By JOHN KANELIS / firstname.lastname@example.org
Neera Tanden’s status as the next director of the federal Office of Management and Budget suddenly has run into a serious roadblock.
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, has said he will oppose her nomination when he gets to vote on it. That means a 50-50 Senate composition puts Tanden’s nomination in serious jeopardy. All of the Senate’s 50 Republicans will oppose her selection; Democratic support stands at 49 votes maximum. Got it? She cannot be confirmed, if the numbers hold up.
To be honest, I was skeptical of her nomination from the get-go … and not because of her fiery Twitter messages that savaged Republican lawmakers. My concern always had been that she is light on budgeting experience. To be candid, I am not clear why President Biden chose her in the first place.
Politico reports: Two early contenders to replace Tanden are Gene Sperling, a two-time director of the National Economic Council, and Ann O’Leary, who just came off a stint serving as California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff, and who was considered a leading alternative to Tanden back in November when Tanden’s nomination was announced, according to people familiar with the matter.
At one level it is laughable on its face that GOP senators would be angry because of her partisan Twitter messages, given that the 45th president of the United States used that social medium to inflict serious insult and damage to his foes.
Even without all of that, Tanden’s pick is suspect, given that she is a hard-core partisan and someone with little experience implementing budget policy on a scale required by the OMB director.
“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, a moderate Democrat, said in a statement. “For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
Whatever. It looks to me as though her Twitter activity should be the least of the issues that work against her.
President Biden ought to start looking seriously for someone with actual budgetary chops to handle a daunting task.