WASHINGTON — President Biden announced Wednesday that he will nominate Shalanda Young to serve as the administration’s budget director after months in which the key administration position has gone unfilled.
Young has served as the acting director of the Office of Management and Budget since the spring, but the White House will now tap her to officially lead the office as the administration faces multiplying challenges in implementing its economic agenda. She must be confirmed by the Senate to serve in the role, but she was confirmed to her current role by a 63-37 vote in March with support from more than a dozen Republicans.
The budget office plays a crucial coordinating role in working with federal agencies to oversee the execution of spending programs approved by Congress, but the Biden administration has not had a Senate-confirmed budget director.
The administration’s initial selection for the job, Neera Tanden, was forced to withdraw from consideration amid criticism from both Democratic and Republican senators about her past social media attacks on lawmakers. Tanden joined the White House in May as a senior adviser and last month was named staff secretary, a little-known but powerful position inside the White House.
Young, a longtime veteran of the House Appropriations Committee staff, has enjoyed broad bipartisan support and the backing of top Democratic leaders. Young went on maternity leave this fall. She would be the first Black woman to lead the office.
Greene introduces bill to award Rittenhouse medal
WASHINGTON — Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, a Georgia Republican, has introduced a bill to award the Congressional Gold Medal — the legislative branch’s highest honor — to Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who last week was found not guilty of homicide and other charges related to his fatal shooting of two men during a protest against police violence last year.
Greene was, notably, one of 21 House Republicans who voted against awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to US Capitol Police and D.C. police officers who defended the Capitol during the Jan. 6 attack by a pro-Trump mob.
Greene introduced a bill Tuesday to give Rittenhouse the award. Although the bill’s full text was not immediately available, a summary states that the measure would “award a Congressional Gold Medal to Kyle Rittenhouse, who protected the community of Kenosha, Wisconsin, during a Black Lives Matter (BLM) riot.’’
The likelihood that Greene’s effort will be successful is low. A bill requesting a Congressional Gold Medal must be cosponsored by two-thirds of the House and the Senate, both now controlled by Democrats, before it is considered by the House Financial Services Committee and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. After it is passed in Congress, the measure must be authorized by the president.
Congressional Democrats and President Biden have said they respect the jury’s decision in the Rittenhouse case but they have largely condemned his actions in Kenosha.
Rittenhouse, now 18, was found not guilty of homicide, attempted homicide, and other charges related to the August 2020 killings. During his trial, he testified that he had acted in self-defense when he shot and killed Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, and wounded Gaige Grosskreutz, now 27, during a Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wis.
Rittenhouse had traveled to Kenosha from his home in Antioch, Ill., to join armed civilians who took to the city’s streets amid unrest sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was wanted for alleged sexual assault. Blake survived the shooting but was left partially paralyzed.
Rittenhouse’s acquittal was celebrated by many Republicans in Congress, who rushed to Twitter upon hearing the news to congratulate him and describe his actions as a stand for Second Amendment rights. Some House members, including Representatives Madison Cawthorn, a North Carolina Republican, and Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican, have said they would hire Rittenhouse as an intern in their congressional offices.
Greene was among those who reached out to Rittenhouse upon his acquittal, tweeting that he is ‘’one of [the] good ones.’’
Asked about Greene’s bill, Joel Valdez, a spokesman for Gaetz, said Wednesday, ‘’We are concerned that awarding Kyle with a Congressional Gold Medal will give him a big head during the internship with our office.’’
The bill, which does not have any cosponsors yet, has been referred to the House’s Financial Services and Administration committees.
Meanwhile, former president Donald Trump told Fox News Tuesday that he had met with Rittenhouse, calling the teen “really a nice young man.’’
Rittenhouse, 18, visited the former president with his mother in Mar-a-Lago, Fla., on Monday, Trump said — just days after jurors acquitted him on all counts after more than three days of deliberation.
‘’Kyle I got to know him a little bit. He called,’’ Trump told Fox News host Sean Hannity. ‘’He wanted to know if he could come over and say hello because he was a fan.’’
“He should never have been put through that,’’ Trump said of Rittenhouse. ‘’That was prosecutorial misconduct, and it’s happening all over the United States right now with the Democrats.’’
Hannity shared a photo of the meeting, which showed a smiling Trump making a thumbs-up gesture while posing for a photo alongside Rittenhouse.
Following the verdict last Friday, Trump had sent his well wishes to Rittenhouse, writing in a statement: ‘’Congratulations to Kyle Rittenhouse for being found innocent of all charges. It’s called being found not guilty — and by the way, if that’s not self-defense, nothing is!’’
‘’Kyle thanks Pres Trump for two most important things the left is trying to destroy,’’ Greene tweeted. ‘’We must always uphold our Constitution, defend our 2A, & stop our enemies who hate them.’’
Greene’s bill would have to advance through the Financial Services and Administration committees. Spokesmen for the two ranking Republicans on those committees, Representatives Patrick McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, and Rodney Davis, an Illinois Republican, respectively, did not respond to requests for comment on the bill.
Greene told news organizations that she voted against honoring the police officers because she didn’t believe the legislation behind them should refer to the Jan. 6 riot as an “insurrection.’’ She also said she had an issue with how the bill described the Capitol as a ‘’temple of our American Democracy.’’
On Wednesday, Capitol Police officer Harry Dunn, who was among those honored for defending the Capitol on Jan. 6, said in a Twitter thread that it is “disheartening’' to see some celebrate Rittenhouse as a hero while “the brave men and women who fought and defended the Capitol on 1/6 have to continue to fight just for the TRUTH to be told about that day.’’
“I have been called every name in the book since my testimony. A political pawn, a sellout, a fake cop, a disgrace to the badge, Pelosi puppet,’’ Dunn tweeted. “[It’s] sad to see some of the same people who said these things, praise Rittenhouse or just remain silent.’’