Who will be the next Senate-confirmed OMB Director?

It’s Wednesday and here are a few PredictIt forecasts worth keeping an eye on: President Joe Biden is looking for a new name to head the Office of Management and Budget after Neera Tanden withdrew her consideration. Plus, we dive into California’s recall effort of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) and how new political alliances could spell trouble for Czech Republic Prime Minister Andrej Babiš this fall.

*Market prices updated as of 11 a.m. EST.

Who will be the next Senate-confirmed OMB Director?

The White House announced on Tuesday evening that Neera Tanden had withdrawn her nomination to be President Joe Biden’s top budget official. The move capped a tumultuous few weeks surrounding the fight over her nomination.

Tanden, who would have been the first woman of color to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), faced scrutiny over social media posts she had written about Republicans and progressive Democrats alike in her previous role heading the Center for American Progress think tank. learn more about Who will be the next Senate-confirmed OMB Director?

Her nomination began to unravel when Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) pulled his support, citing the need for comity. Tanden met with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) on Monday in a last-ditch bid by the White House to attract Republican support. Though by the time the nomination had been pulled, both Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) also had not definitively said how they would vote on Tanden, meaning her nomination could have been doomed even with a “yes” from Murkowski.

A handful of names have circulated as a potential replacement. Shalanda Young, a longtime congressional staffer who on Wednesday underwent a confirmation hearing to be the deputy OMB director, is seen by many as the most likely nominee. Some senators have already voiced support for Young should she be tapped to lead the agency.

“I think you’re a highly qualified person for the job. Everybody that deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee. “You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it.”

Market Pulse: Heading into Tuesday’s trading, Young’s contract was seen by most traders as the most likely option if Tanden’s nomination required replacing. Launched on Feb. 22, the market tracking next Senate-confirmed OMB director showed Young as the early favorite over Tanden with the former’s contract priced at 63¢ and the latter at 12¢. Though that dynamic shifted on four days later as Tanden and Young swapped places.

By Monday, traders had priced a Tanden outcome some 20¢ above Young with hopes tied to Murkowski swinging the confirmation. The White House had other plans, of course, and Young’s contract jumped 53¢ to 74¢ at 5 p.m. EST and finished the day at 69¢. Gene Sterling and Ann O’Leary are seen by traders as early alternatives, although more as long shots priced at 13¢ and 11¢.

Prices at 5 a.m. EST: Who will be the next Senate-confirmed OMB Director?
Which of these 10 European leaders will leave office next?

Politics in the Czech Republic have long been characterized by fragmentation and volatility, with new parties appearing regularly, and even the most established parties experiencing periodic wipeouts at the hands of voters.

The 2017 election underlined this trend, with a record nine parties clearing the five percent threshold necessary for representation in the Chamber of Deputies (there are now 11 parties represented due to further splintering during the parliamentary term). Though, five of those parties scored less than 10 percent of the vote, which left them with only a handful of MPs each.

Unsurprisingly, a parliament composed of so many small parties, ranging from the hard-left Communists to the far-right Social Democratic Party (SPD) via a colorful array of conservatives, liberals, regionalists and pirates, has often struggled to provide a coherent opposition to Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. The prime minister’s ANO movement has successfully positioned itself in the center of the political spectrum with a non-ideological populism-lite, drawing the support of older, rural voters, ex-communists, and those disillusioned with other parties from across the spectrum, establishing a seemingly unassailable command over the political landscape.

All this may be in the process of changing — for two reasons. For one, Babiš — a billionaire businessman before entering politics — has seen his popularity hit by the pandemic and a slow vaccine rollout. And two, several of the parties in the fragmented opposition entered into negotiations to form electoral alliances for the general election in October.

The threat these alliances pose to ANO has swiftly become clear in opinion polls, with both now consistently polling over 20 percent, within a few percentage points of ANO, and Pirates and Mayors even taking the lead in a poll released in mid-February. Public support for the government’s handling of the crisis is now at 40 percent, down 12 percentage points since November, according to pollster STEM/MARK. The opposition parties have been keen to paint the government as incompetent and out-of-touch, and unwilling to accept suggestions and offers of help.

Market Pulse: It is far too early to start writing the prime minister’s political obituary, for many reasons. Firstly, the election is still eight months away. Secondly, even if the alliances manage to maintain their current favorable poll numbers, there is the issue of forming a new government; a coalition between the two blocs would include five parties. Much depends on the country’s experience of the pandemic between now and October, especially the roll-out of the vaccination program. The Czech Republic recorded the highest per capita infection rate in the world over the last week and has explored acquiring the Sputnik V vaccine even without approval by the EU’s drugs agency, the European Medicines Agency.

If events continue to go south for Babiš, we could see a race against time as Germany holds its general elections on Sept. 26. Formation of any government takes time, how long could be the decider in this market. Germany’s Angela Merkel is the early favorite to be the next European leader to leave office at 69¢, while Babiš stands at 11¢ as of 9 a.m. EST. Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi, is third at 6¢ and the Netherlands, which holds an election on March 17, has Mark Rutte fourth at 5¢.

Prices at 5 a.m. EST: Which of these 10 European leaders will leave office next?
Prices at 5 a.m. EST: Will there be enough signatures by Mar. 17 for a vote on recall of Gov. Newsom?