Biden's New Budget Pick Runs the Center for American Progress

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Dec. 1 2020, Updated 10:15 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden has hit the ground running well before Inauguration Day. Recently, he selected Neera Tanden to head the OMB (Office of Management and Budget). Tanden also runs the CAP (Center for American Progress), but she isn't alone. 

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The Center for American Progress is a liberal-leaning think tank that researches and develops public policy. The organization also considers itself to be an advocate for economic and social concerns. The organization has received criticism from both sides of the political aisle.

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The CAP Action Fund is a sister organization

The CAP Action Fund is technically a separate organization from the Center for American Progress. However, the two share a physical location and some overlapping staff members.  

While the Center for American Progress is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, its sister group the CAP Action Fund is a 501(c)(4). This difference is crucial because the CAP Action Fund is able to reserve more lobbying funds. While they may be separate businesses, it's clear that the think tank directly influences the fund. After all, they do work in the same building, so it isn't exactly unbiased.

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Together, the two help build foundational policy and provide funding for Democratic initiatives. 

The Center for American Progress's views on education

One of the issues that the Center for American Progress talks about most is education. The organization has its own K–12 education team that works solely on policy for grade school children. For these students, the Center for American Progress prioritizes racial equity, increased school funding, and student preparation for the future.

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In one report, the Center for American Progress said, "Despite serving the same number of students, school districts where more than 75 percent of students are nonwhite receive $23 billion less than districts where more than 75 percent of students are white." The report also addressed solutions for equitable investment in education. 

Neera Tanden has Center for American Progress roots

Public scrutiny is political initiation and Tanden isn't immune. In a leaked email from 2015, Tanden said to a colleague, "The good thing about a Biden run is that he would make Hillary look so much better."  

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At the time, Tanden was serving as policy director for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. She has also been accused of physically hitting a progressive journalist in 2008. Currently, she's the president of the Center for American Progress.

As director of the OMB, Tanden would be in charge of the $4 trillion federal budget.

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Who is Laura Jimenez of the Center for American Progress?

Laura Jimenez is the director of standards and accountability for the Center for American Progress's K–12 education department. Jimenez is open about her beliefs on education reform. One of her issues revolves around standardized testing. 

Jimenez says that standardized test data shouldn't be used to rate and punish schools. She thinks that the data should be a tool to determine which schools need more resources and support.

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John Podesta is the founder of the Center for American Progress

John Podesta was the Chief of Staff to former President Bill Clinton. He's also the founder of the Center for American Progress and the recipient of Tanden's 2015 email.

Will the John Podesta emails impact Tanden?

The Senate must confirm Biden's picks before they are official. This is true for Tanden's position with the OMB as well as other roles like Janet Yellen's role as Secretary of the Treasury. 

Republican resistance is always plausible in a right-leaning Senate. However, the Senate has usually given new presidents some grace. We will have to see how the Senate responds to Biden's picks.

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