President-Elect Joe Biden has announced that he will nominate Neera Tanden to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Tanden is the President and CEO of the Washington, DC-based think tank, Center for American Progress.
Tanden previously served as Senior Adviser for Health Reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under the Obama Administration. She also served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy in former President Bill Clinton’s White House. Tanden earned her bachelor of science degree from University of California, Los Angeles and her JD from Yale Law School.
OMB oversees the performance of federal agencies, including science agencies like the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, and sets and administers the federal budget, including federal science spending. The OMB Director position needs to be confirmed by the Senate. Tanden’s confirmation hearings are expected to take place early next year.
Biden’s announcement of his OMB nominee sparked immediate controversy. Expressing concerns about her “partisan” background, Republican lawmakers have indicated that Tanden will likely face hurdles during the Senate confirmation process. “Of all the jobs, that’s one where I think you would need to be careful not to have someone who’s overtly partisan,” said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who previously served as OMB Director. “I’m not disqualifying anybody, but I do think it gets a lot harder obviously if they send someone from their progressive left that [is] kind of out of the mainstream,” said Senator John Thune (R-SD). Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren (MA) and Sherrod Brown (OH) have voiced support for Tanden.