Republicans on the Hill “are taking President Obama’s nominee for deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as a sign the White House is not serious about cutting spending,” the Daily Caller reports.
Heather Higginbottom, a longtime policy advisor to Democratic politicians, was nominated by the president on January 7 to replace acting Deputy Director Rob Nabors.
“I believe it is pretty clear from the opposition that she is seen as a political operative and that members see this as a sign that President Obama has no interest in having a serious discussion about reducing spending,” one Republican staffer told The Daily Caller.
Higginbottom’s previously served as deputy director of the White House’s Domestic Policy Council, where, according to a White House press release, she “played an integral role on issues ranging from education to poverty to food safety.”
Before that, she worked on Obama’s presidential campaign as policy director, and spent eight years on Capitol Hill with Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts, where she rose to the role of legislative director.
Her background “has not convinced some lawmakers that she has enough experience for such a senior level position at the OMB.”
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, released a statement highlighting Higginbottom’s lack of “relevant” experience and calling it a “major hurdle at this point.”
“President Obama has nominated Ms. Higginbottom for a critical position at a critical agency at a critical time,” said Sessions. “Yet she has a remarkable absence of relevant experience. Instead, her experience is political – such as her work on the Obama presidential campaign.”
Sessions went on to say he has “growing concerns about the lack of candor from the White House when it comes to our nation’s fiscal challenges.”
Even Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who is considered one of the more liberal Republicans in the Senate, expressed concern over Higginbottom’s nomination.
“The nominee’s background, while impressive in many respects, does not include a great deal of experience in the budget process or financial analysis which is so important given the fiscal challenges we face,” said Collins.
“I am deeply concerned about the Administration’s lack of leadership on these challenges,” the senator added.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Higginbottom’s nomination last week by a vote of 6-4.