Withdrawn Biden Cabinet Pick Will Be Involved in Administration After All

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Posted: May 14, 2021 10:00 PM
Withdrawn Biden Cabinet Pick Will Be Involved in Administration After All

Source: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, Pool

The Biden administration has had some god awful cabinet members, many of them confirmed by only a vote or two. Only Neera Tanden, however, the president of the Center for American Progress who was nominated to head the Office of Management and Budget, withdrew. But, according to CNN, Tanden will become a senior advisor to Biden. As John Harwood reported:

A longtime health policy expert, Tanden will begin planning for potential policy changes that could result from the forthcoming US Supreme Court decision on Republican legal efforts to strike down the Affordable Care Act. She worked in former President Barack Obama's administration as the act was designed and implemented. 

Among other duties, the official said, Tanden will also launch a review of the US Digital Service. The service is charged with solving the federal government's information technology and online security issues, recruiting technologists for tours of service akin to the Peace Corps. 

The US Digital Service, which is housed within the Executive Office of the President, was launched after the crash of the Healthcare.gov website in 2013. Since the start of the pandemic, it has worked on a number of coronavirus-related projects for agencies across the federal government.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) essentially doomed Tanden's chances of being confirmed, citing mean tweets. While Tanden's supporters laughed off such a reason, and even accused Manchin of sexism, it is not surprising that partisan attacks--against the very senators most likely to confirm her--would derail her chances. 

CNN reported that, with added emphasis, "Tanden deleted more than 1,000 tweets from her personal Twitter account. And several key senators came out against her nomination because of her past comments and social media posts aimed at lawmakers." 

Even Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) was ticked off, considering not even progressives were safe.

One of those attacks was against Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who has been crucial in confirming Biden's nominees. Tanden had called her "the worst," which she deleted and apologized for. As Leah reported:

“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," Collins said in a statement, reports Politico. "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. 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.

“In addition, Ms. 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," she continued. "Should Congress need to review documents or actions taken by OMB, we must have confidence that the Director will be forthcoming.

“The OMB needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership. I will vote against confirming Ms. Tanden.”

Among the tweets Collins referred to was one where Tanden called the Republican senator from Maine "the worst," though she later apologized. 

Sen. Rob Portman confronted her about them during her confirmation hearing. 

“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,” Portman said.

“I deleted tweets because I regretted my tone and I’ve deleted tweets over many months," Tanden said. "But for those concerned about my rhetoric and my language, I’m sorry, and I’m sorry for any hurt that they’ve caused."

Considering that Sens. Manchin and Collins voted to confirm the likes of Xavier Becerra to be the Secretary of Health & Human Services and Rachel Levine to be the Assistant Secretary, Tanden really messed up. Becerra is pro-abortion to the point of denying federal law on the partial-birth abortion ban and Levine supports minors being able to change their gender.

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In place of Tanden is Shalanda Young, who is currently the acting director. She received much more bipartisan support, though she gained negative attention for her opposition to the Hyde Amendment

Tanden's staff bio page on the Center for Medical Progress details a long history of involvement with Joe Biden and healthcare, including ObamaCare,