Indian American Neera Tanden Tipped To Head Biden’s Budget Office

Neera Tanden, Who Has Made An Endless Stream Of Disparaging Comments About The Republican Senators’ Whose Votes She’ll Need

Indian American Neera Tanden Tipped To Head Biden’s Budget Office
By Arun Kumar

President-elect Joe Biden is tapping Indian American Neera Tanden, a close confidante of the Clintons, to head the powerful White House Office of Management and Budget, according to several media reports. Tanden, 50, who currently heads left leaning Centef for American Progress, a think tank, will be the first Indian American to get a cabinet level position in a Democratic administration. But overall it will be the second such position for the community as Republican Nikki Haley held cabinet-rank as President Donald Trump’s US ambassador to the UN. Tanden’s nomination is a part of Biden plan to build a team of liberal and centrist economic advisers to serve alongside planned Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen, The Wall Street Journal said. Tanden, The Washington Post said, will be under pressure from conservatives to rein in government spending but will probably play an instrumental role in crafting the Biden administration’s response to the current economic downturn.

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A close ally of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, she helped pass the Affordable Care Act under then President Barack Obama, the daily noted. “Big job and a real important first in the Cabinet,” said Shekar Narasimhan, a top fundraiser for Biden who has known Tanden for a long time. She has a great story (single mother, knows what it is to be poor) but went to Harvard and is the most well-versed person in progressive economics I have ever met,” he said adding, “I am (a) huge Neera fan!” Tanden, who went to Yale, was born in Massachusetts in 1970 to parents from India, who divorced when she was five. Tanden and her brother were brought up by their mother, as Narasimhan said. Tanden has spoken of her family relying on food coupons to get by.

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“On the heels of Kamala Harris set to become the next vice-president, it is great to see another well qualified Indian American woman be nominated for a Cabinet level position,” said MR Rangaswami, founder of Indiaspora, an advocacy group for the community. “It is gratifying to see someone who has dedicated herself to public service be recognised for this important role to manage the budget of the country.” But opposition to Tanden was also welling up Sunday night soon after the news of her selection leaked because she is an outspoken critic of Republicans and is considered a partisan within her Democratic Party. “Neera Tanden, who has made an endless stream of disparaging comments about the Republican Senators’ whose votes she’ll need, stands zero chance of being confirmed,” tweeted a spokesperson for Republican Senator John Cornyn. Tanden had earlier worked for former President Bill Clinton’s campaign and went on to work at the White House as an associate director for domestic policy and as an adviser to Hillary Clinton. When Hillary Clinton ran successfully for senator, Tanden was her deputy campaign manager and became her legislative director after her election. She also advised Clinton’s presidential campaign.

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Two more Indian Americans are in the mix for other cabinet positions. Vivek Murthy, surgeon general under Obama, is a leading contender for secretary of health and human services. He is currently co-chair of Biden’s advisory board on covid-19 pandemic. The second Indian American among Cabinet potentials is Arun Majumdar as secretary of energy. An alumnus of IIT Bombay, Majumdar heads Stanford University’s Precourt Institute for Energy. He is currently leading Biden transition’s agency review team for the Energy Department.

This news was originally published at American Bazaar Online

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