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Joe Manchin opposes Neera Tanden, endangering Biden's nominee to lead budget office

Biden signals diplomacy shift in new speech
Biden signals diplomacy shift in new speech 01:49

Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he will not vote to confirm President Biden's pick to be Office of Management and Budget director, Neera Tanden, endangering and potentially tanking her confirmation. Because of the 50-50 split in the Senate, one Republican would have to back Tanden to compensate for Manchin's "no" vote, which seems unlikely.

Citing Tanden's history of partisan comments and tweets as a cause for concern, Manchin explained his decision in a written statement:

"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. 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. 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. 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."

In the past, Tanden has referred to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as "Voldemort," and has battled Senator Bernie Sanders and his supporters online. Sanders' vote on Tanden was also being monitored as a potential "no." During her confirmation hearing, the Vermont senator asked some of the most pointed questions of Tanden about the social media commentary she had directed at his supporters.

Biden Budget Director
Neera Tanden Anna Moneymaker / AP

"There were vicious attacks made against progressives, people who I have worked with, me personally," he said. "Can you reflect a little bit about some of your decisions and some of the personal statements you have made in recent years?"

Tanden apologized and told senators at the hearing that she had deleted some of her tweets and promised that she would take a "radically" different approach if she is confirmed.

Despite Manchin's opposition, when asked on Friday night, Mr. Biden said he will not pull the nomination. 

"I think we're gonna find the votes to get her confirmed," the president 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," said a statement from White House press secretary Jen Psaki. 

Sara Cook contributed reporting. 

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