With less than a month to go before President Obama is required by law to submit a budget to Congress (February 6th), Mr. Obama’s decision today to make Jack Lew White House chief of staff leaves deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Heather Higginbottom to take Mr. Lew’s place as the director of OMB.
As The Hill newspaper reports, Ms. Higginbottom has only served one month in her present role as deputy director of OMB and is considered a “controversial appointee” due to her thin–some would say “nonexistent”–budgetary resume. Prior to becoming deputy director of OMB, Ms. Higginbottom was a deputy policy adviser to President Obama and worked on his campaign as a policy director.
But it was Ms. Higginbottom’s lackluster performance during a March Senate Budget Committee hearing that raised Republican concerns about whether Ms. Higginbottom was even qualified to serve as deputy director of OMB.
Whether President Obama will deny his current deputy director of OMB Heather Higginbottom the role of acting director remains to be seen. But if Mr. Obama does, expect Republicans to use her appointment as further evidence of President Obama’s budgetary incompetence and rudderless fiscal leadership.