* Served as staff director for the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations from 2007-16
* Was nominated by President Biden in 2021 to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget
* Outspoken advocate for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand
* Favors statehood for Washington, D.C.
* Calls for “environmental and economic justice” for oppressed communities
* Promoter of President Biden’s “Whole-of-Government Equity Agenda”
Shalanda Delores Young was born on August 29, 1977 in Zachary, Louisiana and grew up in the nearby town of Clinton. She completed her bachelor’s degree at Loyola University New Orleans, and her master’s degree in Health Administration from Tulane University.
Young initially came to Washington, D.C. as a presidential management fellow for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the early 2000s. From 2007-2016, she worked as a staff member for the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations. She became a Democratic deputy staff director for that Committee in February 2017, and then was named its Democratic staff director the following month.
In January 2021, Young was nominated by President Joe Biden to serve as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The largest office within the Executive Office of the President, OMB’s mission is “to assist the President in meeting policy, budget, management, and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency’s statutory responsibilities.”
Following the withdrawal of former Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden’s nomination for OMB director in March 2021, Young was selected by Biden to serve as the acting director. On March 23, 2021, Young was confirmed by a Senate vote of 63-37 to become the deputy director of OMB. Following that confirmation, she worked concurrently as both the deputy and acting director.
Young’s nomination to lead OMB received the support of the Congressional Black Caucus. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn issued a joint statement commending Young’s appointment: “We have worked closely with her for several years and highly recommend her for her intellect, her deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation.”
In spite of the praise she received from some Republican senators during the confirmation process, Young quickly became an ardent advocate for the most radical policies of the Biden Administration. For example, she was an outspoken advocate for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand. In March 2021, Young reaffirmed her support for eliminating the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits federal funding of most abortions. Dispensing with the Hyde Amendment, she explained, was “a matter of economic and racial justice because it most significantly impacts Medicaid recipients, who are low-income and more likely to be women of color.”
In April 2021, the Young-led OMB issued a statement which advocated for granting statehood to Washington, D.C. “For far too long, the more than 700,000 people of Washington, D.C. have been deprived of full representation in the U.S. Congress,” said the statement. “This taxation without representation and denial of self- governance is an affront to the democratic values on which our Nation was founded.” As noted by the Heritage Foundation, previous Republican and Democratic administrations alike had deemed it unconstitutional for Washington, D.C. to become a state through congressional legislation rather than via a Constitutional amendment. A legislative route to D.C. statehood, said Heritage, would amount to nothing less than “a naked power grab” by a Democratic Party seeking to pack the U.S. Senate with two additional seats guaranteed of being held by Democrats.
Young generated additional controversy at a congressional hearing in June 2021, when she refused to answer a question asking whether or not President Biden’s budget would provide funding to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, the Chinese laboratory whose “gain-of-function” research was suspected of having been the source of the deadly coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and beyond. “Can you commit that American dollars will never be used to fund such research going forward from this budget?” asked Republican Congressman Jason Smith. Young replied: “Congressman, I started my career at NIH [National Institutes of Health]. I would never make that commitment as someone who believes we need to be led by science, and we certainly need to wait for that review before we jump to conclusions.”
During a Senate Budget Committee hearing in June 2021, Young defended the Biden Administration’s use of the term “birthing people” instead of “women” when discussing an OMB request for $26 million to address racial disparities in maternal mortality rates. “There are certain people who do not have gender identities that apply to female or male, so we think our language needs to be more inclusive in how we deal with complex issues,” Young explained to Rep. Jason Smith. “I think the underlying issues most important that your colleagues are working on,” Young added in her exchange with Rep. Smith, “is to try to ensure that those of color that are giving birth leave the hospital alive, and that’s the issue, rather than the verbiage.” When pressed about the administration’s official policy on the new term, Young elaborated that “our official policy is to make sure that when people get service from their government that they feel included, and we’re trying to use inclusive language.”
On July 20, 2021, Young co-authored a statement entitled “The Path to Achieving Justice40.” The Justice40 initiative, which was established by the Biden Administration after consultation with members of the recently created White House Environmental Justice Advisory Council and White House Environmental Justice Interagency Council, is a “whole-of-government effort to ensure that Federal agencies work with states and local communities to make good on President Biden’s promise to deliver at least 40 percent of the overall benefits from Federal investments in climate and clean energy to disadvantaged communities.” “For far too long,” said the statement, “environmental policy decisions have failed to adequately account for environmental injustice, including the disproportionate, disparate and cumulative impacts pollution and climate change have on low-income communities and communities of color. President Biden has made clear that his Administration will chart a new and better course, one that puts environmental and economic justice at the center of all we do.”
On August 6, 2021, Young issued a press release entitled “Meeting a Milestone of President Biden’s Whole-of-Government Equity Agenda.” This document focused on the federal government’s new commitment to implementing “fairness and equity” – i.e., double standards designed to achieve equal outcomes between different demographic groups — as “principles embedded in the daily practices by which the Government serves its people.” In the press release, Young asserted that “too many people have been historically underserved and experienced marginalization, disenfranchisement, and lost opportunity.” Moreover, she cited a recent OMB report which called for the use of “specific strategies for outreach and engagement” designed to ensure that “the intended impact of a benefit” will be “equitably distributed among beneficiaries,” particularly those from “underserved and marginalized communities.”
In a joint statement released with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in October 2021, Young claimed that the Biden Administration’s “budget results are further proof that President Biden’s economic plan is working.” “Instead of settling for an economy that serves the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations,” said Young, “the President’s agenda builds on the progress we’ve made and grows our economy from the bottom up and the middle out—creating jobs, cutting taxes for the middle class, lowering costs for working families, and improving our country’s long-run fiscal and economic health.”
