Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Republican Senator Susan Collins from Maine have said that they will not to vote to confirm Neera Tanden as OMB Director.
Senator Schumer is said to be “working with Biden to find the extra votes” to confirm the head of the Center for American Progress, but this certainly throws a monkey wrench into the proceedings. President Biden has declined to withdraw the Tanden nomination.
If confirmed, Tanden would have the job of bringing to fruition President Biden’s economic policies. The Center for American Progress, whose board the members include Stacey Abrams, John Podesta, and Julian Castro, proclaims on its website that “our aim is not just to change the conversation, but to change country.”
If the Tanden nomination goes down, as seems likely, it will be at least in part because of Tanden’s vicious and personal tweets over the years. She deleted more than a thousand when she knew she was going to be nominated for OMB. But, of course, it is almost impossible to erase one’s twitter history. Senator Rob Portman was among those who reflected on Tanden’s tweets during the confirmation hearings:
Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) read aloud some of Tanden’s tweets, including her criticism of Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Ted Cruz of Texas and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“I’m concerned that your personal attacks about specific senators will make it more difficult for you to work with them,” Portman said. “Just to mention a few of the thousands of negative public statements, 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.”
Tanden of course apologized:
“I would just say again, to the extent that people are hurt by my language, I deeply apologize,” Tanden said.
Stressing that she was not advised to scrub her social media, the OMB nominee said it was her personal decision to delete her tweets. White House press secretary Jen Psaki also said the administration did not ask Tanden to apologize to Republicans.
Tanden’s apology missed the mark. Aside from the pro forma “if,” a common feature of the Washington apology, she is so immersed in the far left bubble that she thinks the problem is “hurt feelings.”
Most people in Washington who have risen to a high level have the hide of a rhinoceros. Hurt feelings? Give me a break. Do you think Ted Cruz and Mitch McConnell cried on each other’s shoulders because Tanden had hurt their feelings? Mad, yeah, but I doubt if either locked himself in his room to have a quiet cry. (And, Republicans—thank goodness—don’t yet regard hurt feelings, or claims of hurt feelings, as the most important thing in the world).
Tanden’s nasty tweets were a problem because they contributed to the poisonous atmosphere of our current politics and because, related item, they didn’t show a willingness to work with Members of Congress whose politics she didn’t embrace. Yeah, yeah, I know former President Trump tweeted. And there are those who believe that, with his economic record, he might have been better off he’d refrained. Tanden also refuses to understand why her tweets could torpedo her chances.
But Susan Collins does understand:
Collins cited deleted tweets by Tanden and said that Congress needs to be able to trust the OMB head to act in an “impartial manner.”
“The Director of OMB is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the federal budget and plays a significant role in any Administration’s fiscal and regulatory agenda. Congress has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent,” Collins said in a statement first obtained by Politico.
“Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend,” Collins added.
The senator also said Tanden’s “decision to delete more than a thousand tweets in the days before her nomination was announced raises concerns about her commitment to transparency.”
“Should Congress need to review documents or actions taken by OMB, we must have confidence that the Director will be forthcoming,” she said, adding that the office “needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership.”
Manchin on Friday pointed to Tanden’s harsh tweets about Republicans as the reason for his opposition. His “no” vote means Tanden will need to garner support from at least one Republican senator to be confirmed.
“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,” Manchin said in a statement. “For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”
Republicans in two confirmation hearings last week skewered Tanden, who built a reputation for partisan warfare on Twitter as the head of the Center for American Progress, for a number of previous tweets, many of which she recently deleted.
She has repeatedly apologized for the tweets, some of which compared Republicans to evil fictional characters.
This had nothing to do with hurt feelings, Ms. Tanden, and everything to do with trustworthiness and the ability of government to function, even though people disagree with each other. Because of the superfluity of venom in Washington, this is becoming harder and harder.