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Romney follows Collins and Manchin with planned no vote on Tanden, likely tanking Biden's OMB pick

Tanden will need the support of at least one GOP Senator in order to move her nomination through the Senate chamber

Published: February 22, 2021 8:19am

Updated: February 23, 2021 10:23am

Utah Sen. Mitt Romney has become the second Republican to say he will not support the nomination of Neera Tanden to lead the Biden administration's Office of Management and Budget, further complicating her path to Senate confirmation. 

"Consistent with things I've said and done in the past, I could not support her in this circumstance," Romney said Monday. 

Earlier in the day, Maine GOP Sen. Susan Collins, a moderate who occasionally votes with Senate Democrats, said that she too will vote against Tanden's confirmation.

Collins and Romney became the second and third senators in four days to declare she will not support the nomination.  

Democrats will need support from at least one Republican in the 50-50 split senate to get Tanden confirmed.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate is a conservative-leaning state, and considered a swing vote in the now 50-50 Senate, said Friday that he would not support the Tanden nomination, raising concerns about her past comments about senate colleagues.

Collins said in a statement being released Monday: "The director of OMB is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of the federal budget and plays a significant role in any administration’s fiscal and regulatory agenda. Congress has to be able to trust the OMB director to make countless decisions in an impartial manner, carrying out the letter of the law and congressional intent."

Tanden is president of the liberal public policy research and advocacy group Center for American Progress, founded by former President Clinton chief of staff John Podesta. She has long maintained a close relationship with current Biden chief of staff Ron Klain. 

Her statement also echoed Manchin's concerns: "Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend."

Collins also pointed out that Taden' decision to delete more than a thousand tweets in the days before her nomination was announced "raises concerns about her commitment to transparency."

Said Manchin: "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. For this reason, I cannot support her nomination."

Manchin's "no" vote means Senate Democrats need at least one Republican to vote in favor of Tanden to get her nomination through the chamber. 

During initial confirmation hearings, Tanden was grilled by a Senate panel about the often vitriolic online public statements she has made about mostly Republicans, but several high-profile members of the Democratic caucus as well. 

Tanden has apologized.

Biden remains outwardly confident that Democrats will be able to push through her nomination.

"I think we are going to find the votes and get her confirmed," Biden told a group of reporters at Joint Base Andrews last week. 

Republican moderate Sena. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who sometimes votes with Democrats on critical issues, has not yet come out in support or opposition of Tanden's nomination – but, it has become clear that the Biden administration is now in a position where it will have to spend significant political capital to get Tanden to 51 votes.

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