Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Office of Management and Budget, has withdrawn herself from consideration after her confirmation collapsed in the Senate.
In a letter to Biden, Tanden wrote: “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.”
Biden in turn said in a statement that he has “utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel” and pledged to find her another role in his administration.
In an evenly divided Senate, Tanden’s nomination first ran into problems when Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia announced last month that he would not support her confirmation.
That meant that Tanden would need the support of at least one Republican senator, and nearly all the Republicans who had broken ranks to support Donald Trump’s conviction in the Senate impeachment trial came out against Tanden’s confirmation.
Alaska Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski said earlier Tuesday that she remained undecided about Tanden.
Earlier Tuesday, the Senate held a confirmation hearing for Shalanda Young to be the OMB’s deputy director.
At the hearing, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia noted that the controversy over Tanden’s nomination “is largely over her social media comments, which could be leveled at virtually all of us.”
At her own confirmation hearing, Tanden apologized profusely for tweets made when she was head of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank.
The tweets not only were directed at Republicans, but also targeted some progressive Democrats such as Sen. Bernie Sanders. The CAP opposed Sanders’ Medicare for All policy.
Senate Democrats have said that Tanden was facing a double standard. Kaine noted that many Trump nominees were confirmed despite saying “really intemperate things” on social media.
These Trump appointees apologized and their apologies were accepted by virtually all Republicans and a lot of Democrats, Kaine said.
Democrats have pointed out that the Biden nominees facing the toughest confirmation fights have been people of color, including Tanden, Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra and Interior nominee Rep Deb Haaland of New Mexico.
Tanden would have been the first woman of color and first South Asian person to lead the OMB.