Politics

Susan Collins Opposes Neera Tanden’s Confirmation as OMB Director

Neera Tanden, President Biden’s nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget testifies before a Senate Committee in Washington, D.C., February 10, 2021.
(Andrew Harnik/Reuters)

Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah) will not support Neera Tanden’s nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget, further endangering the confirmation of President Biden’s nominee.

“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,” Collins said in a statement on Monday. “Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency.”

A source reportedly told Politico that Romney “has been critical of extreme rhetoric from prior nominees” and “believes it’s hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets.”

The Republicans’ opposition comes after Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Friday he would not support Tanden’s nomination, citing her “overtly partisan statements.”

“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others,” Manchin said in a statement. “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,” he said.

The moderate Democrat’s opposition imperils Tanden’s confirmation with the Senate evenly divided between the parties. Without Manchin’s support, Tanden would need backing from at least one Republican.

Without Romney and Collins, that prospect is increasingly unlikely. 

However, the White House is still backing Tanden, with White House press secretary Jen Psaki defending the nominee as an “accomplished policy expert” in a tweet after Collins’s announcement.

Tanden “would be 1st Asian American woman to lead OMB, has lived experience having benefitted from a number of federal programs as a kid, looking ahead to the committee votes this week and continuing to work toward her confirmation,” Psaki wrote.

On Friday, Biden said he would not pull his nomination and expressed confidence that he would be able to “find the votes to get her confirmed.”

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week, Tanden apologized for her tweets attacking a number of lawmakers.

“I deeply regret and apologize for my language and some of my past language. I recognize that this role is a bipartisan role, and I know I have to earn the trust of senators across the board,” she said.

Tanden, who is president of the Center for American Progress, deleted more than 1,000 insulting tweets ahead of her nomination.

Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) read some of the tweets for the senators who will vote on her nomination.

“You wrote that Susan Collins is ‘the worst,’ that Tom Cotton is a fraud, that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz, you called Leader McConnell ‘Moscow Mitch’ and Voldemort,” Portman said.

The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with Tanden on Wednesday.

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