Washington, DC – Democrat Senator Joe Manchin from West Virginia on Friday made public his decision to oppose Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director nominee Neera Tanden, thus nullifying any chances of her confirmation in a Senate chamber split 50-50.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others,” Senator Manchin wrote in his statement announcing the decision.
“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,” the Senator continued.
“For this reason, I cannot support her nomination. As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics,” added Manchin.
“At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation,” concluded Senator Manchin.
Senators Blasted her Tweets During Hearings
The attacking tweets had come up during earlier hearings when Louisiana Republican Sen. John Kennedy criticized Tanden’s tweets. “I’m very disturbed about your personal comments about people. It’s not just one or two, I think you deleted a thousand tweets. And it wasn’t just about Republicans,” Kennedy said.
Tanden recently deleted more than 1,000 of her insult-laden tweets that attacked not only Republican senators but also labeled the 2016 presidential bid by Senator Sanders as Russian choice.
During one of the two hearings, Tanden faced, Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio had mentioned to her: “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.”
South Asian Reaction
Tanden also got flak from South Asian community leaders for her statements and personalized attacks against lawmakers on both sides of the aisle through her tweets.
“The poison of hyper-partisanship is as venomous and destructive to our Republic whether it is spread by a man or a woman, a Democrat or a Republican, White or Black and every shade in between, or just some heartless person trying to get media attention,” wrote Ravi Batra, Chair, National Advisory Council South Asian Affairs.
In an email comment to IAT, Batra said: “Neera Tanden learned to weaponize “Yes Maa’m” early in her career by marrying her politeness, for her bosses, and her naked ambition, and was out-doing Donald Trump’s media-savvy invectives before he was elected POTUS.”
Commending the firm stand taken by Senator Manchin, Batra said, “West Virginia’s great centrist Senator Joe Manchin is exactly right to oppose her as director of OMB – as that position isn’t for a hyper-partisan political arsonist, but one who can use the power of a fairly shared budget to help heal our National wounds of division and acrimony.”
Citing the example of insurrection on the Capitol Hill, Batra concluded, “January 6th has shown us what self-aggrandizing and media-promoted hate-speech can do. It’s time to disarm violence-causing speech as it’s neither free nor constitutional. So “United” goes from the current useless noun to an all powerful adjective describing the greatest nation in human history.”
White House Stays Positive
Speaking to the traveling press on Air Force One today (Friday), President Biden said on Tanden confirmation, “I think we are going to find the votes and get her confirmed”.
Earlier Press Secretary Jen Psaki in a statement said: “Neera Tanden is an accomplished policy expert who would be an excellent Budget Director and we look forward to the committee votes next week and to continuing to work toward her confirmation through engagement with both parties.”
Both the Senate panels have scheduled votes to approve her nomination for next week. The chances of her getting confirmed are bleak thus giving a blow to President Joe Biden’s team formation.