Manchin says he opposes Biden’s OMB pick, jeopardizing confirmation

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Friday that he opposes the confirmation Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

The moderate senator’s announcement marks the first time that a Senate Democrat has opposed one of Biden’s nominees, according to Axios. Manchin’s decision could doom Tanden’s nomination — with a 50-50 split Senate, his “no” vote means that a Republican will have to vote “yes” for her to be confirmed.

Insults bite back

Tanden, a Clinton loyalist, has been a controversial nominee from the outset because of her history of aggresive rhetoric and personal insults to both Republicans and even Democrats like Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT).

In fact, as National Review notes, Tanden recently “deleted more than 1,000 insulting tweets ahead of her nomination.”

“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,’ and on and on,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said as the Senate committee grilled Tanden during her confirmation hearings last week.

Apology not accepted

Tanden issued a public apology for her past remarks during the hearings, saying, “I do think the last several years have been very polarizing and I apologize for my language that has contributed to that. I know it’s on me to demonstrate to this committee and to Republican members and Democratic members I can work with anyone.”

Manchin was unconvinced. “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,” he said in a statement Friday.

“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,” he said.

“For this reason, I cannot support her nomination. As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics. At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation,” Manchin concluded.

Biden won’t back down

Despite Manchin’s announcement, Biden indicated to reporters Friday that he would not withdraw her nomination.

“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,” Biden press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday.

If Tanden’s confirmation fails, according to one report, a possible replacement might be Gene Sperling, who served as an economic advisor to both former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

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