Ueland, Grady Said to Be in Running for Top OMB Job

By Jonathan Nicholson

Nov. 21 — Two names—one a long-time Capitol Hill procedural expert and the other a past senior official at the Office of Management and Budget—have been circulated as the possible head of the OMB in a Trump administration.

Eric Ueland, the Republican staff director of the Senate Budget Committee, would provide insider knowledge of both the politics and the process that a Donald Trump White House would need to get major legislation passed. Robert Grady, a partner in San Francisco-based Gryphon Investors private equity firm, would be the experienced OMB hand, having held a top post there in the George H.W. Bush years.

Both names have been cited by on- and off-Capitol Hill budget followers in the days since Trump was elected. Both would provide some trade-offs should they be selected. Neither opted to comment on the speculation when contacted by Bloomberg BNA.

Long-Time Staffer

Ueland is a long-time Capitol Hill hand known for his expertise with Senate procedure. Ueland was the chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) from 2005 to 2007 before leaving Capitol Hill in 2007 to work for the Duberstein Group, a lobbying firm. In 2013, he returned to the Hill as chief of staff for the Budget Committee.

Having worked on the bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act that was vetoed by President Barack Obama (H.R. 3762) and knowing what is and isn’t possible under the Senate’s budget reconciliation rules would make Ueland invaluable in the administration. But it would also mean yanking that expertise from the Senate floor right as it is likely to be needed, as Republicans turn to the budget to move controversial policies.

Those problems wouldn’t exist if Grady were nominated. In the George H.W. Bush administration’s OMB, Grady served as associate director for natural resources, energy and science, as well as executive associate director of OMB and deputy assistant to the president. Grady has also been a partner at Cheyenne Capital Fund and the Carlyle Group.

Grady also served as chairman of the investment policy committee of the New Jersey State Investment Council during New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s first term. With Christie’s star seeming to dim in Trump’s eyes, it is an open question whether association with Christie has hurt Grady’s chances. Both off-Hill experts who offered Grady’s name said it was discussed before the seeming falling-out Christie has appeared to have with Trump.

The two may not be the only names Trump will look at, though. Trump has cast a wide net and included several non-traditional candidates for other positions. Answered one high-profile Republican budget expert when asked last week: “I know nothing.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jonathan Nicholson in Washington at jnicholson@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at phendrie@bna.com

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