oi-Vicky Nanjappa


Washington, Feb 23: Indian-American Neera Tanden’s chances of becoming the first woman of colour to head the White House Office of Management of Budget (OMB) appears to be in jeopardy with three Republican senators along with at least one Democrat announcing their decision to vote against her Senate confirmation process later this week, citing her past social media behaviour.

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Tanden reportedly deleted more than 1,000 tweets before her confirmation process started. She had apologised to senators during her confirmation hearings earlier this month.

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White House said on Monday that it is taking nothing to chances and is reaching out to both the Democrat and Republican senators to get Ms Tanden’s confirmation through the evenly split United States Senate.

“We take nothing for granted. And part of our effort is not just reaching out to Republicans — which we certainly are doing, and all of our nominees do as well — but also ensuring that Democrats who have questions, who have any concerns, have their questions answered too. And we take nothing for granted in pushing forward with our nominees,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters at her daily news conference.

Soon thereafter, Republican Senator Rob Portman from Ohio announced that he would vote against Ms Tanden, 50, during the confirmation process.

The two other Senators who have already announced their opposition are Republicans Susan Collins and Mitt Romney. Democratic Senator Joe Manchin has already announced that he will vote against her.

Democrats hold the Senate by a 50-50 margin, and Manchin’s announcement last week was seen as devastating for her chances.

Portman alleged that the tone, the content, and the aggressive partisanship of some of Tanden’s public statements will make it more difficult for her to work effectively with both parties in this role.

“I’m also concerned about her decision to delete thousands of tweets in the month after the election and the lack of transparency in her decision to do so, as well as her lack of experience on key issues for OMB, such as the regulatory and budgeting processes. While the president has the right to choose his own Cabinet, and thus far I have supported all of this administration’s nominees, I will not be supporting the confirmation of Tanden,” Portman said.

Portman served as OMB Director under former President George W. Bush. “As a former OMB Director, I know that the OMB Director has to be able to work productively with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle,” he said.

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OMB serves the President of the United States in overseeing the implementation of his vision across the executive branch.

In a separate statement, Senator Susan Collins said that Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency.

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