Opposition to President Joe Biden’s nominee for White House budget director Neera Tanden may stem from sexism, Democrats suggested in late February.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Mitt Romney of Utah, Rob Portman of Ohio, and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania have all announced that they will vote against Tanden, and Democratic West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin announced his opposition to Tanden Sunday. If Manchin and every Republican vote against Tanden, she would fall one vote short of confirmation.
Some of her supporters suggest that her lack of support stems from sexism.
“There’s a double standard going on,” Democratic California Rep. Judy Chu, who is head of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, told Politico. “Her nomination is very significant for us Asian American and Pacific Islanders. I do believe that this double standard has to do with the fact that she would be a pioneer in that position.”
Three female nominees have already been confirmed: Janet Yellen as secretary of the Treasury, Avril Haines as director of National Intelligence, and Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.N. envoy. Female nominees Marcia Fudge, Jennifer Granholm, Isabel Guzman, Cecilia Rouse, Rep. Deb Haaland, Gina Raimondo, and Katherine Tai are either awaiting their senate confirmations or are under review.
Manchin, a moderate Democrat, cited Tanden’s “toxic” statements about Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Mitch McConnell and others, saying: “I believe her overtly partisan statements will have a toxic and detrimental impact on the important working relationship between members of Congress and the next director of the Office of Management and Budget.”
But Tanden’s supporters note that many of those who object to the Biden nominee’s political statements still voted to confirm Richard Grenell as U.S. ambassador to Germany despite his previous statements, according to Politico.
“We can disagree with her tweets, but in the past, Trump nominees that they’ve confirmed and supported had much more serious issues and conflicts than just something that was written on Twitter,” Democratic New York Rep. Grace Meng said in a recent interview, the publication reported. “This is not just about any one nominee like Neera, or whoever else — it’s just about this pattern that is happening and increasingly hard to ignore.”
The Washington Post editorial board said Monday that Republican opposition to Tanden reflects “mind-boggling hypocrisy.”
“Republicans spent four years playing down and forgiving President Donald Trump’s disgusting tweets,” the Post’s editorial board said. “Not a single Republican voted against confirming Richard Grenell, Mr. Trump’s ambassador to Germany, despite his history of Twitter trolling — including nasty comments about the appearances of female journalists and world leaders — which was far worse than Ms. Tanden’s tweets. Mr. Manchin voted to confirm Mr. Grenell, too.”
“It is not fair to hold Mr. Biden’s nominees to a far higher standard because the president has called for unity while his predecessor denigrated it,” the editorial board wrote. “Ms. Tanden should have been more civil in the past, like many people in Washington. But the Senate should approve presidents’ picks to staff their administrations unless those picks are grossly unqualified.”