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Manchin Opposes Neera Tanden's OMB Nomination, A Blow To Her Prospects

Neera Tanden, nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during a Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 10, 2021.
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Neera Tanden, nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies during a Senate committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 10, 2021.

Updated at 5:49 p.m. ET

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he is opposing President Biden's nominee to run the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden. The White House is standing by the nomination even as Manchin's opposition makes it more precarious.

Manchin cited negative comments about Republicans that Tanden made while running the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress. The social media remarks have been scrutinized, largely on the right, since her nomination.

"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," said Manchin, who has a history of breaking with his party.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Tanden apologized for her comments.

"I do think the last several years have been very polarizing and I apologize for my language that has contributed to that," Tanden told members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. "I know it's on me to demonstrate to this committee and to Republican members and Democratic members I can work with anyone."

Manchin's stance is a blow to Tanden's nomination in a Senate divided 50-50 between the parties. She would need at least one Republican senator to vote in her favor. Republicans have joined Democrats in supporting other Biden nominees, but those picks have not been as controversial.

The White House remained undeterred Friday evening, reiterating its support for Tanden. Asked if he would pull her nomination, Biden said, "No."

In a statement, White House press secretary Jen Psaki called Tanden "an accomplished policy expert who would be an excellent Budget Director." The statement said the White House is looking forward next week's committee votes "and to continuing to work toward her confirmation through engagement with both parties."

Tanden, who has served as an adviser to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, would be the first woman of color to oversee the OMB.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.

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