WASHINGTON – A Democratic senator responded to allegations of sexism by progressives Tuesday after opposing Neera Tanden to be President Joe Biden’s budget director, a decision that threw her nomination into uncertainty.
Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia denied that sexism played a role in his opposition and called his decision “nothing personal.”
The nomination of Tanden, who would be the first non-white woman to lead the Office of Management and Budget, hung by a thread in the afternoon as Republican leaders sought to unify and block her.
Manchin’s opposition means Tanden needs a Republican to cross the aisle to be confirmed.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said in his lecture during a Tuesday lunch meeting that he wants them to stick together and oppose Tanden, according to two Republican sources familiar with his comments.
When asked immediately after lunch if he expected his conference to merge with Tanden, McConnell told NBC News: “I hope so. We’ll see.”
The chamber has confirmed numerous nominees for President Joe Biden and has yet to reject any.
Like Manchin, many Republican senators cite previous Tanden tweets criticizing politicians from across the spectrum. In his statement Friday, Manchin said that Tanden’s “openly partisan statements will have a toxic and damaging impact on the important working relationship” between Congress and the influential White House budget office.
Since then, key Republicans such as Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Mitt Romney of Utah and Senator Rob Portman of Ohio have spoken out against Tanden, expressing similar concerns.
But some progressive lawmakers and activists saw a double standard between Tanden and some of President Donald Trump’s nominees that were confirmed by the Senate, including frequent Twitter sniper Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany and Brett Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court after his Intemperate testimony in response to allegations of attempted sexual assault.
Grace Meng, DN.Y., questioned whether there was a potential gender or race motive for opposition to nominees such as Tanden and Interior nominee Deb Haaland, who would be the first Native American to head the department.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who could be the last Republican senator in play, told reporters Tuesday that she still has time to make a decision on the full Senate vote, as Tanden faces two committee confirmation votes on Wednesday. .
Murkowski said he has spoken to the White House about Tanden, but it was unclear when or with whom specifically, nor did he say how the conversation went.
The White House supported Tanden’s nomination on Tuesday and said the administration is still working to find the necessary votes.
In his weekly press conference today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., criticized Republicans as hypocrites for basing their opposition to Tanden on petty tweets.
“I will not go into details or names, but we will continue looking [for votes]”Schumer said.” I think Neera Tanden would be an outstanding WBO nominee. And for Republicans looking the other way with the nastiest tweets from their president, their leader for now, to say that Neera Tanden shouldn’t come in because of her tweets is a bit of a contradiction.