President Donald Trump officially has a new budget director.
Russell Vought was confirmed to lead the Office of Management and Budget on Monday by the Senate.
Russell Vought confirmed as budget director
Vought was confirmed in a party-line vote, with 51 Republicans voting yes and 45 Democrats voting no.
Like many Trump appointees, Vought has been serving in the role as an acting officer for some time. He took over in January 2019 after then-director Mick Mulvaney became Trump’s chief of staff. (Mulvaney is now out of that job.)
Before rising to the White House, Vought worked in Congress and at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. The son of an electrician and a teacher, he has been described as a fiscal hawk and a Trump loyalist.
“Russ has been a fearless advocate for the American taxpayer, and his unwavering fiscally conservative principles make him an outstanding choice to head the Office of Management and Budget,” Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James said Monday.
Vought has taken fire from Dems for pursuing a fiscally conservative agenda and especially for his role in suspending military aid to Ukraine, which Democrats held up as an illegal move no less than an unthinkable foreign policy decision. He ignored requests from Congress to testify.
Vought will now officially lead the office responsible for laying out the president’s annual budgets, which Democrats have often rejected as unsound and callous. The Dems have not been happy with Vought’s role in pushing for cuts to U.S. foreign aid and safety net programs.
His proposal this year looked to balance the budget within 15 years, but in practice, that has proven an elusive task as deficits continue to explode under the Trump administration.
Although he keeps a low profile, according to Roll Call, Vought has been through more than one partisan confirmation battle: he just barely became OMB’s deputy director in 2018 after Mike Pence broke a tie, as Democrats slimed him over comments he made about Islam. During his confirmation hearing this year, Vought was subjected to routine attacks accusing him of disloyalty and negligence, or as one Democrat put it, a failure to “stand up to [Trump].”
Republican Pat Toomey (R-PA) called him a “constructive, transparent, accessible person.”
Sounds like Trump made a good choice.