Manchin Comes Out against Neera Tanden’s Confirmation as OMB Director

POLITICS & POLICY
Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) speaks on Capitol Hill, December 1, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Senator Joe Manchin (D., W. Va.) said Friday he will not support Neera Tanden’s nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget, citing her “overtly partisan statements.”

The moderate Democrat’s opposition imperils Tanden’s confirmation with the Senate evenly divided between the parties.

“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 in a statement. “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,” he said.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee last week, Tanden apologized for her tweets attacking a number of lawmakers.

“I deeply regret and apologize for my language and some of my past language. I recognize that this role is a bipartisan role, and I know I have to earn the trust of senators across the board,” she said.

Tanden, who is president of the Center for American Progress, deleted more than 1,000 insulting tweets ahead of her nomination.

Senator Rob Portman (R., Ohio) read some of the tweets for the senators who will vote on 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,” Portman said.

Tanden defended her decision to delete the tweets, saying she did not do so in an effort to cover them up.

“I deleted tweets because I regretted my tone and I’ve deleted tweets over many months … But for those concerned about my rhetoric and my language, I’m sorry, and I’m sorry for any hurt that they’ve caused,” she said.

However, Portman pointed to “nine pages of tweets about Sen. Ted Cruz.”

Tanden noted the “very polarizing” nature of the last several years had contributed to her tweets.

Meanwhile, Manchin called for “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,” he said.

The Senate Budget Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing with Tanden on Wednesday.

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