Heather Higginbottom is President Obama’s nominee to be deputy budget director at the Office of Management and Budget. A vote on her nomination is scheduled for today.
What sort of experience does Higginbottom bring to this important post? None, really. A distinctly unimpressed Jeff Sessions (R-AL) notes that she has “no formal budget training or experience,” while “her predecessors average 6.5 years of such experience, often many more.” She’s an Obama campaign operative, not a budget expert. She admitted that she doesn’t even have accounting skills.
Her confirmation hearings did not go well. Sessions showed her a chart showing how the debt grows ever year under the President’s budget, then read obviously false statements from the President that “we will not be adding more to the debt.”
When he asked Higginbottom to reconcile this with the principle of honesty from the Office of Management and Budget. She froze up, mumbling that she could not “express how the American people would hear” the President’s statements, and she “was not sure exactly” what he and his budget director had said. This was not an ambush question – Sessions notified her in advance that he would cover the topic. Common sense should have made that notification redundant.
She couldn’t describe the budget in anything except the vaguest terms, and openly admitted to being unfamiliar with the deficit totals from its later years. It appeared as if she had not studied at all for her own confirmation hearing, and wanted to talk about airy policy goals instead of hard and fast fiscal realities. “I’m not an accountant,” she told Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts. “The president’s budget is an articulation of his policy agenda.” We need less articulation and more budgeting – the kind where expenses bear some passing resemblance to income.
This nomination is a clear example of how little President Obama cares about his responsibilities, as opposed to his desires and goals. The Office of Management and Budget is not a campaign office, and Heather Higginbottom’s job would not be writing copy for fundraising letters. Our government is a fiscal disaster that dwarfs anything ever seen in the private sector. It could not pass even the most rudimentary audit of its finances. Imagine the CEO of a bankrupt corporation with incoherent books trotting out someone with Higginbottom’s resume to be one of his budget directors. If the stockholders didn’t get him, the IRS would.