Bernie Sanders won’t address Biden budget nominee Neera Tanden


Senate Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders is dodging questions on when or if he will move forward with President Biden’s pick for budget chief — given their rocky history.

Asked by Punchbowl News whether he would push Neera Tanden’s nomination to run the Office of Management and Budget forward, Sanders (I-Vt.) was cagey.

“It’s going on,” the progressive pol told the outlet when asked if the longtime Clinton ally’s nomination would be pushed through before another Covid package was passed.

“I don’t know honestly, we’re working on it,” he continued.

Pressed again about the issue on Monday, Sanders replied, “Obviously, there’s a process we’re going to go through.”

The 2020 Democratic presidential primary runner-up then walked away, ignoring another question on the matter.

A spokesperson for Sanders could not immediately be reached by The Post for comment.

A White House spokesperson did not respond to The Post’s request for comment.

Reached by Fox News, a Sanders spokesperson said they were “still figuring it out,” but noted that the Vermont senator had not yet become chairman of the committee as there has yet to be an organizing resolution.

Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, was tapped by Biden as his pick for budget chief in late November.

The position requires Senate approval, which could pose a problem given the makeup of the body. The Senate is split 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans, with Vice President Harris holding a tie-breaking vote which tips the scale for her party.

Still, Tanden cannot afford to lose a single vote on the Democratic side — a risk given her relationship with Sanders.

Sanders and Tanden’s rocky relationship dates back to the 2016 Democratic presidential primary, when the Clinton ally was a senior voice in the former secretary of state’s campaign.

WikiLeaks emails from that time revealed that she referred to staffers at the progressive news website ThinkProgress as “crazy leftists.”

Tension between the two escalated in 2019, when Sanders was seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination and Tanden was running CAP.

Sanders wrote a letter accusing the organization, and Tanden, of “maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas” during the primary.

He also accused ThinkProgress, which is operated under the CAP Action Fund, of falsely claiming in a video that he had changed his rhetoric surrounding millionaires after becoming one himself.

President Joe Biden tapped Neera Tanden as his pick for budget chief.
President Joe Biden tapped Neera Tanden as his pick for budget chief.
Evan Vucci/AP

At the time, Tanden said ThinkProgress was “editorially independent.”

Shortly after, their relationship was strained further when the New York Times reported about an incident years earlier in which Tanden punched Faiz Shakir, who ran Sanders’ 2020 presidential effort, “in the chest.”

The alleged incident took place in 2008, when she accompanied Clinton to what was supposed to be a softball interview with Shakir, then chief editor of ThinkProgress’ website.

Shakir asked Clinton about her support for the Iraq War, which had been a source of controversy in her candidacy at the time. Tanden, according to the Times, circled back to Shakir after the interview and punched him in the chest.

Tanden denied it was a punch when reached by the Times, but did acknowledge getting physical with him.

“I didn’t slug him, I pushed him,” Tanden said in a tone described by the paper as “still angry.”

“I don’t know anyone personally in Bernie world who is happy about this choice. We’re talking about a woman who’s notorious for assaulting Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager,” Briahna Joy Gray, Sanders’ 2020 campaign press secretary, told Politico of the choice.

“It’s like putting Chelsea Clinton in the office. She’s clearly not a friend of the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party,” Kurt Ehrenberg, Sanders’ former longtime political strategist, concurred to the outlet.

On the right, Tanden is facing ire as well.

The OMB nominee is a prolific tweeter and has used the platform to issue bombastic criticisms of lawmakers — as well as voters — who identify to her right and left.

The vocal Democrat appears to have deleted over 1,000 tweets since Nov. 1, after posts targeting lawmakers whose vote she will need for confirmation resurfaced.

The tweets, some deleted and some still live, reference GOP lawmakers by name, tagging them, and blasting them for supporting former President Trump, or in some cases, attacking them personally.

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here