Democrat Senator Joe Manchin opposes Biden budget pick over her ‘toxic’ tweets

‘No’ vote by Manchin will likely sink Neera Tanden’s nomination with the Senate split 50:50

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Friday 19 February 2021 22:07 GMT
Awkward moment Bernie Sanders confronted Biden’s nominee over her nasty tweets about him
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Senator Joe Manchin has announced he opposes the nomination of Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management & Budget, Neera Tanden.

The West Virginia Democrat said in a statement: “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 & Budget. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”

With the Senate split 50:50, his opposition could sink Ms Tanden’s nomination.

Mr Manchin says he carefully reviewed Ms Tanden’s public statement and tweets “that were so personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle”.

He cited attacks by Ms Tanden on Senator Bernie Sanders and Senator Mitch McConnell, and others, as being behind his reasoning.

The senator adds: “As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics. At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation.”

Ms Tanden was confronted with her past tweets about Republicans and the progressive wing of the Democratic Party during her confirmation hearings.

Appearing before the Senate Budget Committee she faced Mr Sanders, Independent Senator for Vermont, with whom she has previously sparred.

He reminded her of: “Vicious attacks made against progressives. People whom I have worked with… me personally.”

While the pair have shared political goals, and Mr Sanders has said that he would support her nomination, they have a contentious relationship dating back to her support for Hillary Clinton, his challenger for the Democratic nomination in 2016.

In her opening statement to the committee, Ms Tanden said she regretted some of her past social media posts and apologised.

At a hearing in front of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee the day before, Ohio senator Rob Portman, the leading Republican, noted that in the past she had criticised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, and Susan Collins of Maine.

Mr Portman awkwardly reminded Ms Tanden that she called Senator Collins “the worst”, said that Senator Cotton “is a fraud”, said that “vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz”, and called Senator McConnell “Moscow Mitch” and “Voldemort”.

He added that “there are still nine pages of tweets about Senator Cruz”.

Senator James Lankford of Oklahoma noted that, more generally, she had called Republicans “criminally ignorant”, “corrupt”, and “the worst”.

Ms Tanden described herself as an “impassioned advocate” in her previous role, adding: “I understand, though, that the role of OMB Director calls for bipartisan action, as well as a nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence.”

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