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Neera Tanden, Biden's former budget chief pick, to join White House as senior adviser

The president had originally tapped Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget, but her nomination was scuttled amid bipartisan opposition in the Senate.
Image: Neera Tanden
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee for Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), speaks before a Senate Committee on the Budget hearing on Capitol Hill on Feb. 10, 2021.Anna Moneymaker / The New York Times via AP, Pool

WASHINGTON — Neera Tanden, whose nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget was derailed by bipartisan opposition in the Senate, will become a senior adviser to President Joe Biden, two White House officials told NBC News on Friday.

Tanden, a leading progressive policy expert and an aide in two previous administrations, will be responsible for preparing for different contingencies that could result from the Supreme Court’s consideration of Republican lawsuits seeking to strike down the Affordable Care Act, one source told NBC News.

Tanden will also launch a review of the United States Digital Service, which the White House says has a crucial mission of making government accessible to the American people online.

The White House withdrew Tanden's nomination to lead OMB in March. Tanden ran into trouble after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came out against her, citing overtly partisan statements that he said would have a toxic and detrimental impact on the working relationship between Congress and the agency.

Tanden, who would have been the first non-white woman to run the office, was criticized because of her previous posts on Twitter targeting Republicans and Democrats in the Senate.

"I have accepted Neera Tanden's request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget," Biden said in a statement at the time. "I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work."

Tanden’s new role does not require confirmation by the Senate.

John Podesta, founder and director of Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank for which Tanden was previously president and CEO, praised the appointment in a statement on Friday.

“Neera’s intellect, tenacity, and political savvy will be an asset to the Biden administration as she assumes a new role as Senior Advisor to the President," he said. "While we will be sorry to lose her considerable policy expertise and leadership at the Center for American Progress—an organization which we founded together in 2003—I am exceptionally thrilled to see her step into a new position serving this White House and the American people," he added.