Fight over Neera Tanden's nomination not over yet, White House says

Pablo Tucker
February 26, 2021

Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies at her confirmation hearing.

"Senator Romney has been critical of extreme rhetoric from prior nominees, and this is consistent with that position", Romney's spokeswoman said. Collins blamed Tanden's past actions and said they "demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend".

Then, on Friday, Democrat Joe Manchin announced he would vote against Tanden. In the current Senate, which is split 50/50, all Biden needs is unity from his own side, with Vice-President Kamala Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote if necessary. And I think that Neera is great and I think that she's qualified.

The 25 most rural states elect 50 of the Senate's 100 members - and 40 of those 50 are now Republicans.

There may have been better reasons to oppose Tanden's nomination, but this death by a thousand tweets will be remembered as the one that did her in.

While the White House has publicly backed Tanden, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeting White House was "looking ahead to the committee votes this week and continuing to work toward her confirmation", The Hill reports the officials are already considering backup plans.

While Biden has seen blue-chip national security selections such as Antony Blinken as secretary of state and Lloyd Austin at the Pentagon installed, the focus on nominees whose portfolios touch on some of the most sensitive domestic political issues is bringing the confirmation process to a contentious crescendo.

Signatories to the letter warn that Tanden's potential tenure in the Biden Administration risks being "marked by more naked partisanship and influence peddling than fair mindedness and sober diligence toward the well-being of all Americans". Tanden's judgment was lousy when she got her hands on her Twitter account.

According to Politico on Thursday, Kennedy expressed remorse for calling Tanden names - only to argue that he was simply trying to find a toned-down way of referring to Tanden as "a neo-socialist, left-of-Lenin whack job".

Sanders, who now heads the Senate Budget Committee which must give a preliminary approval for her confirmation, said at a panel hearing last week, "There were vicious attacks made against progressives, people who I have worked with, me personally". She described herself as an "impassioned advocate" in her role at the Center for American Progress.

"I deeply regret and apologize for my language - some of my past language", she said.

She raised the fact that Tanden deleted a series of partisan tweets before Biden announced her nomination, saying it raised "concerns" about her "commitment to transparency".

"The situation of this unhinged president could not be more unsafe, and we must do everything that we can to protect the American people from his unbalanced assault on our country and our democracy", Pelosi said in a letter.

The White House will need to look to other moderate Republican senators to support Ms. Tanden's nomination to ensure it clears the Senate.

In response to questions from Manchin and others, Haaland said the USA will continue to rely on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas even as it moves toward Biden's goal of net zero carbon emissions by mid-century.

Rep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her "radical" ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Other reports by iNewsToday