December 19, 2014

Next OMB Director Must Encourage Fiscal Reform

  • The federal budget is an expression of our country's values. Where we choose to spend and at what levels, how and who we tax, and the borrowing we...

President Obama has nominated Shaun Donovan, secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) since 2009, to become his new budget director.

Donovan will replace Sylvia Mathews Burwell, who became Obama’s budget director a little over a year ago but has been nominated as secretary of Health and Human Services.

“While at HUD, Donovan made critical investments to speed economic growth, while also offering new savings proposals and ensuring fiscal responsibility,” the White House said Friday. It added that Donovan “has a track record of using data to make good decisions and drive results.”

Some Republicans, however, questioned his qualifications. Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, said Donovan appeared to have “no relevant budgetary or economic experience.” The senator added that the confirmation hearing would provide "an opportunity to shed light on the fiscal dangers facing our country."

If confirmed as head of the Office of Management and Budget, Donovan will face a difficult task: Encouraging other administration officials and lawmakers to look beyond the good short-term fiscal news – a temporary drop in the federal deficit – and pursue broad reforms to put the budget on a more sustainable track for the next decade and beyond.