Neera Tanden highlights her India born mother’s struggle in  America

Buden’s Indian American nominee to head White House budget office testifying before Senate panel.

Neera Tanden, President Joe Biden’s Indian American pick for director of the White House budget office, is highlighting her India born mother’s “grit and resilience” to make it on her own in America.

She will also highlight her family’s past reliance on government assistance during her first confirmation hearing Tuesday morning before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Tanden, 50, will also appear before the Budget Committee on Wednesday morning. Both panels must approve her nomination before Senate leaders can schedule a floor vote.

If confirmed by the Senate, Tanden would be the first woman of color to serve as director of the OMB, which controls $4 trillion federal budget. She would also key role in determining Biden administration’s response to the health and economic crises facing the country.

READ: Neera Tanden, who lives and breathes politics and policy (December 26, 2020)

Tanden will talk about her mother Maya’s decision to stay in the United States with two young children after her divorce from her father rather than have them face the stigma of divorce in India, according to a copy of her opening remarks.

“I owe my presence here,” she will say, to the love and support of her family “—and to the grit and resilience of my mother: an immigrant from India who was left to make it on her own in America with two young children after her divorce from my father.”

“Back then she faced a harsh choice—stay in the United States and rely on the social safety net. Or return to India where she knew her children would face the stigma of divorce.”

“She had faith in this country and made the decision—I believe the courageous decision—to stay,” Tanden, now president and CEO of liberal think tank the Center for American Progress, will say.

“We relied on food stamps to eat, and Section 8 vouchers to pay the rent,” she would recall. “At school, I remember being the only kid in the cafeteria line who used ten-cent vouchers from the Free Lunch Program. I remember using food stamps at the grocery store.”

“Within just a few years, my mother found a job, and a few years later she was earning a middle class salary,” Tanden would say. “Soon, she was able to buy a home, and eventually see her children off to college and beyond.”

“I spend every day of my life grateful for a nation, and a government, that had faith in my mother and in me—that invested in our humanity and gave me a fair shot to pursue my potential,” she would say.

“I’m mindful that my path in life would never have been possible without budgetary choices that reflected our nation’s values—many of them made in the very agency I am now nominated to lead,” Tanden would tell the committee.

“That recognition and gratitude has been the north star of my career. I’ve spent the past twenty years at the forefront of some of our country’s most important policy debates” .

“As a child in line with my mom at that grocery store—feeling shy and a bit embarrassed as my mother used foods stamps instead of money—I never dreamed that one day I would be sitting in this august room, with great leaders like all of you,” Tanden would say.

READ: Biden defends ‘smart as hell’ Neera Tanden (December 3, 2020)

Saying she was “so incredibly grateful for the opportunities this country has given me,” Tanden would talk about the opportunity “to serve and to help ensure we provide real opportunities for those who come after us.”

Turning to her professional qualifications to lead the budget office, she would note that “ for the past decade, I’ve led a major think tank that engages many areas that OMB handles every day—from budget plans, to regulatory proposals, to efforts to make government more effective.”

“My experience also extends to both the legislative and executive branches, having served in the US Senate, at the White House under President Clinton, and at an agency under President Obama.”

“I believe that experience provides me with a strong foundation to lead OMB,” Tanden would say while acknowledging “the role of OMB Director is different from some of my past positions.”

“Over the last few years, it’s been part of my role to be an impassioned advocate,” she would say. “I understand, though, that the role of OMB Director calls for bipartisan action, as well as a nonpartisan adherence to facts and evidence.

“OMB will play a vital role in addressing many of the biggest challenges we face: from beating back the virus, to delivering aid that will help ensure a strong economic recovery for all families, to ensuring we build back better than before,” Tanden would tell the committee.

If confirmed she “would ensure that OMB uses every tool at its disposal to efficiently and effectively deliver for working Americans, small businesses, and struggling communities.”

“I would vigorously enforce my ironclad belief that our government should serve all Americans— regardless of party—in every corner of the country,” Tanden would say.

“I would ensure that our budgets reflect the values of a nation built on hard work, human dignity, common purpose, and boundless possibility.”


Indian American Neera Tanden tipped to head Biden’s budget office (November 30, 2020)

Like Kamala, Neera Tanden stands on the shoulders of her Indian mother (December 2, 2020)

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