WASHINGTON – Two moderate Republican senators said Monday they would oppose Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee for the White House Office of Management and Budget, further imperiling her confirmation.
A spokesperson for Sen. Mitt Romney said Monday morning the Utah Republican would oppose Tanden’s nomination, citing his criticism of “extreme rhetoric from prior nominees.”
“Senator Romney has been critical of extreme rhetoric from prior nominees, and this is consistent with that position. He believes it’s hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets,” Romney spokesperson Arielle Mueller said.
Romney’s opposition comes after Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Monday she too would oppose Tanden, saying Tanden had “neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency.”
Romney sits on both the Senate Budget and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committees, both of which are set to vote to advance Tanden’s nomination to the full Senate floor this week
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.V., said Friday he would oppose Tanden, meaning that at least one Republican must vote for Tanden in order for her to win confirmation. Biden said last week they had the votes to confirm her, but it is unclear which Republicans might support Tanden.
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White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday morning the White House would press forward with Tanden’s nomination, calling Tanden an “accomplished policy expert,” a historic pick as the first Asian American to lead the agency, and someone with “lived experience having benefited from a number of federal programs as a kid.”
Tanden, the former head of the liberal Center for American Progress, had come under fire during the confirmation process for her past tweets and statements criticizing lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.
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For instance, Tanden had called Collins “the worst,” “a fake defender of Roe v. Wade” and accused her of “flat out deception” for her vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
All of Biden’s Cabinet or Cabinet-level nominees so far have been confirmed by the Senate with large margins with the exception of Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who won confirmation by a 56-43 vote. Six Republican senators voted for Mayorkas: Dan Sullivan of Alaska; Mitt Romney of Utah; Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia; Rob Portman of Ohio; Susan Collins of Maine; and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska.
Contributing: Matthew Brown