In a major setback to US President Joe Biden, Indian-American Neera Tanden on Tuesday withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, after the ruling party and the administration failed to muster enough votes in the Senate to secure her confirmation.
Tanden, 50, had been facing a tough time for the confirmation of her nomination over her past Twitter outbursts against several lawmakers, including those from her own Democratic Party. Biden accepted her withdrawal and indicated that Tanden might be brought in the administration in some other capacity.
Her withdrawal marks the first high-profile defeat of one of Biden’s nominees. Eleven of the 23 Cabinet nominees requiring Senate approval have been confirmed, most with strong bipartisan support.
“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” Biden said in a statement.
The President indicated that she will have a role to play in his administration. “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,” Biden said.
Earlier in a letter to Biden, Tanden said it has been an “honour of a lifetime to be considered for this role and for the faith placed in me. “I am writing to you to withdraw my nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget,” she wrote.
“I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation. 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,” Tanden said in the letter.
“I am incredibly grateful for your leadership on behalf of the American people and for your agenda that will make such a transformative difference in people’s lives,” she wrote.
Tanden’s nomination was in jeopardy because of hundreds of her tweets against several Republican and Democratic Senators, who in turn vowed to vote against her during the Senate confirmation. She reportedly deleted more than 1,000 tweets before her confirmation process started. Tanden had apologised to senators during her confirmation hearings last month.