WASHINGTON – Senator Joe Manchin III announced Friday that he would speak out against the appointment of Neera Tanden, President Biden’s election to lead the bureau of administration and budget, threatening their prospects for confirmation in an evenly divided Senate.
The announcement by Mr. Manchin, Democrat of West Virginia, underscored the fragility of the ambitions of the new Democratic majority in the Senate and the overwhelming power a Senator has over the success of Mr. Biden’s administration and agenda.
The fate of the nomination now rests in the hands of a party that Ms. Tanden has often criticized in the past, particularly moderate Republicans, which she previously despised. Ms. Tanden would need at least one Republican senator to be sustained. Vice President Kamala Harris’s vote had to break a tie.
Given Ms. Tanden’s earlier litany of critical public statements and posts on Twitter against members of both parties, it is unclear whether such support exists.
Mr. Manchin cited statements by Ms. Tanden addressed personally to Senators Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Republican leader; Bernie Sanders, the independent Vermont now responsible for the Senate Budgets Committee; and other colleagues.
“I believe that your openly partisan testimony will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the vital working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Department of Administration and Budget,” said Mr Manchin, who will also cast a decisive vote on Mr Bidens $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan. “For this reason I cannot support your nomination. As I said, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that is permeating our policies. “
Mr Biden told reporters on Friday that he had no plans to withdraw their nomination.
“I think we’ll find the votes and get them confirmed,” he said.
Jen Psaki, White House press secretary, reiterated this position in a statement: “Neera Tanden is an accomplished policy expert who would make an excellent budget manager. We look forward to the committees voting next week and continuing to work towards their confirmation of engagement with both parties. “
But Mr Manchin’s lack of support could be enough to derail the nomination altogether, if Republicans were to agree against their selection.
Ms. Tanden would be the first black woman to head the Bureau of Administration and Household, an agency vital to running the administration’s economic and political agendas. But Mr Biden’s decision to nominate her even before the Democrats took control of the Senate in January stunned several lawmakers and advisers on Capitol Hill, given the low margins in the upper chamber and Ms. Tanden’s productive poison in the social media.
The new Washington
Apr. 19, 2021, 7:17 p.m. ET
Ms. Tanden was a senior advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, and had argued frequently with Mr. Sanders and other prominent liberals long after the main race ended that year. After being formally appointed to oversee the Budget Agency, Ms. Tanden deleted more than 1,000 negative tweets, and Liberal Senators rallied in her defense.
However, at her two confirmation hearings this month, she was questioned harshly by both Republicans and Democrats. Legislators on both parties reviewed their previous tweets and statements and grilled over the millions of dollars in corporate donations their think tank, Center for American Progress, is receiving.
Republicans spent the first hour of their first hearing in front of a Senate Homeland Security committee asking Ms. Tanden to explain her previous tweets and why she’d deleted more than 1,000 shortly after the November election.
Senator Rob Portman, Republican of Ohio and former director of the Office of Management and Budget, read aloud posts calling Mr. McConnell “Moscow Mitch” and saying that “vampires have more hearts than Ted Cruz,” a Republican senator Texas.
Your second hearing was no less fiery. Mr. Sanders confronted Ms. Tanden with her story of targeting personal attacks on social media. He also requested details of the donations the Center for American Progress had received from companies under their leadership and a promise that it would not affect their work in the Biden administration.
Ms. Tanden apologized to the legislature at both hearings, saying she regretted many of her earlier statements and vowed that the donations would have no bearing on her role as budget director.
“I’m less worried about what Ms. Tanden has done in the past than about what she will do in the future,” Mr Sanders said on CNN Friday night. “I’ll talk to her early next week.”
Many Democrats accused Republicans of wrongly singling out Ms. Tanden’s social media posts after years of evading questions about President Donald J. Trump’s tweets, even when advocating racist and abusive comments or targeting their own colleagues took.
“Frankly, the hypocrisy is amazing,” said New York Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader at the time. “If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints should be directed at President Trump. I assume that crocodile tears will flow down the other side of the corridor over the cabinet candidates for the president-elect. “
Mr Biden’s election as the agency’s deputy director, Shalanda Young, is respected by lawmakers and aides from both parties after serving as the House Democrats’ director of human resources on the Budgets Committee. As the first black woman in that role, she helped discuss the compromise that ended the government’s longest government shutdown in 2019 and the 2020 congressional coronavirus aid packages approved.
Jim Tankersley and Alan Rappeport contributed to the coverage.