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White House withdraws nomination of Neera Tanden as OMB chief

March 3, 2021, 12:27 AM UTC

President Joe Biden said he was withdrawing Neera Tanden’s nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget, marking his first defeat in a confirmation battle for a cabinet post.

Biden, in a statement on Tuesday evening, said she had asked that her name be withdrawn, but that “I look forward to having her serve in a role in my administration.”

Tanden lacked the votes to be confirmed in the closely divided Senate.

If every Democrat supported her, she would have not needed any Republican votes to approve her in the 50-50 Senate, which Democrats control because Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties. Moderate Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s decision to oppose Tanden imperiled her nomination, and then Senate Republicans dealt a fatal blow when none came forward to support her.

Biden will likely face pressure to choose a woman or minority as his next nominee. Tanden, who is Indian American, would have been the first woman of color to serve as budget director.

Moving forward with her doomed nomination could have eroded Biden’s political capital at a time he is urging Congress to pass his $1.9 trillion virus rescue package, a second large spending and infrastructure plan and an immigration overhaul.

Biden’s nominee for the deputy role at OMB, Shalanda Young, has emerged as a strong contender. She appeared before the Senate Budget Committee, one of two panels considering her nomination. As the top Democratic staff member on the House Appropriations Committee, Young has been at the center of talks to finance the government since March 2017.