Indian-American Neera Tanden named White House staff secretary
Neera Tanden speaks during an event to name President-elect Joe Biden’s economic team at the Queen Theater. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
INDIAN-AMERICAN policy expert Neera Tanden, a close confidant of US president Joe Biden, has been named White House staff secretary, eight months after Republican lawmakers scuttled her nomination to another key post.
Tanden, 51, a senior adviser to president Biden was named White House staff secretary on a morning staff call on Friday, the CNN reported.
The White House staff secretary is a behind-the-scenes but critical role in the West Wing, responsible for managing paper flow to the president from other areas of the administration and federal government. The person filling the job has been viewed as one of the most powerful in the building, it said.
In addition to her new duties, Tanden will keep her senior adviser title “and will continue to provide leadership on particular projects and initiatives,” Politico reported, quoting a White House official.
She will report to White House chief of staff Ron Klain, it said.
The appointment, however, does not require Senate confirmation.
“The Staff Secretary role is the central nervous system of the White House and moves the decision-making process and manages a wide variety of issues for the president,” the White House official said.
Tanden has “over two decades of experience in policy and management which are critical elements of the role. Her experience across domestic, economic and national security policy will be a key asset in this new role,” the official said.
Tanden’s appointment as White House staff secretary came eight months after she withdrew her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget due to stiff opposition from Republican senators.
In March, she faced a tough time for the confirmation of her nomination as Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) over her past social media outbursts against several lawmakers, including those from her own Democratic Party.
While accepting Tanden’s request to withdraw her name from nomination in March, president Biden had said: “I have the utmost respect for her record of accomplishment, her experience and her counsel, and I look forward to having her serve in a role in my Administration. She will bring valuable perspective and insight to our work.”
White House announced in May that Tanden had been appointed as a senior adviser to Biden.
Tanden previously served as a senior adviser for health reforms at the US Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of former president Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act.
Before that, Tanden was the director of domestic policy for the Obama-Biden presidential campaign, where she managed all domestic policy proposals.
Tanden also served as policy director for Hillary Clinton’s first presidential campaign.
Before the 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as legislative director in Clinton’s office, and deputy campaign manager and issues director for Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign
She began her career as an associate director for domestic policy in former president Bill Clinton’s White House, and senior policy adviser to the First Lady
Tanden holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a law degree from the Yale Law School.