- The Washington Times - Friday, December 4, 2020

Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, said Friday that Neera Tanden brings a “fresh perspective” to her anticipated role as director of the White House budget office amid criticism of the pick from both the right and the left.

“The president-elect wouldn’t have nominated anyone who he didn’t feel was qualified and the right person for the job,” Ms. Psaki told reporters. “She brings a fresh perspective to this role, and that’s one of the reasons that the president-elect and the vice president-elect were so excited about nominating her.”

Ms. Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, has clashed both with Republicans and progressive supporters of Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont in the past.

Republicans have suggested that presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden should consider withdrawing his intent to nominate her as director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and that his team could have avoided embarrassment if they did more outreach to Capitol Hill.

“There has been extensive outreach on behalf of all our nominees to Democratic and Republican offices,” Ms. Psaki said. “There has been a range of strong support for her qualifications, for the connection — her personal story.”

Ms. Psaki said the American people expect that the U.S. Senate will move forward on confirming “qualified nominees.”

Some activists have also clamored for more diversity in Mr. Biden’s Cabinet-level picks.

Kate Bedingfield, the incoming White House communications director, said Mr. Biden welcomes those calls.

“I would remind you we’ve only made eight of 23 Cabinet announcements at this point,” Ms. Bedingfield said. “So we are still in the process of selecting the most qualified individuals for each job — people who are going to bring diverse perspectives, who are going to bring diverse life stories to the table.”

• David Sherfinski can be reached at dsherfinski@washingtontimes.com.

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