Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) on Monday announced she won't vote to confirm Neera Tanden as director of the Office of Management and Budget. The decision isn't particularly surprising — Tanden is widely viewed as a controversial choice in large part because of past inflammatory comments she's made on social media (including some directed at Collins) — but it is crucial. With Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) coming out against Tanden last week, her confirmation chances likely rest in the hands of Collins' fellow moderate Republicans, Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).
On Sunday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he was still searching for the extra vote, and the White House has remained defiant about Tanden's nomination, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki offering renewed support after Collins' announcement.
But as of now it remains unclear whether Romney or Murkowski will bite. Per Politico, President Biden could potentially offer the senators "something significant in return" for their votes, or Romney or Murkowski could look back Tanden as a way of gaining the upper hand in a centrist power struggle with Manchin. That latter idea certainly has its skeptics, however. As The Dispatch's Haley Byrd Wilt explains, that theory "fundamentally misunderstands" the relationship being cultivated by those in the center of the split Senate. Tim O'Donnell