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Neera Tanden greets Sen. Lindsey Graham, top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, before a hearing Feb. 10. Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP

Opposition from Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) imperils the nomination of Neera Tanden as President Biden's budget director but could help two other nominees.

The state of play: Xavier Becerra for HHS and Deb Haaland for Interior have better chances if the confirmation gods get their sacrifice elsewhere.

  • The insiders' refrain: "Someone always goes down."

Between the lines: Democrats have been afraid to jinx it by saying it out loud. But they've been pleasantly surprised to see so many Biden nominees sail through.

  • Twelve years ago, President Obama saw three nominees for Commerce withdraw before facing a committee.
  • In the past month, Secretary of State Tony Blinken was confirmed 78-22, and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin ran up the score, 93-2.

What's next: The HHS and Interior hearings, scheduled for next week, will be proxy battles for two of the biggest ideological fights of the Biden presidency — adding a public option to Obamacare, and curtailing oil and gas extraction on federal lands.

  • The White House orchestrated campaigns for the two nominees, working with outside groups and sympathetic senators.
  • Becerra has met with some 40 senators from both parties; Haaland has met about 35.

Go deeper

Feb 19, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Manchin to vote “no” on Tanden’s nomination for White House budget office director

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV). Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Sen. Joe Manchin announced Friday that he will vote against Neera Tanden, President Biden's nominee to be director of the Office and Management and Budget.

Why it matters: Manchin's opposition seriously imperils Tanden's nomination, as she will now need at least one Republican vote to be confirmed.

Updated Feb 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden Cabinet confirmation schedule: When to watch hearings

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris on Jan. 16 in Wilmington, Delaware. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden's nominees for attorney general, health and human services secretary, interior secretary, CIA director and U.S. trade representative will testify before Senate committees next week.

The big picture: Biden wants known, trusted people around him, many from the Obama administration, to help implement his policies and turn away from the tumultuous Trump years.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Feb 19, 2021 - World

What to make of the Biden administration's first overseas calls

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had to wait a month for a call from President Biden, and while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman got a call Thursday, it came not from Biden but from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.

The big picture: Biden, Austin, Secretary of State Tony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and national security adviser Jake Sullivan have together called officials from at least 43 countries, with Blinken alone calling 39 (there’s considerable overlap between their call lists).