Nominee for director of the Office of Management and Budget
Yale Law School
Few people in Washington move as easily between politics and policy as Neera Tanden. Like many, Tanden is identified with one political clan. In her case, it’s the Clintons. She served as a policy aide in Bill Clinton’s White House and is a close confidant of Hillary Clinton, having advised her on her campaign for the Senate and the presidency. But Tanden was also instrumental in Barack Obama’s administration. She worked at Health and Human Services, helping craft the Affordable Care Act, which, of course, was Obama’s signature legislative achievement. Tanden has also run the Center for American Progress, one of the leading progressive think tanks in America. Her role in the Biden administration is absolutely huge: she will run the Office of Management and Budget, the beating heart of federal spending.
OMB is one of the most important organs in the modern White House. It’s the largest entity inside the executive office of the president and has purview over all federal spending matters. It assembles the president’s budget while also assisting in overseeing the country’s fiscal ledgers. And, in the middle of a pandemic, when the federal government is spending hundreds of billions of dollars more than usual, OMB has a massive role to play.
In other words, Tanden is going to be involved in everything. Of course, you can’t talk about Tanden without mentioning her rocky relationship with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Budget Committee. Sanders and Tanden have clashed on issues ranging from policy to politics. The kicker here is that Sanders chairs one of the panels that needs to approve Tanden’s nomination. That hasn’t happened yet — the hearing is today.
Inside her orbit:
Words of Wisdom:
With significant humility because it’s always easier to offer recommendations than to do the job itself, I’d share three suggestions. First, on the ‘budget’ part of the job, focus now — in the first legislative package — on creating more automatic stabilizers so that economic relief stays in place as long as the economy is weak. It’s tempting to think there will be time to go back and do that later but do it now instead. Second, on the ‘management’ component, take up the reins of the evidence-based agenda — injecting more analysis into everything the government does — which has withered in recent years. Finally, on the ‘office’ itself, do exactly what you’re already doing — bring in top outside people — while also promoting the talented staff already there.
Peter Orszag, former OMB director
THE OPENER IS PRESENTED BY AMAZON
Passing the Raise the Wage Act would give 32 million U.S. workers the raise they deserve and help revitalize the national economy.