The Sharks Circle: As Neera Tanden Nomination Falters, Potential Replacements Emerge for Budget Post

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 09: Neera Tanden, nominee for director of the Office and Management and Budget (OMB) speaks during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee confirmation hearing on February 9, 2021 in Washington, DC. Tanden helped found the Center for American Progress, a policy research and advocacy …
Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images

President Joe Biden and his surrogates are stating publicly that they stand behind the nomination of Neera Tanden to head the Office of Management and Budget, but opposition to her is growing and the names dropping of possible replacements is already under way.

But the confirmation of Tanden, who was head of the left-wing Center for American Progress and regularly targeted conservatives and Republicans and who deleted thousands of derogatory posts on social media, is far from certain.

Without the help of Republicans, in fact, Tanden’s nomination will be nixed, and so far, three “moderate” GOP senators — Susan Collins (R-ME), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) — have stated they will not vote in favor of confirmation.

Politico reported on two individuals who might end up as the person in control of the federal budget and the Biden administration’s fiscal and regularly policies:

Two early contenders to replace Tanden are Gene Sperling, a two-time director of the National Economic Council, and Ann O’Leary, who just came off a stint serving as California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s chief of staff, and who was considered a leading alternative to Tanden back in November when Tanden’s nomination was announced, according to people familiar with the matter.

Sperling, whose potential bid was mentioned in a Friday night article in The American Prospect, has boosters through the party owing to his service in the Clinton and Obama administrations and the relationships he’s built both with Biden’s top economic advisers and within progressive intellectual circles.

O’Leary is a longtime Democratic policymaker with close ties to top Biden aides — in particular, White House chief of staff Ron Klain — owing to her years of experience in Clintonworld. She worked in the Clinton White House and then joined Hillary Clinton’s Senate office as legislative director. She later served as a top policy adviser on Clinton’s 2016 campaign, along with Jake Sullivan, now Biden’s national security adviser.

Politico also reported on a third name that is circulating, based on the fact that the left is pressing the Biden administration for “diversity” in his cabinet.

“Given the concerns surrounding Sperling and O’Leary, the White House could decide to elevate Shalanda Young, who has been nominated to serve as deputy OMB director,” Politico reported. “Young, a black woman, is widely respected by both parties on the Hill, where she has worked as the staff director for House Democrats on the Appropriations Committee.”

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