Democratic US senator opposes Biden budget pick Tanden, imperiling 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. ― Reuters file pic
Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - 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. ― Reuters file pic

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WASHINGTON, Feb 20 ― Democratic US Senator Joe Manchin announced yesterday that he would oppose President Joe Biden's nomination of Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which could end her chances of assuming the high-profile position.

Tanden has been criticized by Republicans over her past harsh comments on social media, such as calling Mitch McConnell, the party's leader in the Senate, “Moscow Mitch” and saying “vampires have more heart than (Senator) Ted Cruz.”

Many Democrats scoffed at such concerns, noting near-unanimous Republican support for former President Donald , who was accused of inciting a deadly attack on the US Capitol partly via inflammatory comments on Twitter and was known for blasting those he saw as opponents ― particularly women ― as “nasty” or criminals who should be locked up.

Manchin cited Tanden's “public statements and tweets” in his statement. “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,” he said.

His statement drew immediate condemnation, with some critics noting that the moderate Democrat ― who represents the strongly Republican state of West Virginia ― had backed some of Trump's controversial nominees, including Richard Grenell to be ambassador to Germany.

Grenell had faced opposition because of his history of making statements insulting to women politicians on the Internet and during cable television appearances.

If every Senate Democrat had supported Tanden, she could have been confirmed without Republican votes since Democrats control 50 seats in the chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

However, Manchin's opposition means Tanden must be supported by a least one Republican to be confirmed.

If confirmed, Tanden, who is Indian-American, would be the first woman of colour to serve as director of the OMB.

Questioned at her confirmation hearings about her tweets, Tanden apologised and said she regretted their tone. ― Reuters

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