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Updated at 17:49 ET
Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia said he opposes President Biden’s candidate to run the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden. The White House stands by the nomination, though Manchin’s opposition makes it more insecure.
Manchin quoted negative comments about Republicans that Tanden made while running the leftist think tank Center for American Progress. The comments on social media have been studied, mostly on the right, since her nomination.
“I believe her openly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental effect on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget. For that reason, I cannot support her nomination,” said Manchin, who has a history of breaking up with his party. .
At her confirmation hearing last week, Tanden apologized for his comments.
“I think the last few years have become polarized and I apologize for my language contributing to that,” Tanden told members of the Senate National Security and Government Affairs Committee. “I know it’s up to me to show this committee and Republican and Democratic members that I can work with anyone.”
Manchin’s stance is a blow to Tanden’s nomination in the Senate divided between 50-50 parties. She will need at least one Republican senator to vote in her favor. Republicans have joined Democrats in support of other Biden candidates, but those choices were not so controversial.
The White House remained undisturbed on Friday night, reiterating its support for Tanden. Asked if he would withdraw her nomination, Biden said, “No.”
In a statement, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki called Tanden “an excellent policy expert who would be an excellent budget director.” The statement said the White House was looking forward to the committee’s vote next week “and will continue to work to confirm it through engagement on both sides.”
Tanden, who was an adviser to Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, would be the first woman in color to oversee OMB.