On November 30th, President Joe Biden nominated Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the largest office within the Executive Office of the President tasked with producing the President’s Budget Request, reviewing rules and regulations, and coordinating policy initiatives across multiple agencies. Ms. Tanden currently leads the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive think tank. Before leading CAP, Ms. Tanden was Senior Advisor for Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services in the Obama Administration. Ms. Tanden led Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign’s policy efforts and served as her Legislative Director while Clinton served in the Senate. Despite Ms. Tanden’s political prowess, it seems increasingly unclear if she will be confirmed.
President Biden described Ms. Tanden as “a brilliant policy mind…” while Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) described her as “radioactive” due to her Tweets attacking Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Bernie Sanders (I-VT). Earlier this month, the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and the Senate Budget Committee held hearings to consider her nomination. While the hearings focused on a number of Biden Administration policy initiatives, some Senators used the hearing as an opportunity to criticize her now-deleted Tweets.
On Friday, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) issued a press release, calling out her statements and indicating that he will not support her confirmation. On Monday, Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) joined Manchin. With Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, Ms. Tanden will need at least one Republican to vote for her. It is speculated that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) may vote for Ms. Tanden, but she told reporters that she is “still visiting” the nomination. Another key moderate, Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), remains undecided. Former OMB Director and Governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels announced his support for Ms. Tanden in an op-ed published in The Washington Post, arguing that confirming her would be “be a small and cost-free step toward reviving the comity and civility we have lost.”
It remains unclear whether Ms. Tanden’s nomination will move forward. On Saturday, Politico reported that former Director of the National Economic Council under the Clinton and Obama Administrations, Gene Sperling, may replace Ms. Tanden. Ann O’Leary, former Chief of Staff to California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) could also be nominated in Ms. Tanden’s place. A third potential candidate is Shalanda Young, who was nominated to serve as OMB’s Deputy Director. The Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees will hold business meetings to consider Ms. Tanden’s nomination tomorrow.