White House budget chief nominee apologizes for past tweets

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Neera Tanden testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs committee on her nomination to become the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), during a hearing Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Leigh Vogel/Pool via AP)

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden's choice to the lead the Office of Management and Budget apologized Tuesday for spending years attacking top Republicans on social media as she tried to convince senators she'll leave partisan politics behind if confirmed.

Neera Tanden also admitted to spending “many months” removing past Twitter posts, saying, “I deleted tweets because I regretted them." But she refused to say she did so to help her nomination.

“I know there have been some concerns about some of my past language on social media, and I regret that language and take responsibility for it,” Tanden, a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and the president of the center-left Center for American Progress, told a Senate committee.

She later added, “I deeply regret and apologize for my language.”

Tanden would be the first woman of color to lead the OMB. Her nomination requires approval from the Senate, which has moved fairly quickly to pass many of Biden's choices for powerful posts. That's despite it being divided 50-50 among Democrats and Republicans and this week grappling with the second impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump.

Democrats hold the majority thanks to the tie-breaking vote of Vice President Kamala Harris. None in the party have yet opposed Tanden, meaning she's likely to ultimately be approved. But Republicans have signaled that the process may trigger a political battle unseen with other Biden nominees, given her history of criticism of GOP lawmakers she'd now have to work with.

Republican Ohio Sen. Rob Portman noted that, despite going back and trying “to cover what you said” by deleting tweets, copious ”harsh" criticism" and “personal attacks about specific senators” endured. He said that included Tanden calling Arkansas Republican Sen. Tom Cotton "a fraud” and tweeting that “vampires have more heart” than Ted Cruz, R-Texas.

Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford said Tanden had tweeted more over the past four years than even Trump did.