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President Biden delivers remarks regarding the global transportation supply chain bottleneck in the East Room at the White House on Oct. 13.
President Biden delivers remarks regarding the global transportation supply chain bottleneck in the East Room at the White House on Oct. 13. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Wednesday he will nominate Shalanda Young to serve as the administration's budget director after months in which the key administration position has gone unfilled.

Young has served as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget since the spring, but the White House will now tap her to officially lead the office as the administration faces multiplying challenges in implementing its economic agenda. She must be confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role, but she was confirmed to her current role by a 63-37 vote in March with support from more than a dozen Republicans.

The budget office plays a crucial coordinating role in working with federal agencies to oversee the execution of spending programs approved by Congress, but the Biden administration has not had a Senate-confirmed budget director.

The Post first reported Tuesday that Biden would nominate Young for the permanent role.

The administration's initial selection for the job, Neera Tanden, was forced to withdraw from consideration amid criticism from both Democratic and Republican senators about her past social media attacks on lawmakers. Tanden joined the White House in May as a senior adviser and last month was named staff secretary, a little known but powerful position inside the White House.

Young, a longtime veteran of the House Appropriations Committee staff, has enjoyed broad bipartisan support and the backing of top Democratic leaders. Young went on maternity leave this fall. She would be the first Black woman to lead the office.

"In her eight months as acting director of OMB, she's continued to impress me and congressional leaders as well," Biden said in a pre-recorded video announcing the nomination. "Shalanda will not only be a tremendously qualified director, she'll also be a historic director."

Biden will also nominate Nani Coloretti, a former deputy secretary of Housing and Urban Development, as deputy director of the OMB. If confirmed, Coloretti, who is of Filipino descent, would be one of the most senior Asian American members of Biden's administration.

"It is my honor to nominate two extraordinary, history-making women to lead the Office of Management and Budget," Biden said. "Shalanda Young and Nani Coloretti are two of the most experienced, qualified people to lead OMB."

One of the delays in elevating Young was that some Democratic lawmakers wanted the administration to promote more nominees of Asian descent. After Tanden, who is Indian American, withdrew her nomination, Asian American groups pushed for Biden to fill the role with someone of Asian descent. Many of the groups eventually coalesced behind Coloretti, pushing Biden to nominate her for the deputy role.

"It's almost unbelievable we've gone this long without a director when we've been putting together plans and having Congress act without having a director there," said G. William Hoagland, a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center and a former Republican staff director for the Senate Budget Committee. "It is critically important the director be confirmed and placed in that position to be able to have the ability to deal with all the agencies as they put together their budget and for carrying forth the president's economic plan."

The Washington Post's Amy B Wang contributed to this report.

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