Sanders dodges questions on whether he'll confirm rival Neera Tanden for OMB
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Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has yet to announce when he will move forward with confirming Neera Tanden, President Biden's pick to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, and dodged recent questions about when a hearing might take place.
Sanders, who was tapped to chair the Senate Budget Committee, is focused on Biden's "American Rescue Plan" for coronavirus relief. When addressing reporters last week, he would not say whether he would move Tanden’s nomination forward before a relief plan is finished.
"I don't know honestly, we're working on it," Sanders said, according to Punchbowl News. The outlet followed up with Sanders on Monday, asking him about the timing of Tanden's nomination.
"It's going on," Sanders reportedly said. After a second question on the subject, he remained vague.
"Obviously, there's a process we're going to go through," he said. Sanders then left and did not respond to a third question, Punchbowl News reported.
When asked if Sanders had any timeline in mind for Tanden's nomination, a spokesperson from his office told Fox News they were "still figuring it out," noting that there has yet to be an organizing resolution for Sanders to officially become committee chairman.
Sanders and Tanden have been at odds in the past, as the OMB nominee has close ties to Sanders’ 2016 primary opponent Hillary Clinton.
During the presidential primary in 2019, Sanders wrote a fiery letter to the Center for American Progress, which Tanden led, accusing her of "maligning my staff and supporters and belittling progressive ideas."
The Vermont senator, a self-described democratic socialist, also criticized a video by ThinkProgress, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, which accused him of changing his rhetoric on wealthy Americans after he became a millionaire in 2016.
The bad blood runs deep. In 2019, The New York Times reported that Tanden, years earlier, had punched Faiz Shakir, Sanders' 2020 campaign manager, "in the chest." The incident allegedly occurred in 2008 after Shakir, then-chief editor of ThinkProgress, questioned Clinton about the Iraq War, an issue that had plagued her presidential campaign.
Tanden told the Times that she "didn't slug him, I pushed him."
Fox News’ Megan Henney and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.