Biden’s pick to lead White House budget office emerges as lightning rod for GOP
By Jeff Stein, Annie Linskey and Seung Min Kim
President-elect Joe Biden’s pick to lead the powerful White House budget office generated early controversy on Monday, with Neera Tanden emerging as an immediate target for conservatives and Republican lawmakers.
Tanden, 50, has regularly clashed with conservatives in a manner that Republicans say could complicate her Senate confirmation process. Two Republican senators on Monday said she could run into trouble during confirmation hearings, warning that her “partisan” background could make it hard for her to win Republican support.
“I’m not disqualifying anybody, but I do think it gets a lot harder obviously if they send someone from their progressive left that are kind of out of the mainstream,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) told reporters.
Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s first budget director, told Fox News that Tanden had very little chance of being confirmed.
A loyal Democrat with decades of senior policymaking experience, Tanden has been tapped by Biden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which plays a crucial role in setting the president’s economic agenda and approving agency policies. She would be the first woman of color to lead the budget office.
She was a close ally of former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and served as a senior adviser in President Barack Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services, where she helped draft the Affordable Care Act. She most recently served as president of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank with deep ties to Democratic policymakers. The OMB plays a pivotal role in the White House because of its role in setting the federal budget and clearing new regulations.