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Senate committee postpones hearing for imperiled budget nominee Neera Tanden

February 24, 2021

The Senate Homeland Security Committee is postponing a confirmation hearing scheduled Wednesday for Neera Tanden, Axios has learned, a potential death knell for President Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Why it matters: Tanden’s nomination was already in peril after several senators voiced their opposition. While the White House has continued to stand by her, the last-minute postponement is another indication of the tenuousness of her confirmation.

  • “We are postponing the business meeting because members are asking for more time to consider the nominee,” a committee aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we’re going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward.”
  • The meeting had been scheduled for 10 a.m. ET.
  • Axios reported on Monday that House Democrats were already planning for a replacement nominee.

Tanden has faced some questions from both parties about her qualifications, but the broadest criticism received was for past combative tweets.

  • Not only does she have a long history of attacking some of the Republican and Democratic senators called to vote upon her nomination, but her comments undercut Biden’s campaign promise to seek unity and work in a bipartisan fashion.
  • Last week, a fellow Democrat — Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia — said he would not vote to confirm her, and this week, three Republicans viewed as potential replacements in the 50-50 split Senate — Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah — also said they would vote no.
  • “Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend,” Collins said in a statement.

The White House remained steadfast, despite the criticism and meeting postponement.

  • “Neera Tanden is a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during the this time of unprecedented crisis,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement to Axios.
  • Tanden, an ally of 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, currently leads the Center for American Progress.
  • Other supporters have accused Tanden’s opponents of hypocrisy, noting Manchin and many Republican senators voted to confirm nominees of President Trump who also had posted caustic tweets.

Be smart: Tanden has tried to make amends by deleting her tweets, apologizing for any offense and pledging to be an OMB director who works in a bipartisan fashion.

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