Senate

Collins to vote against Biden OMB nominee Neera Tanden

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said on Monday that she will vote against President Biden’s choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), becoming the second key centrist senator to come out against Neera Tanden and putting her nomination in jeopardy.

“The Director of OMB is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the federal budget and plays a significant role in any Administration’s fiscal and regulatory agenda. Congress has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent,” Collins said in a statement first obtained by Politico.

“Neera 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,” Collins added. 

The senator also said Tanden’s “decision to delete more than a thousand tweets in the days before her nomination was announced raises concerns about her commitment to transparency.”

“Should Congress need to review documents or actions taken by OMB, we must have confidence that the Director will be forthcoming,” Collins said, adding that the office “needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership.”

Collins joins Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) in opposing Tanden’s nomination to lead the White House budget office. 

The West Virginia senator on Friday pointed to Tanden’s harsh tweets about Republicans as the reason for his opposition. 

“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. “For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”

Republicans in two confirmation hearings last week skewered Tanden, who built a reputation for partisan warfare on Twitter as the head of the Center for American Progress, for a number of previous tweets, many of which she recently deleted.

She has repeatedly apologized for the tweets, some of which compared Republicans to evil fictional characters.

Most Republicans were expected to oppose Tanden over her rhetoric, and it may be difficult for a GOP senator to back her now that Biden needs at least one of them to support her to get her confirmed.

Following the news of Collins’s opposition on Monday, the White House tweeted in support of the OMB nominee, saying that Tanden is “an accomplished policy expert.”

“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,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted.

More than a month into his presidency, the Senate has confirmed just six of Biden’s Cabinet nominees.

Updated at 9:37 a.m.

Tags Biden cabinet confirmation Jen Psaki Joe Biden Joe Manchin Neera Tanden nomination Office of Management and Budget OMB Susan Collins

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