Sen. Joe Manchin on Friday said he opposes Neera Tanden’s nomination as President Biden’s budget director due to her insult-laden tweets, but Biden says won’t pull her nomination.
Biden told reporters as he returned to Washington from a trip to Michigan that “no” he won’t withdraw Tanden’s nomination, even though she may now be rejected in the evenly divided Senate.
Manchin (D-W.V.) cited Tanden’s confrontational tweets toward Republicans and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) while she served as president of the Democratic Party-aligned Center for American Progress.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others,” Manchin said.
“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. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
Manchin, a conservative Democrat viewed as a critical swing vote on contentious issues, said that “we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics.”
Tanden now requires Republican support to pass the Senate, but has alienated many conservative lawmakers with personal insults.
But Biden remained hopeful about Tanden’s candidacy Friday, telling reporters, “I think we are going to find the votes and get her confirmed”.
Tanden recently deleted more than 1,000 of her tweets that attacked GOP senators but also trashed the 2016 Sanders presidential bid as Russia’s choice against party establishment favorite Hillary Clinton.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) reminded her this month, “You wrote that Susan Collins is ‘the worst’, that Tom Cotton is a fraud, that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz, you called Leader McConnell ‘Moscow Mitch’ and Voldemort.”
Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) quipped, “You called Sen. Sanders everything but an ignorant slut.”
If confirmed, Tanden will hold a powerful post to implement Biden’s policies across the federal bureaucracy. Under former President Donald Trump, the budget office instructed agencies to disfavor New York City, Portland and Seattle for federal grants for allegedly tolerating rising crime or violent protests.
Tanden is scheduled for a Senate Budget Committee confirmation hearing Wednesday. She already had a confirmation hearing this month before the Sanders-chaired Senate Finance Committee.
In addition to her mean tweets, Sanders, a self-avowed socialist, said he’s concerned about Tanden soliciting millions of dollars in corporate donations at the Center for American Progress.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Friday evening that “Neera Tanden is an accomplished policy expert who would be an excellent Budget Director and we look forward to the committee votes next week and to continuing to work toward her confirmation through engagement with both parties.”