White House chief of staff Ron Klain said Wednesday that if Neera Tanden isn’t confirmed by the Senate, then she will be placed in another position within the administration that doesn’t require confirmation.
Klain appeared on MSNBC’s “The ReidOut” and was asked by host Joy Reid about the confirmation of Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Specifically, Klain talked about why he thinks Republicans, as well as Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, are not supporting her nomination. (RELATED: ‘What A Joke’: Morning Joe Knocks GOP Resistance To Biden Nominees, Says ‘They’ve Surrendered Their Right To Be Outraged’)
“Well, we’re fighting very hard for Neera. We had Sen. Grassley announce he is open minded on Neera’s confirmation. We’ve got other Republican senators we’re talking to. We know that getting someone confirmed in a 50/50 Senate is hard. But Neera Tanden would be a superb budget director,” Klain responded. “She would be one of the most outstanding budget directors we’ve had. She knows policy. She knows how to get something done in Washington. She’s a great candidate for the job, and certainly we’re fighting our guts out to get her confirmed.”
Reid followed up, saying that “Republicans don’t care about that” and just want to win fights “that are more about messaging for their side.” She claimed that targeting women and people of color is “on message for them” and then asked if Biden would be willing to make Tanden the acting OMB director if Republicans keep fighting and “if Joe Manchin continues to stand in the way.”
“We can’t make someone acting director of an agency who has not been Senate confirmed. That’s the law … If Neera Tanden is not confirmed, she will not become the budget director,” Klain answered. “We will find some other place for her to serve in the administration that doesn’t require Senate confirmation. But, let me be clear, we’re going to get Neera Tanden confirmed. That’s what we’re working for.”
Reid then alleged that Manchin is trying to “leverage” his vote over Tanden’s nomination for something in return and asked Klain what he thought it could be.
“Is there something else he’s trying to get from you guys?” she added.
“I don’t think so. I take Sen. Manchin at his word. He is a senator who does believe we need to have more civility, more cooperation between the parties. That’s his objection to Neera Tanden,” Klain said. “I obviously disagree with him. I think Neera would actually add to that dialogue in Washington. I actually think she would do a good job, notwithstanding the tweets, her history of her work shows that.”
Tanden has received criticism for her past social media activity and other actions, which was the reason cited by Manchin and some other Republicans in announcing their decisions not to support her confirmation. Tanden apologized for what she has said on social media during her confirmation hearing Feb. 9.