President Biden abandoned its push to implement Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget amid bipartisan Senate opposition, withdrawing her nomination Monday evening and marking her the first casualty of a failed confirmation amid a divided Senate to become one of his cabinet picks.
“I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience, and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Biden said in a statement.
In the statement, Tanden asked a letter that her nomination be withdrawn where she acknowledged she had no chance of being confirmed.
“I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation,” Tanden wrote. “Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities.”
Biden’s Chief of Staff Ron Klain admitted late February that her chances of being confirmed were slimmed, but were “fighting our guts out” to get her confirmed. But he also stated that if all plans fail, the White House would find a position for Tanden in the Biden administration, that didn’t require a Senate confirmation.
Tanden, a former senior adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and president of a far-left think tank aligned Center for American Progress group had come under fire for her past personal insults tweets towards GOP Senators as well as Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) became the first senator to publicly oppose Tanden’s confirmation.
“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. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination,” Manchin said in a statement.
Following the news of Manchin announcing that he would vote against Tanden, several Republicans known for crossing the aisle said they would oppose her nomination causing two Senate committees to postpone votes on her nomination.
Senators Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Rob Portman of Ohio all delivered a triple blow separately opposing Tanden’s nomination and crushing any hopes of confirming her to run the most powerful post to implement Biden’s federal spending policies.
However, Sanders was among the lawmakers who repeatedly declined to say how he would vote on Tanden’s confirmation, telling CNN shortly Tuesday before the White House pulled the nomination that he would “make that decision when the vote takes place.”
The White House dismissed those four Senators’ opposition, emphasizing that Tanden met with 46 senators and noting that she won the backing of several key outside groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
“The president nominated Neera Tanden because she is qualified because she is experienced, because she has a record of working with people who agree and disagree with her,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said late last month.
However, a senior administration official admitted Tuesday night that both Biden and Tanden had agreed to give up the push for her nomination after Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R- AK) made it clear to the White House earlier that she would not vote for her confirmation.
Shalanda Young, the first Black woman to serve as the staff director for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee and Biden’s choice for deputy director of the budget office, was seen as the leading contender to replace Tanden, according to people close to the White House said privately after the two Senate committees postponed its votes last week.
During Young’s confirmation hearing for her deputy director nomination on Tuesday, senators from both parties signaled they would support her nomination as Biden’s budget chief.
“I think you’re a highly qualified person for the job. Everybody that deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee said. “You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it.”
Graham added, “You’ll get my support maybe for both jobs, who knows,” referring to both positions as deputy director and OMB director.
The failing to get Tanden confirmed is seen as a blow to Biden who argued that his 36 years as a senator would allow him to gather bipartisan support for his policies. But since taking office, Biden is struggling to turn another empty promise into reality. His administration is pressing forward in making sure they have all 50 Democrats needed to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion pork-filled stuffed dubbed as a COVID relief package despite Senate Republicans coming out against the bill.