Neera Tanden’s confirmation to lead the White House Management and Budget Office in President Joe Biden’s administration is under serious threat after two centrist Republicans on Monday announced their opposition to his confirmation.
With Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.Va.) a no on her confirmation, Tanden needs at least one Republican vote to be confirmed in a 50-50 Senate. She won’t get that from Sen. Susan Collins of Maine or Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, both of which were seen as possible votes for Tanden.
Collins said in a statement Monday that Tanden “does not have the experience or the temperament to run this critical agency.” She added that “the candidate’s past actions demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity President Biden is committed to transcending,” citing tweets targeting GOP congressmen that Tanden has since suppressed.
A spokesperson for Romney said the senator “has criticized the extreme rhetoric of previous candidates, and that is consistent with that position.” He thinks it’s hard to get back to courtesy and respect with a candidate who posted a thousand mean tweets.
As chairman of the Center for American Progress, a Democratic establishment-aligned think tank, Tanden has maintained a combative presence on Twitter, targeting lawmakers on the left and right.
In the now-deleted tweets, for example, Tanden said Collins should be haunted by her “terrible treatment of Dr. [Christine Blasey] Ford ”in Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings in 2018 and called then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)“ Voldemort ”.
Collins and Romney’s announcements have not deterred the Biden administration, which has indicated it is still standing by the Tanden appointment.
But with key centrists already lined up against Tanden, it’s hard to see where Biden’s White House is finding the votes to save its confirmation.
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), another potential swing vote, has yet to announce how she plans to vote on Tanden. Assuming everyone else in the Democratic Senate caucus backs Tanden, Murkowski’s backing would save him the way to confirmation.
“I’m still visiting,” Murkowski told reporters on Monday when asked if she had decided to back the nomination.
Manchin, a conservative Democrat representing an increasingly Republican state, cited Tanden’s “overtly partisan” comments to explain his position.
“As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that permeates our politics,” Manchin said in a statement Friday. “In this time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever to chart a new bipartisan path that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation.
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