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Indian-American Neera Tanden to serve as senior adviser to Biden

By Priyanka Verma 
Updated Date

Washington: The Biden administration has announced that Indian-American Neera Tanden, who had withdrawn her nomination to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) amid bipartisan criticism, will now join the White House as a senior adviser to President Joe Biden.

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In a statement, John Podesta, the founder of Center for American Progress (CAP) said: “Neera’s intellect, tenacity, and political savvy will be an asset to the Biden administration as she assumes a new role as senior adviser to the president. While we will be sorry to lose her considerable policy expertise and leadership at the Center for American Progress–an organization which we founded together in 2003–I am exceptionally thrilled to see her step into a new position serving this White House and the American people.”

He further said that many of the policy solutions under the Biden administration were developed and led by Tanden at CAP over many years.

“The administration’s efforts will be magnified with Neera Tanden on the team, and I am excited to see what she will achieve in the role of senior adviser and in the years to come,” he added.

Tanden serves as president and CEO of CAP and has served as the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

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In March, Tanden had withdrawn her nomination as Director of the White House OMB after the Democrats failed to secure enough votes in the Senate to secure her confirmation.

President Biden’s pick to lead the White House budget office had earlier generated early controversy, emerging as an immediate target for conservatives and Republican lawmakers. Neera is said to have run in trouble with some of the Republican senators due to her comments about some members of the Senate on Twitter, The Hill reported.

“I appreciate how hard you and your team at the White House has worked to win my confirmation. Unfortunately, it now seems clear that there is no path forward to gain confirmation and I do not want continued consideration of my nomination to be a distraction from your other priorities,” Tanden said in a statement.

Besides accepting Neera’s request for withdrawal,US President Joe Biden indicated that she will be brought back in another capacity in his administration.

“I have accepted Neera Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination for Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work,” Biden said.

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If Tanden had been selected, she would have been the first woman of colour and the first South Asian American to lead the OMB.

Tanden was also the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals.

Tanden joins a battery of nearly 30 Indian Americans – or more – in the Biden administration that include Vivek Murthy, who is doing a second stint as surgeon general; Vinay Reddy, director of the president’s team of speechwriters; and Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, a White House agency that advises the president on domestic and global economic policy.

Tanden had served as a senior advisor for health reform at the US Department of Health and Human Services entrusted with developing policies and provisions of the Affordable Care Act, then president Barack Obama’s signature law that is now called Obamacare. She went on to head a liberal thinktank centre for American Progress and was seen as a contender for a cabinet berth in a Hillary Clinton administration.

Tanden was born in Massachusetts in 1970 to parents from India, who had divorced when she was five. She and her brother were raised by their mother single-handedly and the family went through some bad times – Tanden has spoken of them relying on food coupons – government support – to get by.

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