White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has reiterated a defense of Neera Tanden as her nomination to become director of the Office of Management and Budget faces uncertainty due to pushback from lawmakers.
Tanden has been criticized for previous comments made towards figures from both sides of the aisle on social media. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) previously referred to this when he outlined he would not support Tanden, as did Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) as she also confirmed she would not vote in favor of her appointment to the role. These positions heighten the chances of there not being enough votes to see Tanden confirmed.
In a tweet issued Monday, Psaki wrote: “Neera Tanden=accomplished policy expert, would be 1st Asian American woman to lead OMB, has lived experience having benefitted from a number of federal programs as a kid, looking ahead to the committee votes this week and continuing to work toward her confirmation.”
Psaki has previously described Tanden in such terms and spoke about “engagement with both parties” as part of “continuing work to get her confirmed.”
President Joe Biden previously said he would not pull her nomination amid pushback from lawmakers to this.
“I think we are going to find the votes and get her confirmed,” he said last week.
Newsweek has contacted the White House for further comment.
Collins said in a statement on Monday, first reported by Politico Playbook, that she feels Tanden “has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency.”
“Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend,” she added.
“The OMB needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership. I will vote against confirming Ms. Tanden.”
Manchin referenced previous statements from Tanden when outlining why he would not support her nomination.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.
As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics. At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation.”
Tanden has apologized for previous statements she has made and insisted she can “work with anyone.”
“I know there have been some concerns about some of my past language on social media, and I regret that language and take responsibility for it,” she said at a confirmation hearing last week.
Though Democrats hold a majority in the Senate, it is thin. The upper chamber is split 50-50, and in situations where it is split this way the tiebreaker vote falls to Vice President Kamala Harris. Following Manchin’s opposition, Democrats would need at least one Republican to join in voting for Tanden to offset this.