Shalanda Young’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was considered by two Senate Committees this week: Homeland Security and Government Affairs; and the Committee on the Budget. Questions from Senators touched on topics including federal government debt, infrastructure, state and local tax revenue, outdated IT systems, Medicare, Covid-19 relief, and earmarks.
March 2, 2021
Senate Committee on the Budget
- Federal Government Debt – Several Senators asked what Young thinks the federal government should do to stay in a healthy place financially. Young said the long-term debt needs to be addressed and will be addressed with bipartisan solutions. She added that smart people like Janet Yellen are saying that investing in the U.S. economy right now is vitally important and more important than long term debt.
- Infrastructure – Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) asked what the administration should be investing in to tackle the pandemic and the effect it has had on the economy. Young said investment in infrastructure will be prioritized which will create a lot of jobs and help revitalize the economy.
- Small and Rural Communities – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) asked how agencies will be expected to compare quantitative and non-quantitative investments. Young said the process of a cost benefit analysis must be modernized to include non-quantifiable data because there are many instances where small and rural communities get left out of funding because of this.
- State and Local Tax Revenue – Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) asked about state and local governments receiving an all time high of tax revenue and why the Covid-19 relief package is giving these same states more money. Young said the Biden administration continues to reach out to governors and local state officials and they are hearing from officials that more money is needed to continue to provide services.
- Outdated IT Systems – Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) asked if Young would do something about the problem of paying deceased people if confirmed to work at OMB. Young said outdated IT systems are a big part of the problem and added she was committed to working on the issue.
- Medicare – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) asked if Young agreed with lowering the retirement age to 60 and expanding Medicare to include dental, hearing, and vision. Young said she supported the idea.
March 4, 2021
Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs
- Covid-19 Relief – Chairman Gary Peters (D-MI) asked how OMB will help and coordinate the administration’s Covid-19 response efforts. Young said nothing is more pressing than this right now and there is both a health and economic component. She noted that if confirmed, OMB will play a significant roll in this as well as vaccine rollout.
- Federal Agency Information Systems – Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) asked if Young would commit to improving U.S. information systems and modernizing them. Young said she would commit to this and added that having a “modernization fund” with all the funding in one place will help with flexibility to get these new systems rolled out.
- Earmarks – Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked Young about earmarks and expressed his concern with Young’s support of them. Young said the Constitution makes it very clear that Congress appropriates, and it will be the decision of Congress on how federal dollars are spent, and it is OMB’s role to implement what is passed. She said there will be lively debate on how earmarks are used.
- Federal Debt – Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) asked Young if the debt is good at its current levels. Young said she would use the word manageable instead of good especially with low interest rates and added that she has viewed the Covid-19 funding as fiscal support and she has looked beyond revenue loss.
- Targeted Funding – Ranking Member Rob Portman (R-OH) asked if Young would work in the future to have more targeted funding when it comes to Covid-19 packages. Young said she would commit to working together going forward and the administration is working to have more targeted relief.