WASHINGTON – President Biden on Friday appointed Neera Tanden, a longtime Democratic insider in Washington, as White House personnel secretary, transferring her to a little-known but influential West Wing post after failing earlier this year to install her as director of the Management and Budget office.
For the past several months, Ms Tanden has served as a senior adviser to the president, working quietly behind the scenes to build interest group support for his social spending program and overseeing a government reform program with budget office officials. .
Ms Tanden had previously served as chair of the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, and was a close advisor to former Senator Hillary Clinton. In her new role, Ms Tanden will be at the center of the flow of information between Mr Biden and his top White House advisers.
A White House official, who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to speak publicly about internal staff movements, described Ms Tanden’s new role as “the central nervous system of the White House”, helping to facilitate presidential decision-making.
But the official said Ms Tanden would retain the title of senior adviser and continue to advise the president and other senior White House officials on a range of matters.
Mr Biden’s decision is a remarkable comeback for Ms Tanden, who has encountered stiff resistance from members of the Senate on both sides of the aisle for her frequent caustic remarks on social media.
In the four years of President Donald Trump’s administration, Ms Tanden has presented herself as a fierce and open liberal critic of the administration and lawmakers – on both sides – who she says did not sufficiently support the causes. in which she believed.
On Twitter, she often expressed her point of view in relentless language. Once she was appointed to head the budget office, these comments proved difficult to explain.
In 2017, when Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a moderate Republican, announced her support for Mr. Trump’s efforts to lower the corporate tax rate, Ms. Tanden went on a rampage.
“Don’t be offended, but this looks like your own supply,” she wrote on Twitter. “You know, we know, and everyone knows it’s just garbage. Stopped.”
In February, a spokesperson for Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney said it would be “difficult to return to courtesy and respect with a candidate who posted a thousand mean tweets.”
The work of personnel secretary rarely receives much media attention. But he is known inside the White House as a powerful position because of the occupier’s access to information.
Senior White House advisers who want the president to approve the policy proposals will now have to send documents through Ms Tanden. She will control the flow of this paperwork, deciding what documents get to the president’s office and when they are delivered.
Some prominent names in Washington have served as secretary of personnel. John Podesta, founder of the Center for American Progress and former chief of staff to former President Bill Clinton, was also Mr. Clinton’s cabinet secretary. Brett M. Kavanaugh, now an associate judge on the Supreme Court, was the personnel secretary to former President George W. Bush.