At a March 16, 2023 Senate Budget Committee hearing in which Young testified on behalf of President Biden’s proposed $6.8 trillion budget for 2024, Senate Republicans dismissed, as fictitious, the budget’s stated aim of reducing deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the ensuing decade. They claimed, instead, that the proposal would kill jobs, grow the federal yearly deficit, and add to the cumulative national debt.
In her opening statement, Young argued that the Biden administration’s economic track record was essentially an unbroken string of successes and triumphs:
“President Biden came into office with a clear plan: to grow the economy, not from the top down, but from the middle out and bottom up. Over the past two years, in the face of significant challenges, that strategy has produced historic results for the American people. Under the president’s leadership, we’ve added more than 12 million jobs, more jobs in two years than any president has created in a single four-year term. The unemployment rate has fallen to 3.6%, one of the lowest rates in over 50 years. We’ve taken action to lower prescription drug costs, health insurance premiums, and energy bills, while driving the uninsured rate to historic lows. And the president’s economic plan in rebuilding America’s infrastructure, promoting workers, and fueling a manufacturing boom that is strengthening parts of the country that have long been left behind. The president has done all of this while delivering on his commitment to fiscal responsibility. During his first two years in office the deficit fell $1.7 trillion, the largest decline in American history. And the Inflation Reduction Act will reduce the deficit by hundreds of billions of dollars more over the next decade. The president’s fiscal year 2024 budget details a blueprint to build on this progress and finish the job. It’s built around four key values: investing in America, lowering costs for families, protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security, and reducing the deficit. And it does all of this while ensuring that no one earning less than $400,000 pays a penny more in taxes. The budget more than fully pays for its investment, cutting deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by asking the wealthy and large corporations to begin to pay their fair share and cutting wasteful spending to special interests.”
Later during the course of the March 16 hearin, Young had the following noteworthy exchange with Republican Senator Ron Johnson, where she argued that President Biden’s economic plan would reduce the nation’s annual budget deficits:
JOHNSON: … I’d like to separate rhetoric from actual numbers. … We’ve heard a lot of rhetoric in terms of the weslthy. In your testimony, you said the wealthy, quote, were going to begin to pay their fair share, unquote. So, I think my question for you is, at what point will you consider the wealthy paying their fair share. The most recent analysis I have comes from the Tax Foundation for tax year 2020, where the top 1 percent made 22.2 percent of income but paid 42.3 percent of the income tax. Now, a 2019 analysis showed that they made about 21 percent of income and paid 24 percent of total federal tax. … What would be a fair percent of total income taxes, in your mind, for the wealthy to pay? …
YOUNG: I’ll gp back to a statistic that I talked about earlier, where some analysis show [sic] 400 of the wealthiest families in this country pay an 8 percent effective rate —
JOHNSON: Let me start with the top 1 percent pay an average of 26 percent top rate, the bottom 50 percent pay 3.1 percent. … That’s a progressive tax rate. Again, I want to know, what should the top 1 percent pay in terms of total income tax, what should they pay as a percent of total tax? What should that be? Right now it’s 42.3 percent of total income tax, it’s around 24 percent of total tax.
YOUNG: Sir, I’m happy to take a look at the analysis you’re looking at, I’m happy to share ours, where —
JOHNSON: Listen, You don’t even need to look at it. Right now it is 42%. Should it be 50 percent? Should they pay 70 percent of the total income tax? … In your mind, stepping away from rhetoric, at what point will you be satisfied that the top 1 percent are paying their fair share? I mean, you ought to be able to figure that off top of your head.
YOUNG: Yeah, and Senator, I’ve told you and I’m happy to share this analysis: 400 of the wealthiest families in this country —
JOHNSON: That’s not answering my question. … In your testimony, you said that this budget, the president’s budget, reduced the deficit. In 2019, prior to pandemic, we ran a deficit of 984 billion dollars, which is still way too much. In 2022, it was 1.37 trillion dollars. In 2023, it’s projected to be over 1.5 trillion. The president’s budget now is projecting 1.8 trillion. So, from 1.3 to 1.5 to 1.8, how can you claim that’s reducing the deficit?
YOUNG: Easily, Senator. My entire statement said over, we talked about 10-year budget windows. Over the 10-year budget window, if you go look at 2033, the president’s budget would bring down deficits by 3 trillion dollars, nearly 3 trillion, 2.9.
JOHNSON: But again, year-to-year. I mean, I think most people say, when you’re reducing a deficit, you’re looking at year-on-year. So we’re going from 1.3 trillion to 1.6 trillion to now 1.8 in the budget. You are actually increasing the deficit by about $300 billion in 2024, is your projection over the 2023 projection. You’re increasing the deficit. And by the way, that’s a massive deficit. 1.8 trillion dollars. What do you think is sparking inflation, which caused the Fed to start increasing interest rates, which is causing the run on these banks? At what point are you going to acknowledge the harm that this massive deficit spending is causing our economy? You’re certainly not recognizing it in your 2024 budget.
YOUNG: Senator, what I hope we all realize is that inflation is a global phenomenon. The U.K. doesn’t have the same laws over the last two years as the United States has, and it has inflation. India, the same. France, the same. … It absolutely has nothing to do with one piece of legislation. Every developed economy in the world is experiencing inflation. …
JOHNSON: It was trillions of dollars in deficit spending, trillions of dollars printed, chasing too few goods. That’s what caused inflation. And that’s what was promoted by this president.