Senate committees postpone hearings in 'bad sign' for Neera Tanden

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Tim O'Donnell
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Both the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the Senate Budget Committee postponed their Wednesday hearings to vote on Neera Tanden's nomination as director of Office of Management and Budget in what is viewed as a "bad sign" for her confirmation chances. Senate Budget Committee Chair Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) reportedly called Tanden to personally inform her of the news.

CNN's Jake Tapper suggested it could be the first real sign that the controversial nomination will be pulled before a confirmation vote, although White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki continued to defend Tanden, whose past inflammatory comments have raised bipartisan concerns from senators, on Wednesday.

Tapper and his colleague Manu Raj explain that the reason for both the delay and the White House holding firm is uncertainty about where Sen. Krysten Sinema (D-Ariz.), a crucial centrist vote and member of the Homeland Security Committee, stands. If she follows Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) and announces her opposition then "it's over for Tanden," Raj reports. But if Sinema does back Tanden, the White House reportedly has some hope that moderate GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) will vote with Democrats, creating a 50-50 split and setting up a Vice President Kamala Harris tie-break.

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