Two Senate committees have postponed scheduled votes on the imperiled nomination of Neera Tanden to be the nation’s chief budget official.
The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee announced Wednesday that it was delaying a planned vote on Biden’s nomination of Tanden to give senators more time to weigh whether she should lead the Office of Management and Budget.
A second panel with jurisdiction over Tanden’s nomination, the Budget Committee, also plans to delay its vote, according to a person familiar with the committee’s schedule who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal deliberations. The committee had indicated it would vote Wednesday on Tanden but had yet to set a time.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the panel’s chairman, spoke to Tanden on Tuesday night, according to another person familiar with the course of events.
Earlier this week, two closely watched Republicans, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Mitt Romney (Utah), indicated that they plan to vote against Tanden if the nomination reaches the Senate floor, citing intemperate and now-deleted social media posts attacking GOP lawmakers.
Sen. Joe Manchin III (D-W.Va.) announced his opposition to Tanden late last week, meaning that at least one Republican would be needed to confirm Tanden in an evenly divided Senate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday that the White House still sees a path for Tanden, who recently ran the liberal think tank Center for American Progress, to earn a majority of the votes in the Senate, although she did not elaborate.
In a statement Wednesday, Psaki continued to back Tanden’s nomination, calling her “a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table.”
Psaki said Tanden has a “strong record of working with both parties that we expect to grow in President Biden’s cabinet as the first South Asian woman to lead OMB.”
Asked about the voting delay, an aide to the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said: “Members need more time to consider the nomination, so we’re continuing to work with them to find the best path forward.”
The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal committee deliberations.
Separately, the Senate Small Business Committee plans a vote Wednesday on the nomination of Isabel Casillas Guzman to lead the Small Business Administration.
Guzman served as a deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to the administrator at the SBA during the Obama administration. Since April 2019, she has been director of California’s Office of the Small Business Advocate.
Erica Werner contributed to this report.