A pair of committee-level confirmation votes on President Joe Biden’s pick for budget director, Neera Tanden, have been postponed, further fueling doubts about whether she can win approval to the post.
Votes set for Wednesday by the the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Budget panels were each postponed, according to a notice posted by the first committee and aides familiar with the matter. No official reason was immediately provided.
The Homeland Security committee vote, which was due to take place in a hearing scheduled for 10 a.m., was postponed because members need more time to consider Tanden’s nomination, according to an aide familiar with the matter. Biden deserves to have a team in place that he wants, and the committee will look for the best path forward, the aide said.
Tanden’s chances of nomination had already narrowed this week as Republicans and at least one Democrat — Joe Manchin of West Virginia — have said they won’t support her.
The postponements Wednesday hint at further unease. Democrats can’t afford to lose any members during committee votes due to their slim majority.
Both Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema, who serves on the Homeland Security committee, and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders, who chairs the budget panel, haven’t said whether they’ll support Tanden. Sinema’s and Sanders’s offices didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Their opposition would require additional Republican votes for Tanden to win confirmation in the full Senate, which is divided 50-50 along party lines.
Complicating matters further for Tanden’s supporters, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pushing all of the chamber’s GOP members to vote against the nomination.
Biden’s White House said Wednesday it was still pushing to win support for Tanden.
Tanden is “a leading policy expert” who “has a broad spectrum of support, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to labor unions, and 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,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday following the committee delay.
Biden has also expressed confidence in her approval. “We still think there’s a shot, a good shot,” he said Tuesday.
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