President Joe Biden may suffer the first major defeat of his tenure in office as it increasingly appears that his nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget, Democratic operative Neera Tanden, will fall short of the votes necessary for confirmation.
Tanden, an intensely partisan advocate of the Democratic establishment with an extensive history of fierce attacks on Republicans and certain progressive Democrats, appears to have failed to garner sufficient support for her confirmation, The Daily Wire reported.
Portman opposed to Tanden
The latest to publicly announce opposition to Tanden’s nomination is Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), a moderate that Democrats were hoping would side with them in supporting Biden’s pick to lead the OMB.
“When President Biden announced his intention to nominate Ms. Tanden as OMB Director, I expressed concern and urged him to reconsider,” Portman said in a statement. “As a former OMB Director, I know that the OMB Director has to be able to work productively with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle.”
“I believe that the tone, the content, and the aggressive partisanship of some of Ms. Tanden’s public statements will make it more difficult for her to work effectively with both parties in this role,” he continued. “I’m also concerned about her decision to delete thousands of tweets in the month after the election and the lack of transparency in her decision to do so, as well as her lack of experience on key issues for OMB, such as the regulatory and budgeting processes.”
“While the president has the right to choose his own Cabinet, and thus far I have supported all of this administration’s nominees, I will not be supporting the confirmation of Ms. Tanden,” Portman added.
Manchin opposes Tanden
A few days earlier, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) also released a statement following his review of Tanden’s past remarks against both Republicans and some Democrats. “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,” he said.
“For this reason, I cannot support her nomination,” the senator added. “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.”
Given the 50-50 split in the Senate, Manchin’s refusal to support Tanden meant that she would need at least one Republican to vote in support of her confirmation — a rather big ask, considering how vehemently she has attacked every single GOP member of the Senate over the years.
Eyes shift to Murkowski and Sinema
That seems increasingly unlikely to occur, especially in light of an Axios report that revealed Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mitt Romney (R-UT) both said they will vote against Tanden’s nomination.
Politico reported that attention has now shifted to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who said she was “still visiting” Tanden’s nomination. The outlet also noted another potential Democratic defection that would almost immediately undermine Tanden’s chances, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), a fiercely independent moderate who rarely ever signals how she’ll vote, but is unlikely to take kindly to Tanden’s highly-partisan attacks.
Even with Tanden’s confirmation as OMB director in clear jeopardy, the Biden White House has refused to withdraw her nomination and replace her with someone more suited for working closely with members of both parties on budgetary issues.