What Neera Tanden Has Said about Stimulus

Former Vice President Joe Biden will nominate Neera Tanden to head the Office of Budget and Management, making her a key member of his economic team if she can win Senate confirmation.

Tanden is president and CEO of the Center for American Progress (CAP) and has strongly criticized the Senate for its perceived failure to act on economic stimulus during the COVID-19 pandemic.

This criticism, combined with her history of liberal activism, has caused some Republicans to suggest she will not be confirmed by the Senate, though control of the chamber is still undecided due to run-off elections in Georgia on January 5.

Tanden accused President Donald Trump of holding a COVID-19 relief package "hostage" in a statement on October 6.

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House majority have acted in good faith to solve a crisis of the president's own making," she said.

"They have passed comprehensive aid packages to assist workers, families, educators, state and local governments, first responders, small businesses, and more.

"The president, whose carelessness may have resulted in a major coronavirus outbreak in the highest levels of government, has illustrated that he could not care less about the struggles of everyday Americans."

In a CAP statement on September 10, Tanden said the Senate GOP was seeking to advance a stimulus package that "hollows out emergency unemployment insurance, extorts schools to fully reopen without regard to local health conditions, and exploits a pandemic to advance an ideological wish list."

"It fails to include stimulus checks to help families pay rent or afford prescriptions, rental assistance, or aid to states and localities that are facing devastating shortfalls that can only lead to severe layoffs and budget cuts that will cripple our economic recovery for years to come," she said.

"What the proposal does include—a liability shield that puts the interests of big business first—is an insult to frontline workers all over this country who are putting themselves in danger to keep our communities running."

"The American people deserve a plan that reflects the scale of the crises we are confronting, not another handout to Fortune 500 companies. It's past time for the Senate to get serious about the very real economic pain our country is experiencing," the statement concluded.

Tanden has expressed similar criticism for several months, charging that Senate Republicans are acting in the interests of major companies rather than ordinary Americans.

Speaking on CNBC on September 29, Tanden said the issue was "not what I think about the need for stimulus, it's what investors think about a need for a stimulus," citing growth forecasts from JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs.

"Congress isn't acting and the president isn't acting," Tanden said. "And we don't have a deal that requires additional stimulus."

Democrats may have to accept a smaller stimulus package than they were originally seeking as the threat of a government shutdown looms. It remains unclear if a new package will include checks to individuals.

However, stimulus advocates like Tanden may have more success when Biden becomes president early next year and if Democrats can manage to win both Senate run-offs.

Neera Tanden, President and CEO of CAP
Neera Tanden, President and CEO of CAP Action Fund, speaks at an "Impeach and Remove" rally at the U.S. Capitol on December 18, 2019 in Washington, DC. Tanden has advocated a more expansive stimulus package. Larry French/Getty Images for MoveOn.org