“I must oppose this nomination and renew my call for the president to stop obstructing the efforts to prevent our looming debt crisis and start leading—beginning with the withdrawal of Ms. Higginbottom and the appointment of a qualified nominee.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, made the following comments today after the Budget Committee approved the nomination of Heather Higginbottom to be Deputy OMB Director on a narrow, party-line 11-10 vote:
“President Obama has nominated Ms. Higginbottom for a critical position at a critical agency at a critical time. But Ms. Higginbottom lacks any formal budget training or experience, a fact that became all too clear during her confirmation hearings.
Admiral Mullen described our national debt as the greatest threat to our national security. Confirming Ms. Higginbottom to this position would be like installing, in the midst of a war, a battlefield general who has never had a day of military service.
I also have serious concerns about the nominee’s grasp of the seriousness of the issues the nation faces, and about her ability to discuss those issues candidly. These concerns are heightened by the fact that the White House and the president’s budget director have made a series of false and inaccurate claims about their budget. They have said that their budget allows us to “live within our means,” “spend money that we have each year,” and “begin paying down our debt.” Of course, not one of these claims is true. An analysis from CBO reveals that annual deficits never once fall below $748 billion a year, and actually rise to $1.2 trillion in the tenth year.
I repeatedly gave the nominee an opportunity to reject these false claims and she instead struggled to defend them. We need honest, fact-based budgeting—not fantasy budgeting. I cannot and will not support a nominee for this important office who will not accurately share with the American people the stark choices we face.
The number of votes against the nominee today demonstrates the depth of concern. Now is clearly not the time to place a former campaign advisor with no budget experience into a role whose chief responsibilities include enforcing agency spending discipline and sound accounting principles.
This is not the kind of experienced nominee of proven strength that the office demands, and is yet one more troubling indication of the president’s unserious approach to our growing fiscal crisis. I must oppose this nomination and renew my call for the president to stop obstructing the efforts to prevent our looming debt crisis and start leading—beginning with the withdrawal of Ms. Higginbottom and the appointment of a qualified nominee."
Note: The Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee also approved Ms. Higginbottom’s nomination by a vote of 6-5, with all voting Republicans being opposed. To view the nominee’s testimony before the Budget Committee, when she attempted to defend White House budget claims that have been found by fact-check organizations to be false, please click here.