The choice of Joe Biden to head the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, has withdrawn her nomination after facing opposition from key Democratic and Republican senators over her previous controversial tweets.
His withdrawal marks the president’s first failure as he seeks Senate confirmation for his cabinet nominees.
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from the nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a statement. “I have the utmost respect for your record of achievement, your experience and your advice, and I look forward to you serving in a position in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work. “
Tanden’s confirmation had faced increasing difficulties. Republican senators who opposed his nomination cited tweets attacking members of both parties prior to his nomination. And last week, Joe Manchin, a conservative Democratic senator, announced that he would oppose her nomination, citing his tweets as well. That left Tanden short of the majority of votes needed in the Senate and on the committees involved.
Manchin, a key moderate swing vote in the Senate, said last month: “Your openly partisan remarks will have a toxic and damaging impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next head of the Office of Management and Budget.” .
Susan Collins, the Republican Senator from Maine, meanwhile, cited Biden’s own standard of conduct in opposing Tanden, stating in a statement: “His past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has vowed to transcend. “.
Tanden was an unexpected choice to lead Biden’s budget team. She is a longtime Hillary Clinton ally and has often openly criticized both Republicans and Democrats, especially Bernie Sanders supporters. Tanden has said in his confirmation hearings that he regretted past statements, but that was not enough to sway the required number of senators.
Eleven of the 23 Biden cabinet nominees requiring Senate approval have been confirmed, most with strong bipartisan support.
“Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no way forward to obtain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities,” Tanden wrote in a letter to Biden.
Tanden needed just 51 votes in an evenly divided Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as the tiebreaker. But without Manchin’s support, the White House had to struggle to find a Republican to back it.
A possible Republican vote, Lisa Murkowski, a senator from Alaska, told reporters early Tuesday that she had not yet made a decision on Tanden’s nomination.
The White House had stuck with Tanden even after several centrist Republicans made their opposition known, insisting that her experience growing in welfare and her experience working on progressive politics while running the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress made her on the right candidate for the moment.
Ron Klain, the White House chief of staff, initially insisted that the administration was “fighting with our guts” for her.
Tanden apologized during his confirmation hearing to “people from the left or right who are hurt by what I have said.” Right before the hearing, he deleted hundreds of tweets, many of which were critical of Republicans.
Collins cited those deleted tweets in his statement, saying the move “raises concerns about his commitment to transparency.” He said Congress “has to be able to trust that the OMB director will make countless decisions impartially, complying with the letter of the law and the intention of Congress.”
The head of the Office of Management and Budget is tasked with drawing up the administration’s budget, as well as overseeing a wide range of logistical and regulatory issues throughout the federal government.
Tanden’s withdrawal leaves the Biden administration without a clear replacement. The apparent favorite is Shalanda Young, a former staff director for the House appropriations committee who has been actively pushed by members of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Other names mentioned include Ann O’Leary, former chief of staff to Gavin Newsom, governor of California, and Gene Sperling, who served as chief economic adviser to Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism