Neera Tanden: Senate committee postpones confirmation hearing for Biden’s budget pick

President’s embattled nominee faces blowback for past tweets condemning Republicans and calling Mitch McConnell names like ‘Voldemort’ and ‘Moscow Mitch’

Chris Riotta
New York
Wednesday 24 February 2021 15:40 GMT
Related video: Senator Rob Portman reminds Neera Tanden of her tweets about Republican senators

A vote on whether to confirm President Joe Biden’s embattled nominee Neera Tanden to the role of Office of Management and Budget director has been delayed, according to multiple reports, amid criticism from several senators over her past comments.

Ms Tanden, who served a critical role under former President Barack Obama in drafting his landmark healthcare initiative, the Affordable Care Act, was heralded by the Biden administration as a top choice for OMB, which oversees federal agencies and the executive budget. 

However, her nomination faced an uphill battle as Republicans cited her past tweets and statements criticising prominent lawmakers like Senator Mitch McConnell (R—KY), whom she referred to online as “Voldemort” and “Moscow Mitch”. 

Her nomination was all but in peril when Senator Joe Manchin (D—WV) announced he would vote against Ms Tanden. By Tuesday morning, Axios reported the vote had been postponed. 

During her previous hearings with the Senate Homeland Security Committee, senators suggested her past comments reflected a partisan tone they worried would continue during her tenure in the White House. 

A committee aide reportedly told the news outlet: “We are postponing the business meeting because members are asking for more time to consider the nominee. The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we’re going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward.”

But it was unclear how Ms Tanden might pass a vote in the evenly divided Senate amid possible defections from within the Democratic Party, including Mr Manchin as well as Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D—AZ). 

It also remained unclear how Ms Sinema intended to vote on the nominee, which, according to CNN, caused concern among committee leaders. 

In a statement released on Tuesday morning, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki described Ms Tanden as “a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis”. 

“She also has important perspective and values, understanding firsthand the powerful difference policy can make in the lives of those going through hard times,” the statement read. “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.”

Republicans who some thought may have been willing to support the president’s nominee for the OMB role also expressed their opposition against Ms Tanden last week, including Senator Susan Collins (R—ME), who said in a statement: “Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in