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‘Master of the Federal Budget Process’: Shalanda Young Makes History as First Black Woman to be Appointed Director of White House Office of Management and Budget

History has been made again in President Joe Biden’s administration. This week, with a bipartisan Senate confirmation, a Black woman will be named the director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

Shalanda Young was confirmed to the position of Budget Director on Tuesday, March 15 by members of both parties in a 61-36 vote. 

Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nominee for U.S. President Joe Biden, speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on February 1, 2022, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Al Drago-Pool/Getty Images)

Only the official title will be new. 

Young has been doing the job for the last year, serving as acting director after Neera Tanden, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton, withdrew herself from consideration for the job after receiving bipartisan opposition in March 2021. Tanden would later assume a different position within the administration, one that did not require a Senate vote.

Young, in the acting capacity, headed up the OMB while serving concurrently as its deputy director during one of the toughest economic seasons of the nation’s history, including working on disaster aid and “major aspects of COVID-19 related spending.”

The New York Times reports that since assuming the role she has overseen the rollout of Biden’s first budget and assisted in laying out the contours of the $1 trillion infrastructure law that the new president pushed through Congress last fall.

Young’s gifts were used to negotiate the Biden administration’s first government spending package that received on Thursday, March 10, its final approval from Congress. 

Several politicians have spoken out about the landmark appointment.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer commented that this historic appointment is “another glass ceiling shattered by a remarkable member of the President’s historic Cabinet.”

“It shouldn’t have taken this long to confirm someone as obviously qualified as Shalanda Young,” the New York Democrat stated as he celebrated her ability to work with both parties to achieve a goal. “She’s proven capable of working with Republicans and Democrats alike.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi offered, “Today’s confirmation of Shalanda Young to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget is history-making and a victory For the People.”

“After nearly fifteen years working for the House Appropriations Committee and nearly a year as Acting Director of OMB, Shalanda brings to this essential post a masterful command of the appropriations process, deep legislative expertise and an unyielding commitment to America’s families,” Pelosi continued. 

“Widely respected on both sides of the aisle, she will be an invaluable strategic asset to Democrats and the nation as the Congress continues to work with the Administration to advance our security and economic interests, as well as build a budget that reflects our values as a nation.”

House Committee on Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro called Young “a proven leader” and celebrated her as “a master of the federal budget process,” who has been able to help “shape many of the solutions to some of the most pressing problems facing working families.”

Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota also chimed in to salute Young’s appointment, “eminently qualified for the job.” 

Cramer, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, added, “Her deep understanding of the legislative process, impressive wit, and proven ability to build relationships will serve her well in this important role. I have appreciated her responsiveness in her role as Acting Director and I’m honored to support her promotion today. While we do not agree on everything, I look forward to working with her to deliver results for North Dakota.” 

This is not the first historic first that Young has achieved.

After joining the National Institutes of Health in 2001 and the House Appropriations Committee in 2007, she became the first Black woman to serve as the committee’s majority staff director.

Madame Director said in a statement that she was “incredibly honored” by the appointment.

“I want to thank the president for the trust he has placed in me, as well as members of both parties in the Senate for their support,” her remarks read in part. “Together with the extraordinary team at OMB, we will continue to build on the historic progress our country has made, advance the president’s ambitious agenda and deliver results for the American people.” 

The Louisiana native grew up in the city of Clinton and graduated from Loyola University New Orleans and Tulane University.

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