By Andrew Restuccia and Alex Leary 

WASHINGTON -- The White House is withdrawing Neera Tanden's nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget amid opposition from Senate Republicans and a key Democrat, marking the first failed confirmation push for one of President Biden's cabinet picks.

Ms. Tanden wrote a letter to Mr. Biden asking that she be withdrawn.

"I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation," she wrote. "Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation, and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities.

Mr. Biden said in a statement, "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."

White House chief of staff Ron Klain said last month that the administration hoped to find a position for Ms. Tanden that didn't require Senate confirmation if she were unable to win enough support.

Ms. Tanden, the leader of the center-left think tank the Center for American Progress, had come under criticism from some lawmakers for her past social-media comments, which included jabs at senators. She compared Sen. Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) to Voldemort, the Harry Potter villain; referred to Sen. Susan Collins (R., Maine) as "the worst"; and said "vampires have more heart" than Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas). She has also clashed with progressive activists and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.)

Sen. Joe Manchin, a centrist West Virginia Democrat, said he would oppose Ms. Tanden's nomination, citing her social-media comments. To clear the full Senate, Ms. Tanden would have needed to win the support of at least one Republican. The Senate is divided evenly between Republicans and Democrats, and Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

Several Republicans known for crossing the aisle said they would oppose her, and two Senate committees postponed votes on her nomination.

The White House had continued to maintain through Tuesday that it would fight for her, and Ms. Tanden met Monday with Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in an attempt to shore up her support. Ms. Murkowski declined to say on Tuesday whether she would back Ms. Tanden.

Shalanda Young, a longtime congressional staffer and Mr. Biden's choice for deputy director of the budget office, is seen as a leading contender to lead the OMB, people close to the White House said.

Write to Alex Leary at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 02, 2021 19:24 ET (00:24 GMT)

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