Manchin Says He'll Oppose Biden's Budget Nominee

Manchin Says He'll Oppose Biden's Budget Nominee

Sipa USA

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Friday that he will not support President Biden’s pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget, raising the risk that the nominee, Neera Tanden, will fail to win the required 50 votes in the Senate. Without Manchin’s support in an evenly divided Senate, Tanden would need at least one Republican to approve her nomination.

Biden told CNN he was standing by his pick and will not withdraw the nomination. “I think we're going to find the votes to get her confirmed,” he said.

Manchin said his opposition to Tanden’s nomination was based on her record of acerbic criticisms of his colleagues, frequently delivered via Twitter.

“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. As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics.”

Critics were quick to question Manchin’s decision, pointing to his support for Trump nominees including former attorneys general Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr and outspoken Trump loyalist Ric Grenell as ambassador to Germany.

Why it matters: Manchin, the most conservative Senate Democrat, is flexing his new power as a crucial vote that Biden will need to advance his agenda through the 50-50 Senate. Tanden could become the first Biden nominee to be rejected by the Senate, and her failure could hinder Biden’s agenda given that the OMB job has wide influence.

“If Tanden’s nomination fails, that could further delay the development of Biden’s fiscal 2022 federal budget proposal, which is already behind schedule and which is the first step in the funding process for the next fiscal year beginning Oct. 1,” wrote Bloomberg’s Erik Wasson.