White House Continues to Back Controversial OMB Nominee Tanden as Senate Panel Postpones Hearing

Connor Grant | February 24, 2021

The Senate Homeland Security Committee postponed a confirmation hearing on Wednesday for Neera Tanden, President Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The hearing’s postponement may be a sign that Tanden will not receive enough votes in the Senate for confirmation due to her controversial past tweets. 

Last week, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement expressing his opposition to Tanden leading the OMB. 

“I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Manchin said last Friday.

The “statements” Manchin was referring to were tweets made by Tanden in which she harshly and inappropriately criticized politicians such as Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). 

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Due to Manchin's intention to vote against the confirmation, Democrats will need one Republican senator to vote on their side in order to achieve the simple majority vote necessary to confirm Tanden. Three moderate Republicans who were thought to be potential candidates to cross party lines on the vote announced this week that they will not vote to confirm.

According to Axios, Senators Susan Collins (R-Maine), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) cited reasons similar to Manchin's.

"Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend," Collins said in a statement.

Despite the controversy surrounding Tanden and the grim likelihood of her confirmation, the Biden Administration continues to back their nominee. During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked if Tanden had offered to withdraw her nomination.

"That’s not the stage we’re in," Psaki responded. She further added that Tanden’s potential confirmation is a “numbers game," referring to the one Republican vote needed. 

In a statement to Axios, Psaki said, "Neera Tanden is a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis."