Joe Manchin will oppose Biden’s budget pick, Neera Tanden, jeopardizing her confirmation

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Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), testifies during a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 10, 2021.

Andrew Harnik | Pool | Reuters

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin will vote against Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget, jeopardizing her confirmation to a key Biden administration post.

Unless a Republican backs Tanden, Manchin’s opposition would sink her confirmation in a Senate split 50-50 by party. In a statement to NBC News on Friday, the West Virginia senator cited Tanden’s tweets skewering sitting senators across the political spectrum.

“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,” said Manchin, a conservative Democrat who has already bucked Biden on some coronavirus relief issues. “For this reason, I cannot support her nomination.”

If she fails to garner enough support, Tanden would be the first Biden administration pick not to win Senate confirmation. No Republicans have said they would vote for her yet. President Joe Biden’s choice of Tanden sparked more backlash than any of his other picks for executive branch jobs.

Tanden, president of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress and an advisor to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, faced a grilling in the Senate earlier this month over her criticism of lawmakers. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, pointed out tweets in which she compared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to the Harry Potter villain Voldemort and said “vampires have more heart” than GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders also noted Tanden’s history of “vicious attacks” against progressives and the independent senator from Vermont himself. Clinton allies and the Center for American Progress sparred with Sanders during the 2016 Democratic presidential primary amid disputes about the future of the party.

Tanden apologized to senators during her confirmation hearings this month.

“I deeply regret and apologize for my language, and some of my past language,” she said.

Tanden reportedly deleted more than 1,000 tweets before her confirmation process started.

The OMB director helps to plan and carry out the federal budget and executive branch programs. Tanden, a daughter of Indian immigrants, would be the first woman of color to hold the post if confirmed.

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