Senate confirmation for Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, is becoming increasingly unlikely after one Democrat and key Republicans announced that they would vote against her.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Rob Portman and Pat Toomey all said that they would vote against Tanden’s confirmation, joining West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin who announced his opposition Sunday. Without Manchin, Tanden would fall one vote short of confirmation, assuming that every Republican votes against her.
The recent announcements all cited Tanden’s Twitter feed, where she insulted Republican and Democratic lawmakers while leading the left-leaning Center for American Progress.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator [Bernie] Sanders to Senator [Mitch] McConnell and others,” Manchin said in a press release. “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. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
Despite the growing opposition to Tanden’s confirmation, the White House reiterated its support for her confirmation.
“The president nominated her because he believed she’d be a stellar OMB director,” Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “She has two committee votes this week, and we’re working toward that and we’ll continue to work in supporting her nomination.”
Psaki also said that the Biden administration believed that she would receive 50 votes, allowing Vice President Kamala Harris to act as a tie-breaker, but did not further elaborate.
Without the support of Manchin and Republican moderates like Collins, Romney, Portman and Toomey, there are fewer paths for Tanden to be successfully confirmed. Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski has not said whether she intends to support her confirmation. It’s also not clear that every Democrat will ultimately vote in Tanden’s favor.
Arizona Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who has already broken with her party on several key issues, declined to comment when reporters asked if she would vote for Tanden. Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who Tanden also criticized throughout his 2016 presidential campaign and who chaired her confirmation hearing, has also not said whether he intends to support her.
Tanden deleted over 1,000 tweets ahead of the hearing, and apologized for her remarks while testifying. She had previously called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “Voldemort,” called Collins “the worst” and said that former Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake was “criminally ignorant.”
Flake, who left office in 2019, announced his unlikely support for Tanden’s confirmation, calling her “smart, experienced and qualified to lead OMB.”
Democrats have also reportedly acknowledged in private that Tanden’s nomination may be doomed, with one senator telling CNN that the Biden administration is “going to have to pull her.”
If Tanden’s nomination fails, she would be the first of Biden’s cabinet picks to not be confirmed. Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed 57-43, the closest margin thus far, though several other nominees are expected to face contentious confirmation hearings as well.
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