Two Senate committees abruptly delayed planned votes Wednesday on Neera Tanden’s imperiled nomination to head the Office of Management and Budget, underscoring the difficulty President Biden’s pick faces in being confirmed.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Budget Committee both postponed scheduled votes on Tanden’s nomination. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) announced last week he would vote against Tanden, and a number of centrist Republicans have also said they will not back her, citing her history of mean partisan tweets, leaving it unclear if she can get the 50 votes required for confirmation.
“We are postponing the business meeting because members need more time to consider the nominee,” a Democratic aide on the Homeland Security committee said. “The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we’re going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward."
The White House is still publicly backing Tanden.
"As the president repeated yesterday, we're fighting for her nomination and she and our team remain in close contact and close touch with senators and key constituency groups," White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her press briefing. “There’s one nominee to lead the budget department, her name is Neera Tanden, and that’s who we’re continuing to fight for.”
White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, a friend of Tanden's, reportedly has been working the phones trying to find a Republican to back Tanden, without success.
The White House has reportedly also started considering other candidates for the job, with some lawmakers pushing for Shalanda Young, the former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee who Biden nominated last month to be deputy director of the budget office.
The bottom line: “[T]he political reality is that the votes to push her through an evenly divided Senate do not appear to exist,” CNN reports. “Tanden stands a chance if she wins the support of moderate Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, but it is far from clear that will happen.”