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Biden’s budget pick faces thorny Senate confirmation

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Dec 01, 2020 - 01:17 PM

WASHINGTON — Neera Tanden, US President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), faces a potentially stormy Senate confirmation with opposition coming from the right and strained relations with the left.

“Neera Tanden, who has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican senators whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed,” tweeted Drew Brandewie, communications director for Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas.

Tanden will need the approval of the currently Republican-controlled Senate to take up the powerful post of OMB director.

Josh Holmes, a former chief of staff to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, predicted that Tanden’s nomination was doomed, saying she was a “sacrifice to the confirmation gods.”

Tanden, 50, chief executive of the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think-tank, has been an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump.

While she has earned the enmity of Republicans through her biting Twitter feed, Tanden has also come under fire from the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.

Some supporters of Bernie Sanders accuse Tanden of helping former first lady Hillary Clinton thwart the Vermont senator’s 2016 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination.

Tanden has also come out against “Medicare for all,” the comprehensive health coverage scheme espoused by the left.

“Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden,” tweeted Briahna Joy Gray, the national press secretary for Sanders’s 2020 campaign.

Tanden’s nomination did draw some immediate Democratic support.

“I’ve known @neeratanden for over 2 decades,” tweeted Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey. “She’s brilliant and laser-focused on making our country a fairer place for all.”

Tweeted another Democratic senator, Sherrod Brown of Ohio: “Neera Tanden is smart, experienced, and qualified for the position of OMB Director.

“The American people decisively voted for change — Mitch McConnell shouldn’t block us from having a functioning government that gets to work for the people we serve.”

Tanden said she was “beyond honored” to be nominated.

“After my parents were divorced when I was young, my mother relied on public food and housing programs to get by,” she tweeted. “Now, I’m being nominated to help ensure those programs are secure, and ensure families like mine can live with dignity.”

Tanden was one of several members of Biden’s economic team revealed on Monday. Former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen was formally tapped for the role of Treasury Secretary.

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