Longtime Democratic operator Neera Tanden has drawn bipartisan criticism for critical Trump-era tweets
President Joe Biden’s appointment of Neera Tanden to head the White House’s Office of Management and Budget, a key role in domestic politics, has encountered problems in the US Senate.
In the equally divided 50-50 Senate, a combination of Republican opposition and potential Democratic defections is jeopardizing Tanden’s prospects.
Two Senate committees have postponed meetings scheduled for Wednesday to vote to advance Tanden’s nomination to the full Senate, putting his confirmation on hold.
The delays in the Senate Budget and Homeland Security committees came after Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat Biden’s team needs to advance their Senate agenda, said he would not vote for confirm Tanden.
Another Democrat centrist, Senator Kyrsten Sinema, has so far refrained from expressing support for Tanden.
Tanden is the chairman of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic-leaning think tank, and a former Senate senior aide to 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki released a statement on Twitter on Wednesday expressing support for Tanden after Senate committee meetings were postponed.
“She enjoys a wide range of backers, ranging from the American Chamber of Commerce to unions, and has a solid track record of working with both parties that we plan to develop in President Biden’s cabinet as the first South woman. Asian to lead the OMB, ”Psaki said. Tanden is the daughter of Indian immigrants.
Neera Tanden is a leading political expert bringing essential skills to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis.
– Jen Psaki (@PressSec) February 24, 2021
Manchin released a statement on February 19 after reviewing Tanden’s tweets, which have now been deleted.
“His openly partisan statements will have a toxic and damaging impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Bureau of Management and Budget,” Manchin said.
“We must take meaningful action to end the political division and dysfunction that permeates our politics,” he said.
Tanden’s Democratic supporters cried foul after it emerged that Manchin’s opposition to Tanden was perhaps more personal than principled.
In 2016 on Twitter, Tanden slammed Manchin’s daughter Heather Bresch, the former CEO of drugmaker Mylan NV for taking advantage of excessive price hikes in EpiPen supplies.
The idea that only the CEO contributes to the growth of a company and not all the employees is really pernicious https://t.co/2d9xgU0IHJ
– Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) August 27, 2016
Bresch made between $ 15 million and $ 20 million a year as CEO of Mylan before retiring last year with the acquisition of Mylan by US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
As Tanden’s nomination stalled, alternative names for the OMB director surfaced among the main Democrats on Capitol Hill, according to a Washington Post report.
According to the report, Shalanda Young, a former senior assistant on the House Appropriations Committee, who was appointed by Biden to the post of deputy director of the OMB, has become one of the main candidates. African-American, she has the support of the Congressional Black Caucus.
Adding to Tanden’s woes, the White House did not notify Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders in advance of his appointment, according to a Politico media report. Sanders and Tanden disagreed publicly during his presidential run against Biden in 2020 and his contest with Clinton in 2016.