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Important Problems For Biden’s Budget Candidate, Since Gop Points Reluctance To Hold Confirmation Hearings

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Neera Tanden, President-elect Joe Biden‘s nominee to head the White House budget office, faces major hurdles to being confirmed by the GOP-controlled Senate as a major showdown over the former Clinton and Obama administration official broils.

The current head of the left-leaning think tank Center for American Progress has already alienated Republicans with her long history of publicly criticizing those who will now be tasked with determining whether she will have a future in the Biden administration. Even some progressives are unhappy with Tanden for her past support of entitlement cuts.

Now, as Senate Republicans characterize her as “radioactive” and urge Biden to withdraw her nomination for head of the Office of Management and Budget, key GOP lawmakers signal they may refuse to even hold confirmation hearings for Tanden, much less confirm her.

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who would head the Budget Committee, if Republicans win at least one of the two Georgia Senate runoff races slated for January 5 and keep the majority.

Graham emitted a chuckle as he recalled that Tanden has, in the past, “had a lot to say” about him.

“It’d be a long hearing,” Graham said, adding that her chances of confirmation would be an “uphill” path.

President and CEO of the Center for American Progress Neera Tanden speaks at the National Forum on Wages and Working People: Creating an Economy That Works for All at Enclave on April 27, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty

“I think most Republicans are open to any reasonable nominee by the incoming administration,” Cornyn said. “But [Tanden] just seems—I don’t know whether they just didn’t think about it, they just assumed that she’d get confirmed without any question. But I just think she’s going to be radioactive.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) had little to say about Tanden. But the No. 4 Republican maintained the notion that presidents, in general, “should be able to get the team that he needs.”

“The jobs that last during the term of the president have some greater level of flexibility than lifetime appointments,” Blunt said.

Once the Georgia Senate races are concluded and the Electoral College makes the election outcome official in early January, Blunt added, “there’s no reason not to have hearings” to hit the ground running with votes once Biden is sworn-in later that month.

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