Lankford told her that her remark "seems to cross a different line for me," and asked her explain it.
Tanden initially did not apologize for her statements, but said that "for anyone offended by my language, you know, I feel badly about that." She said that her "cudgel" remark was critical of "people who politicize religion, not people who believe in religion," and added that "I'm a person of faith myself and deeply respect people of all faiths and all faith traditions."
Later, after Lankford followed up his questions to Tanden on her language, she apologized for contributing to polarization.
As CNA reported in December, Tanden was a former adviser to Obama's Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, and was a strong defender of the HHS mandate.
She helped found the liberal think thank Center for American Progress in 2001, and served there as president and CEO since 2011. The think tank has a history of anti-religious freedom advocacy, and under her watch has engaged in a number of campaigns to promote LGBT "anti-discrimination" and redefine religious freedom to "include LGBT equality and women's reproductive health and rights."
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) asked Tanden if she would "advocate" against funding of abortions in President Biden's budget request to Congress.
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The Hyde Amendment has been enacted in law each year since 1976 as a budget rider, and bars federal funding of abortions. However, the policy has come under fire in recent years from Democratic leaders who are now advocating for its repeal.
"If you are confirmed in this role, will you advocate that the President's budget request to Congress next year preserve the Hyde Amendment?" Hawley asked.
Tanden answered that "President Biden has supported repeal of the Hyde Amendment, and so I will anticipate how that operates in the budget process, but that is a position that he took on the campaign and has held." In 2019, during the presidential campaign, Biden reversed his long-standing support for the Hyde Amendment.