Neera Tanden, OMB nominee, apologizes for past language, ‘hurt’ that tweets might have caused

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Neera Tanden, President Biden’s pick to lead the White House budget office, apologized on Tuesday for harsh past criticism of Republicans on social media.

“I deeply regret and apologize for my language and some of my past language,” Ms. Tanden told senators on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. “To the extent people are hurt by my language, I deeply apologize.”

Sen Rob Portman of Ohio, the top Republican on the panel, said he was concerned that some of Ms. Tanden’s personal attacks on senators would make it more difficult for her to work with them.

He read some of her past criticisms, including calling Sen. Susan Collins of Maine “the worst,” Sen. Tom Cotton of Arkansas a “fraud,” and saying “that vampires have more heart than Ted Cruz.”

Mr. Portman also said Ms. Tanden called Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky “Moscow Mitch” and “Voldemort.”

Asked if she deleted tweets from her account last year because of her anticipated nomination,

Ms. Tanden said she deleted them because she regretted the comments.

The director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has a vast portfolio, overseeing the sprawling federal budget and executive branch regulations.

In Ms. Tanden’s opening remarks, she highlighted her family’s reliance on food stamps after her mother moved to America from India to raise two children.

“As I sit before this committee, I’m mindful that my path in life would never have been possible without budgetary choices that reflected our nation’s values — many of them made in the very agency I am now nominated to lead,” she said.

Ms. Tanden served in the Clinton administration before she later became a key architect of Obamacare, former President Obama’s signature domestic achievement.

She took the helm at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, in 2011.

She said Tuesday that she knows OMB director is a different beast than her past roles.

Ms. Tanden has drawn fire from the left as well for her clashes with Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

If confirmed, she would be the first woman of color and South Asian American to lead OMB.

Mr. Biden has praised Ms. Tanden as a brilliant policy wonk and dismissed GOP concerns about her “nasty tweets.”

Ms. Tanden is also scheduled to testify Wednesday before the Senate Budget Committee, which is now chaired by Mr. Sanders.

Her nomination process was made easier after Democrats swept two U.S. Senate runoffs in Georgia last month, giving the majority party the power to confirm Ms. Tanden without needing Republican support.

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