This was a vote on confirming President Obama’s nomination of Heather A. Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The OMB is the federal agency responsible for handling the president’s budgetary proposals.
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, urged support for Higginbottom’s nomination: “ The Deputy Director position has been vacant for 19 months. The Senate received Ms. Higginbottom's nomination papers in January, and she was reported favorably out of both the Budget and Government Affairs Committees in the spring. Ms. Higginbottom is fully qualified for this position. She served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of the Domestic Policy Council at the White House. She also previously served as legislative director for Senator Kerry. So she brings with her a broad knowledge of Federal policy and the operations of the government. It is important to note that Ms. Higginbottom was personally selected by [OMB] Director Lew as the individual he wants as his Deputy. His selection of Ms. Higginbottom speaks volumes about her ability and the respect she has attained from her colleagues in the administration. Director Lew needs to have the Deputy Director of his choice working with him at OMB. I know some have questioned this nominee's qualifications. They are wrong to do so. Ms. Higginbottom is absolutely qualified for this job, and she is as qualified as other individuals who served in this position during Republican administrations. I hope the Senate joins me in voting to confirm this nominee.”
No senators spoke in opposition to this nomination. In an interview with Fox News, however, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) expressed his opposition to this nomination. Fox News’ Stephen Clark reported:
“Sen. Jeff Sessions, the top Republican on the Budget Committee, says that Heather Higginbottom, a former legislative director for Sen. John Kerry, doesn’t have the chops to become the deputy in charge of the government’s $3.7 trillion budget.
‘Ms. Higginbottom's experience level is stunningly lacking," Sessions said Thursday. "She's never served on the Budget Committee, never studied business. Never run a business. Never been a mayor of a town.’
‘The most important thing is she does not have the kind of experience in business or accounting or budget or responsibility or management that you would look for in the second-in-command of the Congressional Budget Office, the most central unit in our entire governmental structure, committed to containing wasteful spending,’ he said. ‘We need somebody who will go after waste, fraud and abuse.’”
The Senate confirmed Higginbottom’s nomination by a vote of 64-36. All 53 Democrats and 11 Republicans voted “yea.” 36 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the Senate confirmed Heather A. Higginbottom to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget.