With O’Leary out of the running, Young remains the front-runner for the post of heading the White House Office of Management and Budget, which became available after Neera Tanden withdrew her nomination.
Tanden had faced bipartisan pushback for the top budget job because of previous comments she made on Twitter sharply critical of various senators. Her withdrawal shifted attention to three potential replacements: Young, O’Leary and Gene Sperling, a former top economic adviser to presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
But Sperling instead joined the administration last week to oversee the implementation of the stimulus package, and with O’Leary now out of contention, Young seems an even likelier pick, given the praise she’s garnered from Republicans as well as Democrats.
But Biden has yet to nominate her. Instead, Young is expected to be confirmed this week as deputy OMB director, and the Biden administration has said it will make her the acting head of the agency until a permanent candidate is found.
OMB is a critical White House office that not only oversees the president’s budget, but reviews an array of rules and policies throughout the government.
Democrats and Republicans on the Hill have encouraged Biden to tap Young for the top job. In an unusual letter after Tanden’s nomination fell apart, House Democratic leaders publicly recommended that the president pick Young, who had served as staff director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.
The White House declined to comment for this article.
Not everyone has lined up behind Young. Tanden’s withdrawal has renewed the spotlight on the lack of Asian Americans in top Biden administration posts, and some activists have been pushing the White House to replace Tanden with another Asian American.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has recommended Biden pick Thea Lee, president of the Economic Policy Institute. Sonal Shah, an Obama White House alumnus who served as policy director on Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign, is also under consideration.
Katherine Tai, who was just confirmed as U.S. trade representative, is the only Asian American in a nominated cabinet post under Biden. Vice President Harris is of Indian and Jamaican descent.
O’Leary is joining the law firm Jenner & Block as a partner, co-chairing the government controversies and public policy litigation practice. She will also teach a law-school course at Stanford University and join the Century Foundation as a nonresident senior fellow focused on the “care economy,” specifically child care policies and paid family leave.
Before joining the Newsom administration, O’Leary was a top policy adviser on Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and also worked in Clinton’s Senate office. She is particularly close with White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who was seen as a booster of her bid to join the Biden administration.
“You may be wondering what happened to all those rumors that I was hoping for a job in the Biden Administration,” O’Leary wrote in a soon-to-be-posted Medium blog post announcing her new jobs. “While it is true that public service is in my veins and I would love to serve my country again at the federal level, where I have landed is exactly where I should be right now.”