WH Says It’s ‘Working The Phones’ Like Tanden As Chances Of Confirmation Dwindle

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki held a news b... WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 23: White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a news briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House on February 23, 2021 in Washington, DC. Psaki held a news briefing to answer questions from the members of the press. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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February 23, 2021 2:05 p.m.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki on Tuesday said that the Biden administration is standing by Neera Tanden, the President’s nominee for Office of Management and Budget director, and is focused on working toward Tanden’s confirmation even after more Republican senators have come out against the nominee.

Asked whether there is a plan B if Tanden’s confirmation doesn’t work out, Psaki affirmed that Tanden is the White House’s “one candidate” to lead the OMB.

Psaki gave a brief update on Tanden’s outreach to senators, saying that the OMB nominee has had 44 meetings thus far with senators on both sides of the aisle. Psaki added that Tanden has spoken with 15 senators from both parties since Friday, which include some that are “repeats of people she had spoken with previously.”

“As I noted yesterday, she’s committed to rolling up her sleeves, having those conversations, answering questions as they come up, reiterating her commitment to working with people across the aisle, and also sharing some of her own experiences of working with people with different viewpoints,” Psaki said.

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Pressed on Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), who could cast a potential vote that would rescue Tanden’s odds of confirmation, not hearing from the White House despite being undecided on the OMB nominee, Psaki reiterated that Tanden has “rolled up her sleeves” and that the White House has, too.

“She’s getting to work, she’s working the phones. People here are working the phones,” Psaki said. “We’re not going to provide day by day updates on exactly each senator and office we’ve communicated with, but they can communicate on their own, of course, if they’ve been reached out to or what communication they’ve had.”

Psaki’s remarks were issued a day after Axios reported that House Democratic leaders are quietly mounting a campaign for Shalanda Young, a longtime congressional aide, to replace Tanden as OMB nominee if her nomination falls through.

Watch Psaki’s remarks below:

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