Senate Confirms Vought as White House Budget Chief

July 20, 2020 Updated: July 20, 2020

The Senate voted 51-45 on July 20 to confirm Russell Vought as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The senators voted among party lines, with every Republican voting in favor of the candidate and every Democrat voting no.

Vought has served as the acting OMB director since the promotion of his predecessor, Mick Mulvaney, to acting White House chief of staff. Former Rep. Mark Meadows has since replaced Mulvaney, who went on to become U.S. special envoy to Northern Ireland.

Democrats in Congress had called on Vought to testify last year in the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump. Vought defied a subpoena and called the inquiry a sham.

The Senate had previously confirmed Vought in February 2018 to serve as the deputy director of the OMB.

Vought spent more than a decade on Capitol Hill in various roles. He served as a policy director for the House Republican Conference under then-Chairman Mike Pence who went on to cast the tie breaking vote in Vought’s February 2018 confirmation. He also worked as the executive director of the Republican Study Committee. 

Vought served as the vice president of Heritage Action, a conservative policy advocacy organization. At Heritage Action, he led the charge against Obamacare and runaway federal spending, according to a statement from the group’s current vice president Jessica Anderson.

Trump nominated Vought for the post earlier this year on March 18. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Vought has been a champion of Trump’s efforts to cut regulations. His office is leading an effort to ensure that agencies are complying with Trump’s plan to jumpstart post-pandemic U.S. economy through deregulation.

Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.) authored an op-ed in favor of Vought’s confirmation, vouching that Vought’s “knowledge and expertise in the federal budget contents and process is nearly unmatched.”

“OMB is not the most important department in the federal government. Its leaders typically do not become political superstars. But their decisions have more effect on the lives of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren than the Department of State or, in some cases, even the president,” Walker wrote.

“With our nation digging our debt hole deeper and deeper with each passing year, it is important that we install a nominee with a proven track record of proposing reforms that keep America strong and economically secure.”

Vought’s 2017 confirmation hearing was the subject of controversy when Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) brought up a blog post in which Vought weighed in on a theological discussion sparked by the firing of his alma mater. In the post, Vought wrote that Muslims “do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ his Son, and they stand condemned.”

Sanders’ questioning prompted a backlash, because it appeared to violate the Constitution’s No Religious Test Clause.

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