Biden suffers first Cabinet defeat as Neera Tanden withdraws nomination

President Biden said Tuesday that he had accepted a request from Neera Tanden to withdraw her nomination for a Cabient position, the first such defeat of his administration.

"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 written statement. "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

Tanden's nomination had run into trouble thanks to a number of messages she had posted to Twitter and subsequently deleted. During her confirmation hearing, Sen. John Kennedy took aim at Tanden's social media activity, in particular hostile tweets about Sen. Bernie Sanders. “You called Senator Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” Kennedy said.

Neera Tanden
Neera Tanden, nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifying at her confirmation hearing. (Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty Images)

Citing her “overly partisan statements,” Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., indicated last week that he would oppose Tanden's nomination. With the Senate evenly divided, Biden needed at least one Republican to vote in favor of Tanden, who is the president of the liberal advocacy group Center for American Progress. But moderates like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, ultimately came out against her.

That left Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, as Tanden's last hope for a Republican defection. The two women met on Monday, and Murkowski did not give reporters any indication which way she planned to vote.

But by Tuesday night, Tanden had pulled the plug on her own nomination before a vote could be held.

“I am writing to you to withdraw my nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. It has been an honor of a lifetime to be considered for this role and for the faith placed in me. I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation,” Tanden said in a letter to Biden that was released Tuesday. “Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities. I am incredibly grateful for your leadership on behalf of the American people and for your agenda that will make such a transformative difference in people’s lives.”

Other than Tanden, Biden's Cabinet nominees have faced little trouble being confirmed, especially when compared to those of past presidents.


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