Feb 23, 2021
Republicans seize on Biden's domestic policy nominees as Tanden nomination in limbo
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(CNN)The pressure is mounting for Democrats to remain united on nominees moving through the Senate, as Republicans signal a growing resistance to backing some of President Joe Biden's picks for key domestic policy posts.The nomination hearings of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the Department of Health and Human Services and Rep. Deb Haaland to lead the Department of Interior came Tuesday at a moment when the fragility Democrats' narrow majority and their ability to swiftly advance Biden's Cabinet was coming into focus. Without Republican support, Democrats need all 50 of their members to back a nominee.With Neera Tanden's nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget hanging by a thread since Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat from West Virginia, announced his opposition, many Republicans believe they have more leverage than ever to potentially sink some of Biden's nominees or at the very least use the next several weeks to draw out stark policy differences between the two parties on energy, health care and abortion.
Related Interactive: Where President Biden's Cabinet nominees standThe Biden administration hasn't lost a single nominee yet. The White House has been clear it stands by Tanden's nomination and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, has left the door open to backing Tanden, telling reporters Tuesday she wouldn't make a decision until after the Budget and Homeland Security committees voted Wednesday to advance the nomination.But Tanden's struggle to win support in the Senate while unique given her history of tweets attacking Republicans, is also a reflection of just how narrow the majority for Democrats is. Democrats cannot afford defections in their own party and if they happen, they need Republicans to make up the difference, something that is harder to find with some of Biden's latest nominees.At the start of Becerra's confirmation hearing Tuesday, top Republican Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, said bluntly: "I am not sold yet.""I am not sure you have the necessary experience or skills to do the job at the moment," Burr said.Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah where public lands issues have become a political lightening rod in recent years, said he wasn't sure if Haaland was the right person for the job."I voted for almost all of the President's nominees so far, but Congresswoman Haaland and Neera Tanden present some real questions and challenges," Romney said.Manchin, the chairman of the Energy Committee, has also not said if he will back Haaland, who was supportive of the Green New Deal when she was in Congress, a policy that Manchin himself is not supportive of."We have to finish up the hearing," Manchin said. "I think she's been doing fine."Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, a moderate Democrat from Arizona, has also not said if she would back Haaland or Tanden.
News Source: CNN
Tags: tanden’s nomination health and human services biden’s cabinet some of biden’s national security nominees to lead the department nomination a moderate democrat biden’s nominees cabinet a republican attorney general a democrat narrow majority north carolina the nomination support the nomination supportive as republican for democrats back haaland neera tanden through on nominees
Senate Committee Vote on Biden Budget Pick Tanden Postponed
The Senate Homeland Security Committee postponed a morning meeting where the nomination was going to be discussed. They provided no further information.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki indicated Biden continues to stand by Tanden’s nomination.
"Neera Tanden is a leading policy expert who brings critical qualifications to the table during this time of unprecedented crisis," she wrote on Twitter.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
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