US President Joe Biden's nominee to the powerful Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Neera Tanden, faced mass opposition in the US senate, throwing her confirmation hearings into doubt. Tanden, 50, if confirmed, would be the first woman of colour and first Indian-American to lead the OMB.
The OMB serves the president of the United States in overseeing the implementation of his vision across the executive branch. Specifically, OMB's mission is to assist the president in meeting his policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives.
From moderate Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine to Mitt Romney of Utah, and Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, opposition was rife. Collins said that Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency, which heads efforts to ensure an administration's priorities are reflected in legislation and regulations. Collins blamed Tanden's past actions and said they demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend. Romney said he will also oppose Tanden because of her rhetoric on social media.
Tanden, who has over three lakh followers on Twitter, where she is quite active, had been very critical of Republican senators in the past. In one of her tweets, Tanden had referred to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as 'Moscow Mitch'. She is reported to have deleted many of her tweets that were critical of Republican senators.
During her confirmation hearings, Tanden apologised for her attacks against Republicans on social media. Tanden is a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and served as president of the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress. With the senate evenly divided between 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats, and with Vice President Kamala Harris serving as a tie-breaking vote, losing Manchin means Tanden would need support from at least one Republican to win confirmation. Tanden really can't afford to lose another Democratic vote.
-Inputs from agencies