Neera Tanden: Biden’s transition braces for tough Senate confirmation battle


Neera Tanden, CEO and chair of the Center for American Progress, from left, was announced Monday as Biden’s choice for the job. Biden announced several cabinet members and other senior administration officials, but none received the same level of reaction as Tanden, who has frequently fought with Republicans and the Democratic Party’s progressive wing over Twitter.

Biden’s team is well aware that Tanden is a difficult candidate, with someone familiar with the subject telling CNN that it is currently widely recognized in the world of Biden’s transition that it is going to be difficult, at best, to go through the Senate confirmation process. .

His uphill battle in the Senate was highlighted on Monday by a wave of criticism against him from Republican senators. Republicans currently hold a majority in the Senate, but two January elections in Georgia will determine which party controls the chamber and may affect the confirmation process.

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, said Tanden had a “problematic path” to confirmation in light of “combative and insulting comments” made about GOP senators.

Republican Senator from Arkansas, Tom Cotton, said Tanden’s tweets were “filled with hate and guided by the awakened left” and tweeted, “It is unfit to be confirmed by the US Senate. “

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who is expected to chair the Budget Committee if Republicans retain control of the Senate, said Tanden’s nomination faced a “uphill” surge in the Senate.

There are plenty of other candidates for Biden, including Janet Yellen for Secretary of the Treasury, who have been well received by Republicans and Democrats and are currently unlikely to have major issues confirmed in the Senate.

Of the multiple people Biden has nominated so far, Tanden is “most definitely, singularly” the lowest in terms of chance of being confirmed, an adviser to several GOP members told CNN.

Tanden is an ally of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and previously served as a senior advisor for health reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, where she helped work on the Affordable Care Act.

Senator Chuck Grassley, who is the chamber’s oldest interim Republican and interim speaker, told reporters on Monday that Tanden’s appointment “could be controversial” among his colleagues. He said he did not yet have a position on how he would vote on his nomination.

Josh Holmes, former chief of staff and campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, reacted to the news of Tanden’s appointment and written on Twitter, “And there is the sacrifice to the gods of confirmation …”

Tanden has also received criticism from some on the left, mostly from its usual online critics and rivals. But her appointment was mostly applauded by progressives, including some she had clashed with in the past, in large part because of fears Biden might call on someone else, like the former leader. of Biden’s cabinet, Bruce Reed, with a more belligerent deficit record. .

“Bruce Reed is ideologically committed to austerity. Neera Tanden is not, ”tweeted Linda Benesch, communications director for Social Security Works. “Keeping Reed out of OMB is a big win. ”

Tanden, who would be the first woman of color and the first South Asian American to become OMB director if confirmed, also received praise from several Democratic senators.

On Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer praised Tanden and criticized Republicans for what he called “crocodile tears.”

Is this choice of Joe Biden already doomed?

Tanden “is so eminently qualified that some on the Republican side, grabbing a straw, took issue with Twitter comments criticizing Republicans’ political positions in Congress,” Schumer said in the Senate. “Honestly, the hypocrisy is astounding. If Republicans are concerned about criticism on Twitter, their complaints are best directed at President Trump. ”

Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown congratulated Tanden as “intelligent, experienced and qualified for the post of director of OMB”. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren answered directly to Brown’s tweet and said she agreed.
New Jersey Democratic Senator Cory Booker said he has known Tanden for more than two decades and tweeted“She’s shiny and laser focused to make our country a fairer place for everyone.” I am delighted to work with her as she does the vital work of rebuilding our government.

CNN’s Gregory Krieg, Ted Barrett, Kristin Wilson, Daniella Diaz and Manu Raju contributed to this report.


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