More than most agency chiefs, Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew could probably use a trusted number two just now.
He may have to wait a while.
Although the Senate Budget Committee approved Heather Higginbottom’s nomination for OMB deputy director today, the 11-10 party-line tally bodes poorly for a short and sweet confirmation vote by the full Senate. The panel’s top Republican, Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., has questioned Higginbottom’s bean-counting credentials and, although Sessions hasn’t said that he’ll put a hold on her nomination, he does want “adequate time” for debate, according to CQ. Not a good sign.
Higginbottom currently serves as deputy director of the White House domestic policy council; the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved her nomination—on a similarly close party-line vote—last month. The OMB slot has been vacant since Rob Nabors became White House director of legislative affairs earlier this year.
“Given the tremendous fiscal and economic challenges facing the nation, it is critical that the President has his complete budget team in place,” Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said in a news release today. “I hope the full Senate moves quickly to schedule a vote on this nomination.”