Politics & Policy

Murkowski’s Vote on Tanden Confirmation is ‘Fluid,’ Thune Says

Senator John Thune (R., S.D.) speaks during a news conference following the weekly meeting with the Senate Republican caucus at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., December 15, 2020. (Rod Lamkey/Pool via Reuters)

Senate GOP Whip John Thune (R., S.D.) said Tuesday that Senator Lisa Murkowski’s (R., Alaska) critical vote for Neera Tanden’s confirmation to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget is “fluid.”

“She obviously wants to get their attention on things that are important to her state,” Thune said, according to Politico, referring to Biden administration officials.  “And she’s got, as any senator does, particularly through the nomination process, quite a bit of leverage.”

“It’s been fluid,” Thune added.

He also said the Alaska senator has “concerns about the economy” in her state.

“There are some policies that the administration has taken already that are very harmful to Alaska. And she’s trying to have a conversation with them about things they can do to help improve the economic outlook,” he said

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC) and Budget Committees were set to vote last Wednesday on Tanden’s nomination but announced last minute that the meetings would be postponed after her confirmation was imperiled by Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a moderate Democrat who said he would use his critical vote to oppose the confirmation over her “overtly partisan statements.”

Tanden, who is president of the Center for American Progress, deleted more than 1,000 insulting tweets about lawmakers ahead of her nomination.

Without Manchin’s support, and with the Senate evenly divided between the parties, Tanden would need backing from at least one Republican.

However, Senators Susan Collins (R., Maine) and Mitt Romney (R., Utah) signaled last week that they would not support the confirmation either, making Murkowski’s vote crucial to Tanden’s confirmation.

The Alaska senator met with Tanden on Monday but said she had not yet decided whether to support her confirmation.

“I met with her today. We had a sit-down meeting, which was good,” Murkowski told reporters.

After a Washington Post reporter showed Murkowski an old tweet in which Tanden had attacked the senator, the lawmaker said it “goes to show how much homework I still have to do on her if I didn’t even know that she had sent out a tweet about me.”

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