President Joe Biden is still working through the process of replacing Neera Tanden’s failed Office of Management and Budget director nomination, as congressional Democrats ramp up pressure for Shalanda Young, a well-respected congressional staffer, according to multiple officials.
With Tanden’s nomination on the ropes for more than a week, White House officials have been quietly working through potential replacement options, ranging from Young to Gene Sperling, the former Clinton and Obama administration economic official, and Ann O’Leary, a former top adviser to Hillary Clinton.
But that process still isn’t near a conclusion.
A small handful of other names are also currently being discussed by White House aides, the officials said. But while no decision has been made, Biden plans to move quickly on a replacement.
For congressional Democrats, that leaves only one candidate as the top choice: Young, who is Biden’s nominee to serve as deputy director at the agency. While barely known outside of the US Capitol, Young’s reputation as Democratic staff director for the House Appropriations Committee carries significant weight in both chambers on both sides of the aisle.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, shortly after it became clear Tanden was going to have vote problems, communicated to the White House that Young would be the preferred replacement option, officials said. Pelosi and her top leadership team have already made clear since Tanden’s withdrawal that Young, a Black woman with both policy chops and bipartisan bona fides, is the route they would like to see taken, officials said.
While Senate Democratic leaders have given Biden more space, several Democratic senators have made clear to White House staff in recent days that Young’s nomination would garner wide-ranging support.
“She would cruise through,” a Republican senator told CNN.
“It would be a layup,” a Democrat with close ties to the White House said separately. “Move quick, take the easy path. This shouldn’t be hard.”
Still, White House officials acknowledge there are major competing interests for Biden as he considers a replacement and there is still work to do in zeroing in on a final choice. Top Biden advisers have close connections to both Sperling and O’Leary and other potential candidates have quietly started pressing allies inside the building over the course of the last week.
“Very much still open at the moment,” one official said, noting that this hasn’t been a central focus for Biden despite the clear signs Tanden was in trouble.