Neera Tanden removes herself from consideration for budget chief

▶ Watch Video: Neera Tanden removes herself from consideration as budget chief amid opposition

Neera Tanden, President Biden‘s choice to lead the powerful Office of Management and Budget, has removed herself from consideration as the nominee, the White House said Tuesday. Tanden sent a letter to Mr. Biden explaining her decision.

Tanden’s confirmation appeared doomed when moderate Democrat Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he wouldn’t support her nomination, as did several moderate Republicans. GOP Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska said earlier Tuesday she hadn’t yet decided if she would support Tanden, but Tanden’s letter suggested there was no path forward.

“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,” Tanden said in the letter.

The White House issued a statement saying it accepted Tanden’s withdrawal. The statement said it looked forward to giving her another role in the administration.

The Washington Post first reported Tanden’s decision.

The nomination of Tanden, a Democratic veteran, had raised some eyebrows on Capitol Hill given her history of partisan comments, especially on Twitter. Her confirmation hearings featured readings of some of her past tweets, but the White House had insisted it still had a path to her confirmation.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a frequent foe of Tanden’s, had appeared on CNN shortly before Tanden removed herself and refused to say if he would support her.

“Well right now Neera Tanden doesn’t have the votes, so we’ll see what happens in the future,” Sanders said. When pressed, Sanders said “I will make that decision when the vote takes place.”

All eyes are now on Mr. Biden’s pick for deputy OMB director, Shalanda Young, who appeared before the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday. And while Democrats remained in support of Tanden, Sanders, the chair of the committee, did not mention her during the hearing.

As he wrapped up his questioning of Young, Senator Lindsey Graham, the ranking Republican on the committee, said, “Well you’ll get my support – maybe even for both jobs, who knows.”

GOP Senator John Kennedy added, “You may be more than deputy. You may be the sheriff.”

Fin Gomez and Sarah Ewall-Wice contributed reporting.

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