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Neera Tanden's nomination for budget chief in jeopardy as Senate panels delay action

Confirmation of Biden's Budget pick in jeopardy
Biden faces confirmation battle with Office of Management and Budget nominee 02:00

Washington – The nomination of Neera Tanden to run the Office of Management and Budget faces an increasingly uphill climb as two Senate committees who were set to meet Wednesday delayed votes amid growing opposition from Republican senators that further narrows her path to confirmation.

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was poised to convene for a meeting to consider Tanden's nomination to helm the budget office, but the committee sent a notice that the session has been postponed

An aide to the Homeland Security panel told CBS News the meeting was delayed because "members need more time to consider the nominee. The president deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and we're going to work with our members to figure out the best path forward."

The Senate Budget Committee also delayed a vote on Tanden's nomination, a Senate aide told CBS News. 

Tanden's chances of confirmation took a significant hit last week when Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, announced his opposition to her nomination. Because the Senate is evenly split between Republicans and Democrats, at least one Republican now has to vote to confirm Tanden, which would leave Vice President Kamala Harris to break the tie.

But in the wake of Manchin's announcement, two Republicans who have worked across the aisle also announced their plans to vote against confirming Tanden: Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah. Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, told reporters Tuesday she has time before making a decision on whether to support Tanden's nomination.

The senators opposing Tanden, who heads the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, have pointed to her past tweets and comments taking aim at Republicans as the basis of their decisions to withhold support. She compared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to "Voldemort," called Collins "the worst" and claimed Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, was a "fraud."

The White House, meanwhile, continues to stand behind Tanden. White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended her Wednesday as a "leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications" to the Office of Management and Budget.

"She also has important perspective and values, understanding firsthand the powerful difference policy can make in the lives of those going through hard times," Psaki said in a series of tweets. "She has a broad spectrum of support, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to labor unions, and has a strong record of working with both parties that we expect to grow in President Biden's cabinet as the first South Asian woman to lead OMB."

Alan He and Nicole Sganga contributed to this report

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