The White House is planning to withdraw the nomination of Neera Tanden for the position of director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to multiple media reports. Tanden’s confirmation had run into trouble after Democratic senator Joe Manchin announced he would oppose her on grounds that her history of abrasive social-media comments would affect her ability to work with people on both sides of the aisle in Congress. The decision to pull the nomination likely indicates that efforts to bring a Republican senator — most recent reports have suggested Lisa Murkowski as the top target — into supporting Tanden to offset the Manchin defection have gone for nought.
Speculation on a possible substitute for Tanden has been well underway for a while, with some Democrats touting former Hillary Clinton adviser (and more problematically, Gavin Newsom chief of staff) Ann O’Leary, while progressives began to coalesce around Clinton-Obama economic adviser Gene Sperling. The path of least resistance for Team Biden, though, may well be to promote their nominee for deputy OMB director, House Appropriations Committee staff director Shalanda Young, who has been floating toward an easy confirmation thanks to support from Senate Republicans accustomed to working with her on bipartisan appropriations bills. Aside from her confirmability, Young, who is Black, might assuage those angry that Tanden faced discrimination as a woman of color.
There will be some talk about Tanden’s withdrawal being a major blow to the Biden administration, but a quick and successful substitution would make that judgment fade. As for Tanden, she may well be offered a high-ranking White House position that does not require Senate confirmation, or much direct interaction with the objects of “mean tweets.”