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Neera Tanden's Nomination Angers Bernie Sanders' Allies

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President-elect Joe Biden has started the transition process even though President Trump hasn’t officially conceded defeat. As part of the transition, Biden has named Neera Tanden as the director of OMB (Office of Management and Budget). However, Tanden’s nomination hasn't gone down well with Republicans and some Democrats, including Bernie Sanders' supporters.

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Along with Neera Tanden, Biden has announced several other picks for his cabinet. His other picks include:

  • Former Federal Reserve chairwomen Janet Yellen as the Secretary of Treasury
  • Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Antony Blinken as the Secretary of State
  • Jake Sullivan as the National Security Adviser

However, Neera Tanden's inclusion in the incoming Biden administration has led to some controversy.

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How will Neera Tanden be part of Biden’s economic team?

Biden has picked Neera Tanden as the director of OMB, which is a crucial office with a mission to “assist the President in meeting his policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives and to fulfill the agency’s statutory responsibilities.” Russel Vought is the current OMB director.

Tanden would assume the post only after her selection is approved by the Senate. If Democrats don’t manage to win the majority in the upcoming Senate run-off elections and Republicans maintain the majority, it could be difficult to push her candidacy. Many Republicans as well as some Democrats don’t support her for the position.

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What has Bernie Sanders' team said about Neera Tanden?

In the past, Bernie Sanders has been critical of Neera Tanden. In a letter in 2019, Sanders said, “Neera Tanden repeatedly calls for unity while simultaneously maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas.” He also criticized the left-leaning think tank CAP (Center for American Progress) that Tanden heads.

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Other Sanders’ allies also have criticized Tanden after Biden picked her for the OMB. “We’re talking about a woman who’s notorious for assaulting Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager,” said Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ former national press secretary. She also tweeted and accused Tanden of being friendly with “extreme bigots online.”

Why has Neera Tanden’s selection caused waves?

Neera Tanden’s selection has created some controversy. Even though the political environment is very polarized, Republicans and some Democrats are critical of Tanden. The liberals in the Democratic party think that she's too conservative for a Democrat.

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While some Democrats doubt Tanden's credentials as a liberal, Republicans think that she's too left-leaning. “Neera Tanden is a big-government, big-spending radical liberal who’s a terrible choice for OMB Director,” tweeted Senator Rick Scott. In the same tweet, he said that he is concerned that her selection reflects that the Democrats would move more towards the left under the Biden administration.

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Who supports Neera Tanden as part of Biden’s team?

Neera Tanden has supporters as well. Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown, John Podesta, the Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton and founder of CAP, and Richard Trumka, the head of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), support Tanden. 

Tanden has also received support from Elizabeth Warren, who is leaning towards the left. In the letter last year, Sanders accused the CAP of running a smear campaign against Warren.

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