President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget has withdrawn from consideration for the post amid strong Senate opposition to her appointment.
Neera Tanden, whose history of partisan vitriol on social media had become a lightning rod for critics, officially took herself out of consideration on Tuesday.
“I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation. 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 officially withdrawing herself from consideration.
Tanden became the first Biden appointee not to be confirmed.
In a statement announcing her withdrawal, Biden indicated Tanden would have a soft landing elsewhere.
NEW: White House releases Neera Tanden’s letter to Biden withdrawing her nomination.
“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.” pic.twitter.com/TDNuHW0EDf
— Andrew Solender (@AndrewSolender) March 2, 2021
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said.
“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.”
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain had indicated that was the plan last week when he said that if Tanden could not be confirmed, “We will find some other place for her to serve in the administration that doesn’t require Senate confirmation,” according to CNBC.
Although Democrats control the evenly divided Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris can break a 50-50 tie, in this case, Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia broke ranks and joined the solid core of Republicans opposing Tanden’s confirmation.
Although he had not said he would oppose her, Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont also criticized Tanden, who serves as president of the Washington-based Center for American Progress think tank, for her comments attacking him when he opposed Hillary Clinton for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination.
That meant that Tanden’s only hope was to find a moderate Republican who would support her, given that most of the Senate’s 50 Republicans were solidly against her.
That did not go so well.
“Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency,” Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said, according to Politico. “Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.”
Collins said that Tanden’s decision to delete venomous tweets about political rivals “raises concerns about her commitment to transparency.”
Those tweets included a comment that Collins was “the worst,” and one that called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “Voldemort.”
Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who was among the senators opposed to Tanden’s appointment, said the “tone, the content, and the aggressive partisanship of some of Ms. Tanden’s public statements will make it more difficult for her to work effectively with both parties in this role,” ABC News reported.
Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah had also said he could not support Tanden.
Tanden courted support from Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who had not said which way she would vote as of the time Tanden withdrew.
Shalanda Young, who has been going through the confirmation process to serve as the deputy director, has emerged as a possible replacement for Tanden, according to The Washington Post.
During her hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Young, “You’ll get my support, maybe for both jobs.”
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