Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead President Biden’s White House Office of Management and Budget is in serious doubt after the two Senate committees in charge of vetting her candidacy postponed votes that would have set up a final floor vote.
The Senate Homeland Security and Senate Budget committees both delayed planned Wednesday votes on Tanden’s nomination, congressional aides told the Washington Examiner. If cleared by the panels, the president of the Center for American Progress would then be considered by the full chamber.
Tanden’s confirmation hit a hurdle last week when Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced he wouldn’t support her. Manchin’s endorsement was critical in a 50-50 seat Senate, meaning the White House needed to convince a Republican to back her instead. But as centrist senators, including Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Mitt Romney of Utah, announced that they, too, would not vote for her, Tanden’s nomination pathway became slimmer.
The senators are objecting to sharp language she used online about Republican lawmakers and some Democrats, including Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders. Corporate donations she secured while running the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, bothered some liberal lawmakers.
The Biden administration on Tuesday was adamant Tanden was the only nominee it was supporting for budget chief, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeting again Wednesday that she was “a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis.
“She has a broad spectrum of support, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to labor unions, and has a strong record of working with both parties that we expect to grow in President Biden’s cabinet as the first South Asian woman to lead OMB,” she said.