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Who is Neera Tanden?

Born to immigrants from India, she grew up amid difficult economic circumstances as her parents divorced when she was five (which, in a 2000 interview, she told The New York Times “tells you something about arranged marriages”) and her mother was put on welfare, living off food stamps and receiving Section 8 vouchers for housing. She said she got her passion for politics out of a desire to serve and felt like she had benefits from Democrat policies that the Clintons believed in.

She studied at the University of California in Los Angeles, where she met her husband, artist Ben Edwards, according to Theweek.in.

Biden's nominee to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Neera served as a commissioner on IPPR's Commission on Economic Justice (2016-2018). She is currently US President-elect Biden's nominee to be Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

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Photo: Indianexpress.com

Before President-elect Joe Biden had even formally introduced his pick for budget director, the pushback started rolling in. Neera Tanden would make history as the first woman of color to head the Office of Management and Budget. But she's also been an outspoken partisan warrior, and that could complicate her confirmation process, especially if Republicans maintain control of the Senate. NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith reports, NPR.org noted.

Career Path

Neera Tanden is the president and CEO of the Center for American Progress and the CEO of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where she focuses on how both organizations can fulfill their missions to expand opportunity for all Americans. Tanden has also served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, as well as on presidential campaigns.

Before leading American Progress, Tanden was the organization’s chief operating officer. She previously served as senior adviser for health reform at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In that role, she developed policies around reform and worked with Congress and stakeholders on particular provisions of President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement—the Affordable Care Act.

Prior to 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, where she directed all policy work and oversaw the debate preparation process for then-Sen. Clinton (D-NY).

Before the 2008 presidential campaign, Tanden served as legislative director in Sen. 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, Americanprogress noted.

International Influence

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Photo: Clintonschoolpodcasts.com
Tanden will become the first Indian-American and the first woman of colour to take this position. An alumna of Yale Law, she had worked in presidential administrations from Bill Clinton to Obama, and was also involved in the campaigns of Bill Clinton, Obama and Hillary in 2016.

Neera was named one of the “Most Influential Women in Washington” by National Journal and received the India Abroad Publisher’s Award for Excellence in 2011. She was recently included on Elle magazine’s “Women in Washington Power List” and recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s “Most Powerful Women in Politics.” She received her bachelor of science from UCLA and her law degree from Yale Law School, IPPR expressed.

Private Life

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Photo: C-span.org

Neera Tanden’s husband is visual artist and writer Benjamin Edwards. Born on 1 January 1970, he previously lived in Iowa before relocating with his wife to Washington D.C.

The couple met and got together in 1988, while attending UCLA and volunteering their time to the Michael Dukakis presidential campaign. Edwards proposed to Tanden when she was just 19, but the couple waited until 1999 to get married and now have two children together.

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