Neera Tanden’s nomination to Biden administration in jeopardy over past tweets

Neera Tanden’s nomination to Biden administration in jeopardy over past tweets
Indian-American policy expert Neera Tanden has been facing a tough time over the confirmation of her nomination as Director of Management and Budget, a high-ranking position in the Biden-Harris administration. Tanden's nomination is in jeopardy because of her past tweets against several Republican and Democratic lawmakers. Taking objection to “aggressive partisanship” of some of Tanden’s public statements, a Democratic senator and a number of moderate Republican senators announced that they would oppose her nomination.  However, continuing to back her nomination, the White House on Thursday said that it expects Tanden to have a high bar of civility and engagement when she joins the Biden administration to lead the Office of Management and Budget. Tanden, 50, is a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and served as president of the liberal-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. If  her nomination is confirmed, she would be the first woman of colour to lead the White House budget office, which leads efforts to ensure the administration's priorities are reflected in legislation and regulations. Tanden’s tweets that stirred controversy  Tanden's confirmation prospects were thrown into doubt over the last week after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he could not support her, citing her controversial tweets attacking members of both parties. “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," Manchin said in a statement. In some of her past tweets, Tanden had called Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas a “fraud”, referred to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as "Voldemort", and also wrote that vampires have more heart than Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. She has also disparaged some Democrats on social media, most notably Senator Bernie Sanders.  An op-ed in The Wall Street Journal said Tanden's nomination looks as if it is going to fail Senate confirmation because of her tweets. "In her years before the Twitter mast, Ms Tanden tweeted that Mitch McConnell was 'Voldemort' and 'Moscow Mitch', compared Ted Cruz unfavourably to vampires, called Tom Cotton a 'fraud', said that Bernie Sanders, a frequent Tanden target, was helped by Russia in the 2016 Democratic primaries, and called Sen. Collins's reasons for voting to confirm then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh a 'pathetically bad faith argument as cover for President Trump's vicious attacks on survivors of sexual assault'," The Wall Street Journal said. Tanden reportedly deleted more than 1,000 tweets before her confirmation process started. She had apologised to senators during her confirmation hearings earlier this month. Tanden acknowledged spending many months removing past Twitter posts, saying, “I deleted tweets because I regretted them.”  White House “fights” for Tanden’s nomination  The Senate is evenly divided between 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats and Tanden needs 51 votes, with Vice President Kamala Harris acting as a tiebreaker. With Democratic Senator Joe Manchin opposing her, Tanden will likely need support from at least one Republican to win confirmation. However, three key moderate Republican senators said in recent days they would vote against her. Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio on Monday announced that he would vote against Tanden during the confirmation process. The two other senators who have already announced their opposition are Republicans Susan Collins and Mitt Romney. Tanden’s confirmation is the first real test that President Biden has faced on a nomination, with most of his picks for Cabinet positions sailing through the chamber with bipartisan support. Biden, asked Saturday whether he would pull Tanden's nomination, said he wouldn't. “I think we are going to find the votes and get her confirmed," Biden said. On Wednesday, after two crucial Senate committees — the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Budget Committee — abruptly postponed meetings on Tanden’s confirmation, the White House said it is "fighting" for her nomination.  Tanden spoke this week with at least two of her detractors on the Democratic side, Manchin and Senator Bernie Sanders, a Vermont Independent who caucuses with Democrats, and Psaki said she's overall engaged with 44 senators. “The President (Joe Biden) nominated Neera Tanden because she is qualified, because she is experienced, because she has a record of working with people who agree with her and disagree with her, and she has decades of experience," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "...she has lived experience of her own, having benefited from a number of the programmes that she would oversee, as a daughter of a single parent and somebody who benefited from food stamps at certain points in time,” Psaki added.  The struggle to gain support for the longtime Democratic aide whose combative Twitter posts have drawn criticism reflects miscalculations by the White House and its chief of staff, Ron Klain, The New York Times reported. (With inputs from PTI and AP) 

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