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November 20, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan Mariama Eversley

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

Joe Biden Must Not Look for Unity in Mitch McConnell’s Obstruction

Last week, Mitch McConnell chose to fan the flames of baseless electoral conspiracy rather than acknowledge Joe Biden’s indisputable victory. Meanwhile, prominent Democrats took to the airwaves to insist that working with McConnell would not be nearly as hard as people claimed. This is dangerous, wishful thinking.

November 20, 2020 | Democracy Journal

Eleanor Eagan Jeff Hauser

Op-Ed

2020 Election/Transition

On All Fronts at Once

Joe Biden is already up against the clock. Amid overlapping public health, economic, racial justice, and climate crises, failure to act and act fast will translate into lives lost, deeper economic pain, and a hastening climate catastrophe. To make matters more dire, it’s looking like the Senate will be a formidable, though not necessarily insurmountable, roadblock. It is, therefore, essential that the Biden Administration be prepared to capitalize on the momentum that propelled it into office. But even the strongest White House team will not be able to tightly manage all components of this policy onslaught on the timeline required. To succeed, the Biden Administration must embrace creative, sometimes unusual strategies, push many initiatives simultaneously, and rely heavily on the talents of the figures it has appointed.

November 20, 2020

Jeff Hauser

Press Release

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative LawExecutive Branch

Biden Administration Must Remove Trump Holdovers On Day One

While the vast majority of Trump’s appointees will presumptively step down on January 20 a critical, powerful minority will stay in their seats until they are asked to leave. This includes the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, Inspectors General, United States Attorneys, and a suite of chairpersons at independent agencies. Upon assuming the Oval Office, Biden should ask for their resignations without delay.

November 18, 2020 | The Guardian

Miranda Litwak Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionRevolving Door

Biden's Cabinet Could Do A Lot — If He Resists The Urge To Fill It With 'Consensus' Picks

For corporate America, divided government is a blessing. A dysfunctional legislature will struggle to pass laws raising corporate taxes or cracking down on corporate malfeasance. But just as importantly, by pushing the narrative that no progressives could ever get anything through a Republican-controlled Senate, corporate executives can position themselves as bipartisan “consensus” picks for powerful cabinet posts and regulatory jobs.

November 18, 2020 | The Hill

Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment Capacity

GSA head's transition refusal a predictable consequence of too many political appointees

General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Emily Murphy is often introduced as “obscure” or “little known.” Her new-found notoriety stems from her refusal to declare Joe Biden as the president-elect. This inaction blocks his team from meeting with senior agency personnel, even as Murphy herself looks for her next job. Murphy has drawn bipartisan condemnation for playing along with Trump’s assault on democracy. The condemnation should extend to the system that prioritizes rewarding political operatives like Murphy over any principles of merit, efficiency or meaningful accountability.

November 17, 2020

Press Release

Revolving DoorTech

Progressive Groups Urge President-Elect Biden Not to Appoint Former Google CEO to Administration

The Revolving Door Project is joined by the Open Markets Institute, the Communications Workers of America, and 11 other progressive organizations in asking President-elect Joe Biden to take a hard line against the influence of individuals with close ties to Google. The letter focuses in particular on the former longtime CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt. Schmidt is reportedly being considered for a position in President-elect Biden’s administration, an appointment that risks alienating voters who want to see the economic power of Google and other major corporations reined in.

November 13, 2020

Andrea Beaty

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyClimateRevolving Door

Economists-For-Hire Help Monopolists And Big Oil Both

On Wednesday, The New York Times exposed that a network of seemingly-grassroots campaigns to promote the use of fossil fuels was actually organized by FTI Consulting, a dystopic corporate consulting firm working on behalf of oil and gas behemoths like ExxonMobil. The Times also implicates an FTI subsidiary, Compass Lexecon, in producing academic reports to support these astroturfed campaigns’ talking points. Compass Lexecon employees wrote reports criticizing activist shareholders and university divestment campaigns, tactics often used by the environmental activists FTI was paid to undermine.

November 09, 2020 | The American Prospect

Eleanor Eagan

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightCoronavirus

Donna Shalala Encapsulated Pelosi’s Embrace of Passivity as a Strategy

Democrats were expected to expand their House majority, but instead saw many seats slip through their hands. With several races uncalled, the majority could be cut by as much as seven to ten seats.

That includes the seat of Nancy Pelosi’s close ally Rep. Donna Shalala (D-FL), whom Pelosi chose for the CARES Act’s Congressional Oversight Commission (which monitors the Federal Reserve bailout). Shalala’s course over the past two years, from part of the promising blue wave to low-energy oversight leader, is the story of Democratic leadership in the 116th Congress in a nutshell.

November 06, 2020 | American Prospect

Max Moran

Op-Ed

2020 Election/Transition

We Don't Have To Live In Mitch McConnell's World

It’s important to recognize that the idea of hopelessness around a Biden Cabinet is nonsense. Biden has several tools available to him to circumvent McConnell’s Senate and still appoint the Cabinet secretaries he needs. And to have any hope of Democratic victory in 2022 and 2024, Biden must not only build a functional, Rooseveltian government, but he must take public credit for it—and publicly jeer those who would stand in his way.

November 06, 2020

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative Law

No, Mitch McConnell is Not the 46th President

A false narrative, undergirded by self interest and misguided assumptions, is dominating early transition coverage. Key voices are already insisting that Joe Biden’s presidency will fail to deliver on any of its promises. According to this view, with Mitch McConnell in the Senate, Biden will not only be impelled to abandon his legislative vision, but also any hope of delivering for the American people via his power over the executive branch. They say that to wrest confirmations from McConnell’s hands, Biden will have no choice but to appoint moderates who will not rock the boat.

November 05, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionAdministrative Law

Biden Can Still Govern Without the Senate. Here’s How.

Having won more votes than any President in U.S. history, Joe Biden is set to enter the Oval Office with a mandate. However, it looks as though the wave that will have propelled him to the White House may not have been strong enough to break Republican control over the profoundly undemocratic Senate. For at least the next two years, Biden’s legislative agenda will face a formidable breakwater in the form of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. There is little doubt that McConnell will attempt to extend his stranglehold on action to the executive branch as well, by denying the President many, if not all, Senate confirmations.

November 02, 2020 | Talking Points Memo

Eleanor Eagan Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

Congressional OversightGovernment Capacity

A Lame Duck Trump Admin Will Do All It Can To Pilfer Before Jan. Dems Must Be Ruthless In Thwarting It.

The way tomorrow’s election will go remains highly uncertain. If Trump loses, however, there is no doubt that his administration will set about destroying and pilfering all that it can. Already, as they stare down the barrel of electoral defeat, Trump and his entourage are previewing their lame-duck plan to shovel every federal dollar they can to family and friends.

November 02, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

October 2020 Update on the State of Independent Federal Agencies

Over the past several years, President Trump’s assault on governing norms, from his refusal to reveal information about his finances to his glee in firing those who are not sufficiently loyal to him, has sparked public outcry. One set of norm violations, however, has received relatively little attention from the media or from Senate Democrats. Quietly Trump and Mitch McConnell have undermined independent agencies’ functionality by slow-walking minority party nominations. And, in particular, they have undermined the norm of statutorily-mandated political balance on many independent agency boards in a move that could keep regulatory power in Republican hands for years after Trump leaves office.