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2 key GOP senators oppose Neera Tanden's nomination to lead Biden's budget office

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Washington — GOP Senators Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Romney of Utah will vote against confirming Neera Tanden to lead the Office of Management and Budget, further putting Tanden's nomination in peril in the evenly divided Senate.

"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. Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency," Collins said in a statement. "Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend."

The Maine Republican also criticized Tanden's decision to delete tweets before President Biden announced her nomination last year, saying the move "raises concerns about her commitment to transparency."

"Should Congress need to review documents or actions taken by OMB, we must have confidence that the director will be forthcoming," Collins said. "The OMB needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership."

Romney likewise said he would oppose Tanden's nomination, with a spokesperson saying he believes "it's hard to return to comity and respect with a nominee who has issued a thousand mean tweets."

Tanden, who leads the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, faces a steep battle to confirmation, as her history of combative tweets targeting senators on both sides of the aisle rankled Republicans, in particular. Tanden compared Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to "Voldemort," called Collins "the worst" and claimed Senator Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas, was a "fraud."

White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated support for Tanden's nomination, saying in a statement that Tanden is "an accomplished policy expert who would be an excellent Budget Director and we look forward to the committee votes this week and to continuing to work toward her confirmation through engagement with both parties."

Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, announced Friday he opposes Tanden's nomination, potentially delivering a death blow to her confirmation as Democrats control just 50 seats in the Senate. Manchin cited Tanden's "overly partisan statements" as his reason for voting against her confirmation, warning they 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."

Still, Mr. Biden told reporters Friday he would not withdraw Tanden's nomination, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Sunday he is working to "find the extra votes" to carry her across the finish line. For Tanden to take the helm at the White House budget office, a Republican senator would need to cross the aisle and vote to confirm her, leaving Vice President Kamala Harris to break a 50-50 tie.

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