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Psaki: Biden admin ‘committed to fighting our hearts out’ for Tanden, raising minimum wage

The Biden administration remains staunchly supportive of Budget Director pick Neera Tanden as well as working towards raising the federal minimum wage, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Sunday.

“We remain committed to fighting our hearts out for Neera Tanden,” Psaki told “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace. “We believe she is the right person — she is qualified, she is experienced — to lead the budget department. She brings a unique experience as somebody who’s lived through benefiting from a number of these programs, and she’s worked on these issues for decades across the aisle, so we’re going to keep fighting for it.”

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Psaki made similar comments during an appearance on “The View” on Thursday. Tanden’s hopes of becoming the next head of the powerful Office of Management and Budget are in jeopardy after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., a key swing vote, announced his opposition due to her caustic Twitter history.

In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

In this Dec. 1, 2020, file photo President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget Neera Tanden speaks at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

“We knew some of these fights would be difficult, and this is certainly one of them, but she’s going to have a number of continued engagements this week, and we are certainly hopeful we can get it across the finish line,” Psaki said Sunday.

Psaki also addressed a setback in Demcrats’ push to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Senate parliamentarian said the wage increase could not be included in the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill. Psaki said that President Biden supports efforts from Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to raise the minimum wage, but that his team has yet to look at Sanders’ proposal which would take tax deductions away from big businesses that don’t pay workers at least $15 per hour.

“We have not yet reviewed that proposal. But the President supports exactly what Sen. Sanders does, which is increasing the minimum wage for the American people, for workers who are just trying to make ends meet, and he thinks that’s long overdue,” Psaki said.

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“We’re going to have to spend the next several days or even weeks figuring out the what best path forward is, but he’s committed to doing that,” Psaki said.

In addition, Psaki discussed the White House’s response after Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., had some strong words for the Biden administration after news surfaced that it was reopening a child migrant detention facility in Texas.

“This is not okay, never has been okay, never will be okay – no matter the administration or party,” the New York congresswoman wrote on Twitter.

Psaki insisted that the Biden policy was the most “humane” option and hit back against critics who said the administration’s was essentially encouraging underage migrants to cross the border illegally by ending the Trump administration’s practice of immediately returning unaccompanied minors.

“We’ve been unambiguous,” Psaki said. “This is not the time to come.”

Fox News’ David Rutz, Sam Dorman and Morgan Phillips and Fox Business’ Brittany De Lea contributed to this report.

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