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Neera Tanden, Biden’s pick for Budget Office, draws fire from the left and the right

New York:  Neera Tanden would become the first Indian American, and first woman of color, when confirmed, to head the influential Office of Management and Budget (OMB). But her formal nomination Tuesday by President-elect Joe Biden has drawn a fire of opposition from both Republicans and progressives alike. Currently she is the chief executive of the left-leaning Centre for American Progress, a public policy research and advocacy organization.  Tanden was a close ally of Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, and helped pass Obamacare.

The presidential transition team said this about Tanden, who has a JD from Yale Law School, “Her experience as a child relying on food stamps and Section 8 housing — a social safety net that offered her single mother the foundation she needed to land a good job and punch her family’s ticket to the middle class — instilled in her the true necessity of an economy that serves the dignity and humanity of all people.”

The communications director for Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said Tanden “stands zero chance of being confirmed.”   Drew Brandewie tweeted that Tanden “has an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators whose vote she’ll need.”

Even Nikki Haley, former South Carolina Governor, slammed Tanden’s nomination, saying Tanden has “shown bad judgment in the past”, for example, spreading a baseless theory that Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in 2016 because Russian hackers flipped votes.

Tanden’s reported selection also sparked angry reactions from the left, such as Brianna Joy Gray, the former press secretary for Sen. Bernie Sanders’ 2020 presidential campaign, who called Tanden a woman who is openly disdainful of Sanders and his coalition. “Everything toxic about the corporate Democratic Party is embodied in Neera Tanden,” Gray tweeted.

Not all progressive figures objected to Tanden. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said Tanden, along with Biden’s other picks for his economic team, is “committed to full employment, boosting wages, reducing inequality”.

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