President Donald Trump is starting to fill out his team at the Office of Management and Budget.
The President nominated Neomi Rao to be the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and Russell Vought to be deputy director of OMB.
Additionally, Trump nominated Vishal Amin to be Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in the Executive Office of the President, and Mark Green to be the Army secretary.
The nomination of Rao and Vought fills two key roles at OMB. Trump has signaled his administration’s desire reduce “burdensome” regulations so getting the head of OIRA on board is a key piece to that effort.
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President Barack Obama nominated Cass Sunstein in April 2009 and he wasn’t confirmed until September.
Vought’s nomination is even more interesting as he will just be the deputy director without budget or management attached to his title. This is a Senate confirmed position, according to the Plum Book, and it’s one that was last filled during the Bush administration.
Some believe this could signal OMB Director Mick Mulvaney’s desire to reorganize his agency, and leaves open the idea of not having either a deputy director for budget and/or deputy director for management.
Vought comes to OMB after the last seven years as vice president of Heritage Action for America, a not-for-profit organization promoting conservative principles.
He also spent 12 years on Capitol Hill serving as the policy director for the House Republican Conference, under then-chairman, now Vice President Mike Pence, and as the executive director of the Republican Study Committee (RSC), under then-Chairman Jeb Hensarling. Vought also was the RSC’s budget director and began his career working for Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas).
As for Rao, she comes to OMB after spending the last four-plus years as an associate professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, where she founded and directed the Center for the Study of the Administrative State. The White House says her research and teaching focuses on constitutional and administrative law.
This is Rao’s second stint at the White House, serving as associate counsel and special assistant to President Bush for 14 months starting in April 2005. Additionally, she was counsel for nominations and constitutional law to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary and a law clerk to Justice Clarence Thomas of the U.S. Supreme Court. She practiced public international law and arbitration at Clifford Chance LLP in London.
Rao will be charged with implementing Trump’s executive order requiring agencies to get rid of two regulations for every one they introduce.
OMB recently released updated frequently asked questions about this two out, one in process, highlighting among other things how to calculate the costs of regulations and offsets as well as what happens if agencies don’t meet the goals of the EO.
The nomination of Green to be Army secretary is Trump’s second attempt to fill the role. The first nominee, Vincent Viola, withdrew his name in February.
Green is a graduate of West Point in 1986 and served as a rifle platoon leader, scout platoon leader, battalion personnel officer, a supply officer, an airborne rifle company commander in the famed 82nd Airborne Division, and commanded a recruiting company in U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
Green, who currently serves as a Tennessee State Senator and is CEO of Align MD, is a physician by training.
During his time in the Army, he served in the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment where he made three combat tours to the Middle East. His military awards include the Bronze Star, the Air Medal, the Air Medal with “V” device for valor under heavy enemy fire, and numerous other medals for service.
“Mark will provide strong civilian leadership, improve military readiness and support our service members, civilians and their families,” said Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis in a statement. “I appreciate his willingness to serve our country. He had my full support during the selection process, and he will have my full support during the Senate confirmation process. I am confident of Mark’s ability to effectively lead the Army.”
As Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, Amin will oversee an office dedicated to the protection of the American intellectual property.
He comes to OMB from the House Judiciary Committee where he serves a senior counsel. This would be Amin’s second tenure in the White House as well, serving as associate director for domestic policy under President George W. Bush at the White House. He also spent time as the Department of Commerce’s special assistant and associate director for policy.
Trump announced two other nominations as well: Stephen Parente to be an assistant secretary of Health and Human Services for planning and evaluation and Kevin Hassett to be a member and the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.