Management

Tanden's bid to lead OMB in doubt as Senate committees postpone votes

neera tanden in dec 2020 shutterstock photo id 1864905433 by  john smith williams  

Tanden in December 2020. (Photo credit: John Smith Williams/Shutterstock.com)

Two Senate committees postponed scheduled Wednesday votes on the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden will need Republican votes to win Senate confirmation, and so far none appears to be forthcoming.

Tanden's nomination has been in trouble because of the nominee's history of launching Twitter barbs at political opponents of both parties while she was president of the liberal think tank, Center for American Progress.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), a critical swing vote, announced last week that he would vote against Tanden's nomination if it reached the floor of the Senate. Several potential supporters across the aisle, including Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Mitt Romney (R-Utah) have indicated their opposition to her nomination.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) a member of the Senate Homeland and Government Affairs Committee -- one of the committees set to vote on Tanden's nomination – has yet to disclose how she plans to vote. Sen. Lisa Murakowski (R-Alaska), a potential crossover vote, has declined to answer questions from the press on her vote.

President Joe Biden told reporters on Tuesday that he thought the administration had a "good shot" at getting her confirmed.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeted support for Tanden this morning after the Senate Budget Committee and the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee meetings were delayed.

"Neera Tanden is a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis," she wrote. "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."

Some observers are sensing a double standard at play, especially considering the intemperate social media habits of former President Donald Trump and some of his nominees.

"We can disagree with her tweets, but in the past, Trump nominees that they've confirmed and supported had much more serious issues and conflicts than just something that was written on Twitter," Rep. Grace Meng (D-N.Y.) said in an interview with Politico.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who served as OMB director under the George W. Bush administration, said that Tanden's Twitter history would make it harder for her to lead a critical agency that is at the heart of government operations.

"I believe that the tone, the content, and the aggressive partisanship of some of your public statements have added to the troubling trend of more incivility and division in our public life. And in your case I’m concerned that your personal attacks about specific senators will make it more difficult for you to work with them," he said in a statement after her confirmation hearing.

About the Author

Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.

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