White House stands behind Tanden as opposition mounts

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The White House is maintaining its support for Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the administration’s budget office, insisting that it’s still working to get her confirmed after four senators announced they would vote against her.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday refused to comment on potential fallback options, saying “there’s one candidate to lead the budget department and that’s Neera Tanden.”

“The president’s focus is on working toward the confirmation of Neera Tanden to be the Office of Management and Budget director. That is our focus,” Psaki said.

President Biden later said that the fight to confirm Tanden isn’t over.

“We’re going to push,” he said in response to a shouted question following a roundtable event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building. “We still think there’s a shot, a good shot.”

Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) have all said they will oppose Tanden’s nomination, saying her past tweets attacking members of both parties raise questions about her judgement and whether she can work with Congress.

Some Democratic lawmakers are frustrated by the opposition to Tanden, saying former President Trump’s nominees often got a pass despite his insulting tweets and remarks.

Psaki said Tuesday that Tanden has had 44 meetings with senators in both parties, up from 35 senators a day earlier. Psaki said Tanden has met with 15 senators since Friday, when Manchin first announced his opposition.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a potential key swing vote, says she has not heard from the White House or Tanden.

Psaki said Tanden is “committed to rolling up her sleeves, having those conversations … reiterating her commitment to working with people across the aisle.”

“She’s working the phones  people here are working the phones  and we’re just not going to provide day-by-day updates of every senator that we’ve communicated with, but they can communicate on their own,” she added.

Updated at 3:05 p.m.

Tags Budget director Donald Trump Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Lisa Murkowski Mitt Romney Neera Tanden nomination nominee OMB Rob Portman Senate confirmation Susan Collins

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