Lindsey Graham Suggests Key Biden Nominee May Not Get Senate Hearing


President-elect Joe Biden is nominating Neera Tanden to serve as chief of the Office of Management and Budget, and, although some Republicans still won’t even conclusively admit that Biden won the election in the first place, Republican criticism for Tanden has swiftly emerged. Tanden has worked in two previous presidential administrations, including those of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, but Republican criticism of her nomination has focused on her public political comments, in which she’s frequently derided the GOP. Now, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who’s slated to chair the Senate Budget Committee in the next Congress if Republicans retain their majority, outrageously suggests that Tanden might not get a committee vote.

When questioned, Graham sounded definitively non-committal on the topic. Graham commented that “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there,” suggesting that he imagines a distinct possibility in which a GOP-led Senate Budget Committee with himself at the helm blocks Tanden’s nomination from moving forward. If a hearing for Tanden does unfold, Graham said that Tanden’s path to confirmation would be “uphill,” noting that she’s had “had a lot to say” about him in the past. Republicans, of course, have used this tactic of punitively blocking presidential nominees in the past — when then-President Barack Obama tried to fill a U.S. Supreme Court vacancy in 2016, the Senate GOP refused to hold hearings for his nominee, Merrick Garland.

Graham is not the only GOP Senator who has majorly complained about Tanden. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), who’s a member of the Senate GOP’s leadership, said that whether or not Tanden’s nomination gets voted on “would depend a lot” on the political composition of the Senate. Thune added as follows:

‘If and when the time comes, we’ll obviously hopefully be able to consult with [the Biden administration], then, if they send people here that are qualified, give them a fair process.’

Two upcoming Senate run-off elections in Georgia will determine control of the chamber; if Democrats win both seats, then the Senate would be 50-50, but vice presidents break ties. The vice president in Biden’s administration will be, of course, Kamala Harris. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has proposed starting the hearing process for Biden’s nominees immediately after the conclusion of the Georgia run-offs. Considering Biden’s recent win in Georgia, Democratic victories in the run-offs definitely seem possible.