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Sen. Manchin opposes Neera Tanden as Biden's budget chief, imperiling nomination

The Democrat's opposition is a significant blow to her prospects of confirmation to head the Office of Management and Budget
Image: Second Impeachment Trial Of Donald J. Trump Continues In Senate
Sen. Joe Manchi, D-W.Va., arrives at the Capitol on the third day of former President Donald Trump's impeachment trial on Feb. 11, 2021.Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images file

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said Friday he will oppose Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget, imperiling the prospects of a high-profile nominee of President Joe Biden.

"I have carefully reviewed Neera Tanden’s public statements and tweets that were personally directed towards my colleagues on both sides of the aisle from Senator Sanders to Senator McConnell and others," Manchin said in a statement.

"I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget," he said. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination."

If confirmed, Tanden would be the first nonwhite woman to run the federal budget office.

Biden told reporters later Friday that he won't withdraw Tanden's nomination in response to Manchin's announcement.

"I think we're going to find the votes to get her confirmed,” he said.

His statement is a major blow to her prospects in a Senate split between 50 Democratic members and 50 Republicans.

Tanden has met with 35 senators, including both Democrats and Republicans. That outreach began “moments after she was named, and is continuing into next week,” an official close to confirmation process said.

The team working Tanden’s nomination has also been working outside interest groups to lobby senators on her behalf.

Without Manchin's vote, she will need some GOP support to secure the majority needed for confirmation, which is uncertain given her history on social media of harsh criticism of prominent conservatives. She said during her confirmation hearings that she regrets her past tweets.

"As I have said before, we must take meaningful steps to end the political division and dysfunction that pervades our politics. At a time of grave crisis, it is more important than ever that we chart a new bipartisan course that helps address the many serious challenges facing our nation," Manchin said.

The Senate has confirmed numerous Biden nominees and hasn't rejected any yet.