WASHINGTON – Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the influential White House Office of Management and Budget, withdrew her nomination for the position Tuesday after weeks of withering criticism from some lawmakers.
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OMB, one of the largest offices in the White House, oversees the execution of the federal budget. Its director is charged with managing the president’s funding proposal to Congress and then coordinating how money is properly allocated, lending enormous influence on domestic policy. Tanden would have been the first woman of color and first Indian American in the role.
But Tanden may still have a post in the administration. On the evening she withdrew her nomination, Biden issued a statement saying he will “look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration.”
It is unclear what role Tanden might fill, given that the position would need to not require Senate confirmation. Most top-tier posts in the White House that don’t require that are already filled.
“She certainly saw that her path for her own nomination was narrowed,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said of Tanden’s thinking Wednesday. Advocates have already started boosting potential replacements.
A brief history of her nomination
A veteran of Democratic politics, Tanden was heavily criticized by Republican lawmakers for tweets she’d made that criticized conservatives and more liberal Democrats.
A longtime aide to former presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, Tanden was, in turn, vilified by some progressives for her attacks on Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in 2016. Her nomination was imperiled after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said her many tweets deriding political opponents were beyond the pale.
Moderate Republicans, including senators Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, also came out as no votes. Further negotiations with Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, were reportedly ended by the White House after it became clear the concessions would be too time-consuming and costly.
Before she withdrew:Why Biden is standing firm on budget pick Neera Tanden despite pushback from left and right
“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 wrote in a letter requesting Biden withdraw her nomination.
Who’s next for OMB?
Shalanda Young, a longtime House Appropriations Committee staffer who Biden nominated as deputy OMB director, has received high praise on Capitol Hill already. The Congressional Black Caucus sent a letter to Biden noting that Young has an “impeccable record” and likely bipartisan support.
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“Everybody who deals with you on our side has nothing but good things to say,” Sen. Lindsey Graham R, S.C., told Young during her Tuesday confirmation hearing. “You might talk me out of voting for you, but I doubt it.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., also issued a statement boosting Young, citing her “intellect, her deep expertise on the federal budget and her determination to ensure that our budget reflects our values as a nation.”
Progressives, including Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., have also strongly endorsed Young.
The White House resisted calls to nominate Young before Tanden had officially withdrawn her nomination. Psaki said Wednesday that an announcement on a new OMB nominee should not be expected within the week.