Second U.S. senator rejects Biden's budget pick Tanden, endangering confirmation

FILE PHOTO: Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) wears a face mask as she participates in a swearing-in for the 117th Congress with Vice President Mike Pence, in the Old Senate Chambers at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, DC, U.S. January 3, 2021. Kevin Dietsch/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. Senator Susan Collins on Monday said she would vote against Democratic President Joe Biden’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) nominee Neera Tanden, further imperiling her confirmation.

“Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend,” Collins said in a statement. “The OMB needs steady, experienced, responsive leadership. I will vote against confirming Ms Tanden.”

The moderate Republican’s rejection comes after Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Manchin on Friday announced he would not vote for Tanden, putting her nomination in doubt in the 50-50 divided chamber.

Biden on Friday said he still had confidence there would be enough votes in the Senate to confirm Tanden, who has been criticized by Republicans and some Democrats over past harsh comments on social media.

Both Collins and Manchin cited her Twitter posts in their statements. Tanden, an Indian-American who would be the first woman of color to lead the agency, apologized to senators at her confirmation hearing.

Representatives for the OMB and the White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

At least one Republican vote would be needed to secure her role as OMB director, if all other Democrats stay on board, since they control 50 seats in the chamber and Vice President Kamala Harris can break a tie.

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