On June 24, the Senate Budget Committee approved, by a vote of 15 to 6, the nomination of current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Voting against confirmation were Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) and five other Republicans: Senators Charles Grassley (IA), Michael Enzi (WY), Rob Portman (OH), Patrick Toomey (PA), and Ron Johnson (WI).
While Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-WA) said that “Secretary Donovan will be a great partner in working to make critical investments in jobs and opportunity, while also addressing long term budget challenges, Senator Sessions was critical of the nomination. He said in a press release after the vote, “During this time of growing financial danger, the Office of Management and Budget should be led by one of the most disciplined and skilled financial managers in the country. Instead, in Mr. Donovan, we have an inexperienced nominee with a poor record of fiscal management and no demonstrated commitment to financial discipline.”
On June 25, the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee approved Secretary Donovan’s nomination by a vote of 9 to 1. The lone dissenting vote was Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI). Having cleared the two committees of jurisdiction, the nomination now awaits consideration by the full Senate, which is expected to confirm Secretary Donovan without controversy.
As previously reported, President Barack Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro for the position of HUD Secretary in anticipation of Secretary Donovan moving to OMB. Mayor Castro’s nomination was approved by the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs on June 25 by a vote of 16 to 6. Voting against confirmation were Committee Ranking Member Michael Crapo (R-ID) and Republican Senators Tom Coburn (OK), Jerry Moran (KS), Mark Kirk (IL), Patrick Toomey (PA), and David Vitter (LA). Their objection to Mayor Castro is because he did not take a position regarding cities’ potential to seize properties with delinquent mortgages through eminent domain in an attempt of prevent foreclosures. The six senators stated that they could not support a nominee who did not take a position that would, in their view, strongly support property rights.
During the same session, the Banking Committee approved, by voice vote, the nomination of Laura Wertheimer for the position of Federal Housing Finance Agency Inspector General. Ms. Wertheimer is currently with the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.
Still awaiting a full Senate vote is the nomination of Nani Coloretti for the position of HUD Deputy Secretary, which was approved by the Banking Committee on April 29 by a voice vote. The nomination has been put on hold at the request of Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), pending an investigation on hiring practices at the Department of the Treasury, where Ms. Coloretti currently works.