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Indian-American Neera Tanden’s confirmation hearing to lead OMB scheduled for next week

The confirmation hearing of Indian-American political consultant Neera Tanden, who has been nominated by President Joe Biden as his budget director, would be held next week on February 9, a Senate panel announced on Tuesday.

Tanden, 50, if confirmed by the Senate, would be the first woman of colour and first Indian-American to lead the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which serves the President of the United States in overseeing the implementation of his vision across the executive branch.

Specifically, the OMB’s mission is to assist the President in meeting his policy, budget, management and regulatory objectives and to fulfil the agency’s statutory responsibilities.

Her nomination hearing by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, experts said, is likely to be one of the most contentious confirmation battles of the Biden administration.

Republican senators allege that she deleted more than 1,000 tweets, including criticism of Republicans.

Soon after Biden announced her nomination, influential Senator John Cornyn, who is also co-chair of the Senate India Caucus, described Tanden as the worst nominee of Biden so far and said: “I think in light of her combative and insulting comments about many members of the Senate, mainly on our side of the aisle, that it creates certainly a problematic path to confirmation.”

Announcing her nomination, Biden described Tanden as “a brilliant policy mind with critical practical experience across government.”

“She was raised by a single mom on food stamps, an immigrant from India who struggled, worked hard and did everything she could for her daughter to live out her American dream. And Neera did just that. She understands the struggles that millions of Americans are facing,” Biden had said.

Tanden was a close ally of Hillary Clinton, the former secretary of state and the 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, and helped pass the Affordable Care Act under president Barack Obama.