The White House's Plan B for Neera Tanden

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Posted: Feb 25, 2021 6:30 AM
The White House's Plan B for Neera Tanden

Source: Anna Moneymaker/The New York Times via AP, Pool

The White House is fighting tooth and nail to get Neera Tanden confirmed as director of the Office of Management and Budget, but given that at least one Democratic senator, Joe Manchin, has opposed her, along with some moderate Republicans, like Sens. Susan Collins and Mitt Romney, her nomination is in peril. 

Prior to getting nominated, Tanden had deleted more than a thousand mean tweets. Though she apologized for them and said she “regretted [her] tone,” Collins thought it raised issues of transparency and questions about her temperament. Romney, too, thought her “extreme rhetoric” would make a “return to comity and respect” difficult. 

On Wednesday, however, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain expressed confidence that she’d get confirmed.

“Let me be clear: We’re going to get Neera Tanden confirmed. That’s what we’re working for, and she will prove her critics wrong as an outstanding budget director that works with people on both sides of the aisle. That’s what I think her record truly shows,” he told MSNBC’s Joy Reid.

But the White House has a Plan B for her if she doesn't get confirmed—she’ll be placed in a role “that doesn’t require Senate confirmation.”

Salem radio host Hugh Hewitt urged Republicans this week to embrace forgiveness and confirm Tanden.

“All political people, especially senators, should live with the same rules of political debate as the rest of us,” he wrote in The Washington Post. “They should not use their confirmation power to protect themselves from online criticism, however hurtful. Everyone draws the line at threats. But Tanden has just clobbered people the good old-fashioned way: with words. By 19th-century standards she is actually tame. More to the point, it’s the 21st century; online and television and radio barbs are part of freedom’s fray.”

Republicans, he argued, should let Biden have the team of his choosing, giving him a chance to succeed.

Two Senate committees postponed votes on Tanden set for Wednesday as the White House continued to look for support to get her confirmed. 

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who was asked about a mean tweet directed at her, said she is still considering her nomination. 

“Ok, well, now see, that goes to show how much homework I still have to do on her if I didn’t even know that she had sent out a tweet about me," she said. “I was trying to look at competence but apparently I’m going to have to do more looking into what she thinks about me.”