First cabinet defeat for Biden as White House withdraws budget chief pick

Marco Green
Марта 3, 2021

President Biden withdrew the nomination of longtime Democratic policy advisor Neera Tanden to be his budget director, an acknowledgment that she could not win the 50 Senate votes needed to secure confirmation.

Tanden had served as head of the Center for American Progress, an economic think tank, when she issued her tweets, among them calling Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., "Voldemort", the Harry Potter villain; labeling Sen.

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Joe Biden on Tuesday abandoned his plan for Neera Tanden to be White House budget director after pushback from key senators, marking the first cabinet defeat for the USA president.

President Joe Biden today withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden for budget director.

"I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel", Biden said. "She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work". The Biden administration remained bullish on getting her confirmed, and looked toward Republican Sen.

"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", Tanden said in a letter to Biden, announcing her withdrawal.

With Tanden out, a leading contender for the nomination as budget director is Shalanda Young, a former senior aide on the House Appropriations Committee who was nominated to serve as the director's deputy. Joe Manchin said he opposed her nomination to lead the White House budget office last month. Susan Collins of ME and Mitt Romney of Utah, made clear they would vote against her, too, also citing her tweets.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska became the lone swing vote that could rescue Tanden's nomination. The pair met in person on Monday, but Murkowski reiterated a day later she was still undecided on her confirmation.

Tanden's history of caustic attacks on GOP lawmakers over social media as well as against independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and some of his supporters. As Republicans crafted their tax bill in late 2017, Tanden tweeted that Murkowski was "high on your own supply" and that her defense of the bill was "all garbage". Susan Collins, R-Maine, ultimately came out against her. Tom Cotton of Arkansas as a "fraud" on Twitter.

Tanden apologized during her confirmation hearing to 'people on either the left or right who are hurt by what I've said'.

Just prior to the hearing, she deleted hundreds more tweets, many of which were critical of Republicans.

As for Murkowski, she told The Hill newspaper that she did not tell the White House how she would vote on Tanden and the White House never asked her. After Manchin made his opposition public, two moderate Republicans who were considered among the most likely to support Tanden, Sens. At Tanden's second confirmation hearing on February 10, Sen. John Kennedy took aim at Tanden's social media activity, in particular hostile tweets about Sen. Biden had said he did not intend to pull Tanden's nomination and that he believed they would find the votes to get her confirmed.

After Manchin and Collins came out against Tanden's nomination, White House press secretary Jen Psaki released a statement in support of Tanden.

'We will continue of course to fight for the confirmation of every nominee that the president puts forward, ' Psaki insisted, but she added, 'We'll see if we have 50 votes'.

President Biden said Tuesday that he had accepted a request from Neera Tanden to withdraw her nomination for a Cabient position, the first such defeat of his administration.

She said Congress 'has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent'.

"It will have zero impact on my decision making", she said.

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