In a decision marking his first cabinet defeat, US President Joe Biden has accepted Neera Tanden's decision to withdraw her nomination for Director of Office of Management and Budget. The nomination collapsed after Tanden received widespread criticism from both sides of the political spectrum for her previous tweets disparaging lawmakers, some of whom would have voted on her confirmation. Analysts are calling this a ‘cabinet defeat’ for newly-elected Biden.
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration,” Biden said in a statement released by the White House.
Tanden, who helms a progressive think tank, did not have enough support after one Democrat and multiple Republicans said they would not vote for her confirmation.
“Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities,” Tanden wrote to Biden in a letter withdrawing her nomination.
After her nomination, Tanden had previously said, “After my parents were divorced when I was young, my mother relied on public food and housing programs to get by. Now, I’m being nominated to help ensure those programs are secure, and ensure families like mine can live with dignity. I am beyond honored.”
Several other nominees, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, have made it to the position after bipartisan support. Two more nominees, including Council of Economic Advisors chair Cecilia Rouse and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, were recently confirmed.
Tanden’s withdrawal highlights the power that lies in the hands of a single moderate Democrat, Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who had opposed her candidacy last month. Biden now needs the entire Democratic side to be united on nominations, if they do not receive any Republican support.
Towards the end of this week, the Senate is expected to vote on the USD 1.9 trillion Covid relief package. No Republican has extended their support for the bill.
(Edited by Amrita Ghosh)