Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee to be director of the Office of Management and Budget, faced intense criticism this week in a Senate confirmation hearing.
Tanden was questioned by members of the Senate Budget Committee for past tweets, including ones critical of committee Chair Bernie Sanders.
“I don’t mind disagreements in policy, I think that’s great,” Sen. John Kennedy, R-Louisiana, said. “I love the dialectic. But the comments were personal. I mean you called Sen. Sanders everything but an ‘ignorant slut.’”
“That is not true, senator.” Tanden responded.
“When you said these things, did you mean them?” Kennedy asked.
“Senator, I have to say, I deeply regret my comments,” Tanden answered.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, also confronted Tanden for her past words.
“You’ve been a very partisan figure and very tough figure when it comes to political discourse and that’s okay, too,” Graham said. “But calling Mitch McConnell ‘Moscow Mitch’ is probably not a very good thing to say. Suggesting that the minority leader is somehow in the pocket of the Russians. The GOP’s capacity for evil ‘knows no bounds.’ I’m sure a lot of people in America believe that. I’m not one of them.”
Sanders took issue with Tanden’s leadership with the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank group that reportedly received $38 million in corporate donations. A Washington Post report suggested that the group was backed by foreign and corporate interests.
“At a time when the wealthy and large corporations have extraordinary influence over the economic and political life of this country, I must tell you that I am concerned about the corporate donations the Center for American Progress has received under your leadership,” Sanders said. “Before I vote to confirm your nomination, it is important for this committee to know that those donations will not influence your decision making at OMB.”
“I think one of the reasons that so many people are disillusioned with politics in America and given up on democracy and politicians make promises and they run away from those promises,” Sanders added.
Tanden told Sanders that her past work with corporate donors with the Center for American Progress would not affect her ability to perform the job.
“It will have zero impact on my decision making,” she said. “I’m actually capped in a number of positions that disagreed vigorously with the policy of those institutions and I appreciate this question and it is my role, it will be my role to ensure that I am only serving the interests of the American people, the administration and its agenda to address rising inequality and address the needs of working families.”