What is the controversy around Neera Tanden’s Senate confirmation?
Indian American Neera Tanden, who was nominated by US President Joe Biden to head the White House Office of Management of Budget (OMB), faces a challenge as her nomination is due to be confirmed by the Senate. Senator Susan Collins and Mitt Romney said on Monday that they will oppose Tanden to lead the White House Budget Office, dealing a decisive blow to her hopes of confirmation.
The first blow to Tanden’s bid came on Friday when Senator Joe Manchin announced that he would oppose her, citing her controversial tweets. Without support from Manchin in an evenly divided Senate, Tanden needs backing from at least one Republican in order to be confirmed.
Who is Neera Tanden?
Tanden is a former Hillary Clinton aide and has worked with Clinton during her first presidential campaign in 2008 as well as in 2016. The 50-year-old was nominated by Biden in November to take over as the director of the Office of Management and Budget, a post which is responsible for managing the administration’s expenditure.
Tanden is an American political consultant and the president of the Centre for American Progress, a liberal advocacy organisation. Apart from Clinton, Tanden has also worked on several Democratic presidential campaigns, including those of Michael Dukakis in 1988, Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008. Notably, Tanden helped in drafting the Affordable Care Act under the Obama administration.
Why is her nomination in jeopardy?
Tanden is facing sharp opposition because of remarks that she made over the last four years, especially against Republicans. Tanden called Collins “the worst” and Senator Mitch McConnell, the top Republican, “Moscow Mitch” and “Voldemort”.
Collins and Romney on Monday announced that they would not vote to confirm her nomination after Manchin, a Democrat also said last week that he would not support Tanden in her bid.
In order to be approved, Tanden needs the support of all 50 Democrats in the evenly divided 100-member Senate, in the hope that vice president Kamala Harris will support her using the constitutionally mandated tie-breaker vote. After Manchin backing out, Tanden is down to 49 Democrats and desperately needs support from Republicans for her confirmation.
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