Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s nominee for Director of the Office of Administration and Budget (OMB), attends a hearing with the Senate Committee on Budget on Capitol Hill in Washington on February 10, 2021.
Anna Moneymaker | Pool | Reuters
President Joe Biden’s administration is being asked to search for possible replacement candidates for Neera Tanden, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter as the decision to head the bureau of administration and budget is on the verge of not passing the Senate.
Numerous Biden allies, including those in the business community, are working for the White House, these people added.
Two names cited as potential replacements are Gene Sperling, who has ties to former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, and Ann O’Leary, who has ties to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Biden’s allies are encouraging his advisors to prepare for the possibility the Senate will not approve Tanden, according to the people.
Many of these allies are also warning the White House of another possible scenario: if Tanden doesn’t have the votes to get through the Senate, she could simply withdraw from the nomination herself.
Those who described the lobbying did so on condition of anonymity, as these consultations were private.
Sperling was director of the National Economic Council under Clinton and Obama. O’Leary was the 2016 campaign advisor to Hillary Clinton, who later became Chief of Staff to California Governor Gavin Newsom.
O’Leary has publicly praised Tanden. The White House continued to stand by Tanden, including at the press conference on Monday.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at the briefing that the government had urged lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to support Tanden’s nomination.
“We spoke on the phone with Democrats and Republicans and their offices over the weekend,” said Psaki.
White House and Center for American Progress officials, the Tanden think tank, did not respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.
Democrats currently control the Senate by a slim majority, but three lawmakers have come forward to say they will vote no to Tanden’s confirmation. One of those who have said they will not support Tanden is Senator Joe Manchin, DW.Va. Sens. Mitt Romney, R-Utah and Susan Collins, R-Maine also have no plans to vote for them.
Each of the three senators cited Tanden’s report on the demolition of federal officials on both sides of the aisle, including Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, who is currently reviewing her nomination.
During her confirmation hearing, Sanders targeted Tanden’s story of “vicious attacks” against progressives and Sanders himself. In a CNN interview on Friday, Sanders did not say whether he would vote for Tanden, but rather that he would speak to her “early next week” .