann O'Leary, a senior policy adviser to Hillary Clinton, had been considered potential picks to lead OMB but have dropped out. Sperling recently joined the Biden administration to oversee the implementation of the $1.9 Covid relief package, and O'Leary joined the law firm Jenner & Block and will teach a law school course at Stanford University.
In December, Biden said he wanted his Cabinet to "look like the country." It includes the first Black Pentagon chief and Black chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, Lloyd Austin and Cecilia Rouse; the first known gay secretary, Transportation chief Pete Buttigieg; the first female Treasury secretary, Janet Yellen; the first Native American to serve in a Cabinet, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland; the first Latino Health and Human Services and Homeland Security secretaries, Xavier Becerra and Alejandro Mayorkas; and Kamala Harris, the first woman, African American and Asian American to be Vice President.