Politics

Neera Tanden Named White House Staff Secretary

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Michael Ginsberg Congressional Reporter
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Neera Tanden was named White House staff secretary Friday, more than seven months after President Joe Biden withdrew her nomination to helm the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Chief of Staff Ron Klain announced her hiring in a morning staff call, The Washington Post reported. Tanden, a long-time Democratic operative, previously served as an aide and adviser to Hillary Clinton during Clinton’s time as first lady, senator, and presidential candidate. She also led the left-wing think tank, Center for American Progress (CAP).

The staff secretary is responsible for managing what the president reads and hears. Previous holders of the position include Democratic New York Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, former White House Chief of Staff John Podesta and Associate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Biden announced in November 2020 that he would nominate Tanden to lead OMB, which is responsible for coordinating and conveying the administration’s economic and policy goals within the executive branch and to Congress.

One of Biden’s most contentious cabinet picks, she once punched reporter and political operative Faiz Shakir after Shakir asked a question critical of Clinton. She also suggested in an email to CAP staff that Libya pay the U.S. back in oil for intervening in its 2011 civil war. (RELATED: Democrats Suggest Biden Nominee Neera Tanden Struggles Due To Sexism)

Tanden’s tweets insulting senators from both parties contributed to her losing the OMB nomination. During her confirmation hearing, tweets bashing Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and numerous Republicans, including Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell, and Maine Sen. Susan Collins, were publicized.

“I don’t mind disagreements in policy, I think that’s great. I love the dialectic, but the comments were personal. I mean, you called Sen. Sanders everything but an ignorant slut,” Republican Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy told Tanden during a hearing.

Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin ultimately opposed Tanden’s nomination, arguing that “her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.”

Biden eventually accepted Tanden’s request to rescind her nomination.

Shalanda Young has served as acting director of OMB since March, when she was confirmed as deputy director.

Klain promised in February to find a position for Tanden in the Biden administration not requiring Senate confirmation if she could not get approval. She has been working as a senior advisor to Biden, a title she will keep, Politico reported.