Neera Tanden’s OMB nomination failed. Her fallback plan remains a mystery.

A Democrat near the method additionally famous: “The irony is [Rice] was put in that position as a result of she in all probability couldn’t get [Senate] confirmed.”

Well being care is the place Tanden has made the strongest mark in her profession, having served as an adviser to the Well being and Human Providers secretary in the course of the Obama years. However there’s no expectation that she’s going to go in as a deputy at an company, and the Covid activity power is already stacked with large names far alongside of their work.

As a substitute, the expectation amongst high Democrats is that Tanden will tackle a senior adviser position, though the White Home is brimming with such people: from Steve Ricchetti to Bruce Reed to Anita Dunn. As one Democratic official put it “you make up some job. The query is, does she wanna take it?”


Each Tanden’s allies and people near the White Home imagine she’s going to, although neither thought that this was the gig she’d get.

Her failed nomination has drawn questions in regards to the White Home’s affirmation technique. People contained in the administration have been involved, early on, that it will be a tough combat, owing to Tanden’s partisan fame.

Her choice was pushed by White Home chief of workers Ron Klain, one among Tanden’s key allies inside Biden World. However a particular person intently concerned with the OMB director deliberations stated Klain additionally beneficial others for the position, together with Rep. Deb Haaland (who was, as a substitute, nominated as Inside secretary), Jennifer Granholm (now confirmed as Vitality secretary), and Cecilia Rouse (now confirmed as chair of the Council of Financial Advisers).

Tanden had broad help from Biden’s high advisers together with from Biden himself, the particular person stated. She had deep coverage expertise and had been useful to the marketing campaign by offering coverage help. Her rolodex included many high Democrats’ private cellular phone numbers which she used to shore up help from the occasion, together with the left-wing, early on.

Transition officers say that she plunged into the outreach technique, attempting to line up the backing of not simply senators however a variety of exterior teams and validators that ranged from AAPI teams, to unions, to former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake. Whereas these teams supported her nomination, officers at a number of the teams felt that the hassle was disorganized and lacked a actual “battle room.”

The White Home believed that the votes could be there for Tanden to be confirmed, up till Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) introduced his opposition to her nomination. A scramble ensued to not simply discover a Republican vote, however to make sure that no different caucusing Democrat adopted Manchin’s instance.

Two such Senators — Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kirsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) — signaled privately that they’d help the nomination. Sanders’ personal aides thought their boss was voting “sure” after the affirmation hearings.

In keeping with three sources accustomed to the discussions, Sanders let the White Home know that he would possible be a “sure” on Tanden. Two of these sources stated Sinema had made clear that she would vote sure on Tanden if a Republican senator might be discovered to help her too. In different phrases, Sinema wouldn’t be the deciding vote.

Sinema’s workplace declined to remark. Sanders’ workplace didn’t return a request for remark. However their public silence in the course of the warmth of the affirmation combat didn’t go unnoticed.

“If that they had come out and stated we’re together with her, they’d have put extra muscle in attempting to get [Sen. Lisa] Murkowksi to substantiate or perhaps one other TBD Republican,” stated a particular person near the White Home.

For the White Home, the massive unknown was Murkowksi. The Alaska Republican was the one Republican who had not acknowledged the place she stood on Tanden’s nomination to go OMB. She and Tanden met on Monday. And although the 2 talked about Biden administration coverage vis-a-vis Murkowski’s residence state of Alaska, Democratic officers pressured that there was by no means speak of a quid-pro-quo.

“There was no trace of in case you do that, I’ll do this,” stated the aforementioned White Home adviser. “She was not in that area. However she had been clear within the White Home that there have been some issues she was searching for with respect to Alaska.”


The dialog didn’t produce a breakthrough. Murkowski has not stated whether or not she ever made up her thoughts on Tanden’s nomination. However on the White Home, it turned evident that there was no path ahead. On Tuesday night, Tanden, fearful that Republicans have been — within the phrases of 1 confidant — “bleeding [her nomination] slowly” requested to have her identify withdrawn. The president complied.

On Wednesday, Murkowski was requested about her pondering.

“Did I ever make up my thoughts? I’m solely pausing as a result of I’m like: did you learn the information? She’s withdrawn,” she replied. “I don’t know why there’s nonetheless curiosity on this story. I believe Neera Tanden has been by means of a lot for a number of months now and we’re going to maneuver on. In equity, I’m glad I had a chance to speak to her”

Burgess Everett and Anita Kumar contributed reporting

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