Neera Tanden, Biden's likely candidate for the next director of the Office of Management and Budget, will face strong resistance in confirmation.
U.S. Senator Joe Manchin III said he will oppose President Biden's choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget, thereby raising the possibility that she would not be accepted.
A day after Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-WV) announced that he would oppose the appointment of Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, which is part of the executive branch, her nomination is threatened in an evenly divided Senate.
The statement by Senator Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, demonstrated the tenuous status of the current Democratic majority in the Senate and the outsized influence exercised by any one senator in helping to effectively push out Mr. Biden's administration and agenda.
Ms. Tanden's nomination is now in the hands of a group that she has often opposed, primarily moderate Republicans that she has previously scorned. To be approved, Tanden will need the support of one or more Republican senators, as well as that of Vice President Harris to break a tie.
It is questionable if such support exists, considering Ms. Tanden's history of previous critical public comments and posts on Twitter about both parties.
Manchin quoted Tanden's remarks, some of which were aimed at McConnell, the Republican leader; Sanders, the independent in charge of the Senate Budget Committee; and other colleagues.
Mr. Manchin thinks that if she sticks to her political rhetoric, Ms. Warren's remarks may have a toxic and harmful effect on Congress's working relationship with the new director of the Office of Management and Budget. I cannot however support her appointment. I have previously mentioned that we must work to end the political discord and chaos that pervades our politics.
According to Mr. Biden, he did not intend to withdraw her nomination.
“I believe we will locate the votes, and she will be confirmed,” he said.
The White House's Jen Psaki made the argument in a tweet, saying: “Neera Tanden is an accomplished policy expert, and she would make an excellent budget director. We expect the committee to vote on her confirmation this week, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Congress to help make that happen.
But Mr. Manchin's opposition could cause the nomination to be abandoned entirely, should Republicans remain unified in opposition.
Tanden will be the first black woman to lead the OMB, an organization that is central to the administration's economic and policy agendas. But Mr. Biden’s decision to appoint her even before Democrats took control of the Senate in January shocked many lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill, considering the narrow margins in the upper chamber and Ms. Tanden’s prolific venom on social media.
A senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, Ms. Tanden had regularly clashed with Mr. Sanders and other influential liberals even after the end of the primary race that year. When she was officially nominated to run the budget department, Ms. Tanden deleted more than 1,000 derogatory tweets, and liberal senators rallied to her defense.
But she faced stern questioning from both Republicans and Democrats during her two confirmation hearings this month, with senators from both parties investigating her past tweets and comments and grilling her about the millions of dollars of corporate contributions that her think tank, Center for American Progress, got.
Republicans spent the first hour of her first hearing before a Senate homeland security committee pressing Ms. Tanden to explain her past tweets and why she deleted more than 1,000 shortly after the November election.
Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and a former director of the Office of Management and Budget, read aloud articles in which she called Mr. McConnell “Moscow Mitch” and said that “vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz,” a Republican senator from Texas.
Her second hearing was no less fiery, with Mr. Sanders questioning Ms. Tanden about her history of leveling personal attacks on social media. He also requested information about the contributions the Center for American Progress obtained from businesses under her leadership and a promise that it would not affect her work in the Biden administration.
Ms. Tanden apologised to legislators at both hearings, saying she regretted several of her previous comments, and she promised that the donations would bear no weight over her position as budget director.
“I worry less about what Mrs. Tanden did in the past than what she’s going to do in the future,” Mr. Sanders said Friday night on CNN. “I’m talking to her early next week.”
Many Democrats accused Republicans of falsely singling out Ms. Tanden’s social media posts after years of evading questions about President Donald J. Trump’s comments, even though they espoused racial and abusive commentary or targeted their own colleagues.
“Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding,” Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, said at the time. “If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are better directed at President Trump. I fully expect to see some crocodile tears poured on the other side of the aisle over the president-elect’s cabinet nominees.”
Mr. Biden’s pick for deputy director of the department, Shalanda Young, is valued by lawmakers and aides in both parties after working as staff director for House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee. The first Black woman to serve in the post, she helped wrangle the agreement that ended the nation’s longest government shutdown in 2019 and the coronavirus relief packages Congress passed in 2020.