Biden withdraws Tanden nomination amid Republican opposition 

US administration fails to find one Republican backer after Democratic senator Joe Manchin says he would not vote to approve the Indian-American think-tank director 

Biden withdraws Tanden nomination amid Republican opposition 
The White House said OMB nominee Neera Tanden had 44 meetings with senators of both parties last week. Photo: Reuters

(ATF) President Joe Biden on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Neera Tanden to be his budget director after she ran into stiff opposition over tweets that upset lawmakers, in the first rebuff of one of his nominees.

"I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for director of the Office of Management and Budget," Biden said in a short statement on Tuesday.

The decision to withdraw Tanden's nomination reflected the tenuous hold his Democrats have on the Senate.

With the Senate split 50-50, Vice President Kamala Harris could have cast a tie-breaking vote in Tanden's favor. But that was not an option after Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he would not vote to approve the think-tank director.

Manchin's defection had sent the White House – and Tanden – scrambling to find one Republican backer. But they ultimately came up empty-handed, even after a last-minute meeting with Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski on Monday.

Last week, White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Tanden had 44 meetings with senators of both parties. "She's committed to rolling up her sleeves, having those conversations, answering questions as they come up, reiterating her commitment to working with people across the aisle, and also sharing some of her own experience of working with people of different viewpoints," Psaki insisted.

SEXIST PUSH

However, Tanden's run buckled after what her backers decried what they called a hypocritical and sexist push to punish her for harsh tweets directed at both Democrats and Republicans, after four years of similar language used by former President Donald Trump.

Biden said he still planned to have Tanden – a confidante of former Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton – serve in his administration, but did not say which job she might get.

The 50-year-old Indian American would have been the first woman of colour to lead the OMB, which manages the $4-trillion federal budget.

Shalanda Young, Biden's pick for the No-2 OMB job, has won the backing of the Congressional Black Caucus to replace Tanden. She is a former staffer in the House of Representatives.

Other possible candidates include former National Economic Council Director Gene Sperling and Ann O'Leary, another former aide to Hillary Clinton.

Meanwhile, two more nominees were confirmed Tuesday: Council of Economic Advisors chair Cecilia Rouse, the first Black person to serve in the position, and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP.

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