Trump’s OMB Nominee Approved, Moves to Senate Floor Vote

June 17, 2020 Updated: June 17, 2020

President Donald Trump’s nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Russell Vought, was approved by the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, amid opposition from Democrats.

Vought was approved in a 11–10 vote with all Republicans approving and all Democrats opposing. Eight Democrats voted by proxy and 2 were present for the vote.

Ranking member, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opposed the nomination, criticizing Vought’s loyalty to Trump’s budget agenda.

“The Budget Committee is hearing from President’s nominee for budget director. @RussVought45 is the architect of Trump’s budgets that slash Medicare and Medicaid while cutting taxes for the rich. His nomination must be defeated,” said Sanders.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), opposed Vought’s nomination citing the deputy director’s role in helping President Trump hold up funds to Ukraine. Van Hollen questioned Vought about the Ukraine aid during the confirmation hearing, saying that Vought was not a worthy nominee for Director because withholding the aid to Ukraine was illegal, as reported by the Government Accountability Office.

“It seems to be a metaphor for this administration that they would submit to this Senate as their nominee to head OMB the person who our congressional watchdog concluded violated the law,” Van Hollen said.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.) said it is crucial that Congress get a program inventory from OMB to enable lawmakers and the public to understand how resources were used so Congress can make informed decisions about spending.

Enzi who voted in favor of Vought’s confirmation, said the role of the OMB director is crucial given that the Congressional Budget Office found the total budget deficit, so far for 2020, is 1.48 trillion, which is 949 billion more than the deficit recorded at the same time last year.

During the June 3 committee hearing Vought told the panel he has and will put America’s working families first.

“I know what they went through to balance their budget and save for the future. My parents worked hard, hours to put me through school. They worked very hard to pay for the government in their lives and I’ve often wondered what else they would have been able to be able to accomplish if they were freer to build and have saved more of their own hard-working earnings,” said Vought.

“My parents represent the forgotten men and women of this country. They have always been the yardstick, by which I have tested government spending, and I am grateful to the work of this administration that had made the eyes and the heart of the forgotten man the lens from which we see policy,” he added.

In April 2017, Trump nominated Vought to be Deputy Director of OMB. He was confirmed by the Senate in February 2018, in a 50–49 vote. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote.

In addition to building the president’s annual budget OMB Director also manages government-wide functions, such as agency rulemaking contracts, Grants Management, Financial Management Information Technology Program assessment, and property management.