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OMB nominee Neera Tanden apologizes for past tweets at Senate hearing

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee to become director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI
Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee to become director of the Office of Management and Budget, testifies Tuesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden's nominee to lead the White House budget office, faced questioning in the Senate Tuesday during her confirmation hearing about past remarks that were critical of some Republicans.

Tanden, who's been the subject of concern among some progressives and Republicans, appeared before the Senate homeland security committee for the hearing.

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In her opening statement, Tanden apologized for past remarks she's made criticizing Republicans who supported former President Donald Trump.

She also upset progressives when she seemed willing to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid spending in a budget deal with Republicans while she was an adviser in the Health and Human Services Department under former President Barack Obama.

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"Over the last few years, it's been part of my role to be an impassioned advocate," Tanden told the panel.

"I know there have been some concerns about some of my past languages in social media and I regret that language and take responsibility for it."

Biden has nominated Tanden, 50, to be his director of the Office of Management and Budget, the largest office of the Executive Branch that's responsible for producing the administration's budget. It also examines policy and proposals to ensure that they align with the president's agenda.

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"I understand that the role of OMB director calls for bipartisan action as well as nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence. If I am privileged to serve as the director, I would ensure that OMB uses every tool at its disposal to efficiently and effectively deliver for working Americans, small businesses, and struggling communities," she said.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, expressed concern over Tanden's past remarks.

"I'm concerned that your personal attacks about specific senators will make it more difficult for you to work with them," Portman said.

"Just to mention a few of the thousands of negative public statements, you wrote that Susan Collins, is 'the worst.' That Tom Cotton is a fraud. That vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz."

Tanden has deleted many of her controversial tweets, but Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., asked Tuesday if she was advised to delete them. She answered that she was not.

Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., criticized one tweet in particular, about the Little Sisters of the Poor after the group filed a lawsuit against former Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Tanden said that comment was intended as a criticism of the politicization of religion, rather than any one person who held sincere religious beliefs. She apologized for the remarks.

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Housing and Urban Development Secretary. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki (L) looks on as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Fudge, the first Black woman to lead the department in decades, speaks at a news conference in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo

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