Politics

Neera Tanden withdraws from nomination as Biden budget chief

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Key Points
  • President Joe Biden said Tuesday he is withdrawing the nomination of Neera Tanden as his budget chief at her request.
  • Tanden, in a letter to Biden, said, "Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities."
  • She also wrote that it was "an honor of a lifetime to be considered" for the post of director of the Office of Management and Budget.
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Neera Tanden withdraws from consideration as OMB director

President Joe Biden said Tuesday that he is withdrawing the nomination of Neera Tanden as his budget chief at her request, a move that came after signs she would fail to win Senate confirmation because of past critical Twitter posts about lawmakers.

Biden also said that he expected Tanden, whom he had tapped to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, to land another "role in my Administration." But the president not identify what that job might be.

Tanden's withdrawal is the first case of a Biden Cabinet nominee failing to win Senate approval.

In a letter to Biden, Tanden wrote, "I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation."

"Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities," wrote Tanden, who is president of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress.

Tanden's nomination was in doubt after three senators — Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Maine Republican Susan Collins — said they would vote against her because of her history criticizing lawmakers on both sides of the political aisle.

That criticism was archived in the more than 1,000 tweets that Tanden reportedly deleted before the confirmation process began.

Democrats hold majority control in the Senate by the slimmest of margins. Two independents caucus with 48 Democrat senators, giving them the same number of votes as the 50-senator Republican caucus.

Vice President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, holds the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, giving her party the power to approve nominations and legislation if the caucus remains unified.

Manchin's refusal to back Tanden, coupled with the difficulty in getting a Republican to support her, made Tanden's path to confirmation very narrow.

During her confirmation hearing, Tanden was questioned about her past tweets, which included comparing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to the Harry Potter villain Voldemort, and writing that "vampires have more heart" than Sen. Ted Cruz, a Texas Republican.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent, also had pointed out Tanden's "vicious attacks" against him and other progressives in the past, particularly when Sanders ran against former senator and secretary of state Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic nomination.Tanden had been an advisor to Clinton's campaign.

At her confirmation hearings, Tanden said, "I deeply regret and apologize for my language, and some of my past language."

Biden, in a statement released by the White House, said of Tanden, "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration."

"She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work," the president said.

White House chief of staff Ron Klain last week had said, that if Tanden was not confirmed, "We will find some other place for her to serve in the administration that doesn't require Senate confirmation."