When it became clear that there was going to be a 50-50 split in the Senate, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) trended on Twitter due to his past bipartisanship, as it was expected there would be votes where he would end up breaking with the Democrats and casting a deciding vote.
Such an instance now might be occurring, one month into President Biden’s term in office as Manchin has said he will not vote to confirm Biden’s pick to be Office of Management and Budget director, Neera Tanden.
The announcement could potentially tank her confirmation as at least one Republican would have to back Tanden to compensate for Manchin’s “no” vote, which seems unlikely.
In a written statement, Manchin explained his decision, citing Tanden’s history of partisan comments and tweets as a cause for concern.
“I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others,” Manchin began.
“I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination,” Manchin continued.
Manchin concluded, “As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics. At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation.”
Tanden has previously referred to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell as “Voldemort,” and has even battled Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and his supporters online.
It is possible that Sanders’ vote on Tanden could be a “no” as well and during her confirmation hearing, he grilled Tanden about the social media commentary she had directed at his supporters.
Sanders asked, “There were vicious attacks made against progressives, people who I have worked with, me personally, can you reflect a little bit about some of your decisions and some of the personal statements you have made in recent years?”
Tanden apologized at the hearing and promised that she would take a “radically” different approach if she is confirmed, after telling senators that she had deleted some of her tweets.
Despite Manchin’s opposition, when asked on last night, Biden said he will not pull the nomination and insisted, “I think we’re gonna find the votes to get her confirmed.”
A statement from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki echoed Biden’s words and said, “Neera Tanden is an accomplished policy expert who would be an excellent Budget Director and we look forward to the committee votes next week and to continuing to work toward her confirmation through engagement with both parties.”
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