May 17, 2021
Shelanski, Obama’s second OIRA administrator, now represents monopolies like Facebook and Tyson Foods. His regulatory skepticism and disdain for the emerging antitrust movement would make him a disastrous pick for any role in the Biden administration.
May 17, 2021
When choosing the next PTO director, the Biden administration should rule out those who have a history of prioritizing profits and corporate interests over public health and safety. One such individual is Kevin Rhodes, an ally of Big Pharma who has vigorously defended efforts to keep drug prices high. His current employer, 3M, has abused its monopoly on the military earplug market to sell overpriced and faulty products to veterans. This should be immediately disqualifying for any future PTO director. Here are a few of the most alarming aspects of Kevin Rhodes’s career:
May 14, 2021
The NTIA will have an outsized role in ensuring equitable access to broadband during the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, which makes the reports that Biden is considering former telecommunications lobbyist Scott Blake Harris to head the agency deeply alarming.
May 13, 2021
Presidents are only as effective as the administrations they assemble. FDR’s “brain trust,” for example, drove his effective first term. As President Biden seeks to surpass his predecessors’ accomplishments and become the most effective president of the past 60 years, the staff with whom he surrounds himself are essential. For over a thousand members of his team, Senate confirmation stands between them and the critical task ahead, making it crucial that Biden quickly make nominations to get these senior leaders working towards his vision as soon as possible. As the traditional post-New Deal metric of how a young administration is performing, the 100th day in office is a chance to look back on the Biden administration’s progress thus far and compare it to the Obama administration.
May 13, 2021
Representatives of corporate interests often twist the spirit and the intent behind calls for ethics in government. Under the guise of keeping lobbyists out of an administration, big business rails against even the suggestion that working people get a voice in government. They do this by falsely conflating public interest lobbyists and corporate lobbyists.
May 13, 2021 | The American Prospect
Progressives have generally seen Gary Gensler, the newly confirmed chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as a loyal advocate for the public interest. His tenure at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) was one of the few bright spots in Barack Obama’s financial regulatory regime. But in April, Gensler named Alex Oh to be his director of enforcement, before she resigned a week later amid negative media attention. Before joining the SEC, Oh had directly facilitated an ExxonMobil executive’s obstinate deposition testimony (reportedly read off an attorney-drafted script) in the face of plaintiff objections—and the case itself centered on accusations of torture, rape, and murder by ExxonMobil-hired guards in an Indonesian village.
May 11, 2021
Two recent pieces from The Hill and the New York Times have called much-needed attention to the dismal state of immigration courts in this country. Merrick Garland’s Department of Justice (DOJ), which oversees the immigration court system, has thus far failed to root out white supremacy and adequately staff the system, leaving hundreds of thousands of migrants in precarious legal–and physical–positions.
May 10, 2021
President Biden announced last week the appointment of Michael Connor to be the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works within the Department of Defense, making him responsible for the entire Army Corps of Engineers.
May 10, 2021 | Independent Media Institute
According to the Washington Post, Biden is finally getting around to scratching the backs of his friends and allies. This carries weight in D.C. gossip circles, given how well-connected Biden is there. So who made the cut?
May 10, 2021
The fact that most of the names Ars Technica reported are under consideration are deeply corporate-aligned is simply infuriating. To take just one example, here is a brief summary of Jannie Lau’s work on behalf of InterDigital.
May 07, 2021
The DOJ's Civil Rights Division is Perilously Unstaffed, Slowing Biden Goals on Police Oversight and Reform
Throughout the 2020 campaign, in the wake of nationwide protests over the murder of George Floyd and other unarmed black people by police officers, Joe Biden committed himself to reforming law enforcement and combating police violence. But significant challenges loom in Biden’s quest for police reform. The federal government’s role in state and local law enforcement agencies is limited, and Biden’s ability to shepherd police reform legislation through Congress will be hampered by Republican opposition and disinclined moderate Democrats. Despite these obstacles, however, Biden is not powerless to make strides towards his campaign goals. Through his Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, he holds a significant power over local policing.
May 07, 2021
Biden has accomplished a great deal in his first 100 days in office. Millions have been vaccinated, relief measures have been passed to address ongoing economic pain, and important portions of Trump’s agenda have been reversed. Yet, despite the scale of these accomplishments, the Biden administration is still far from having maximized its potential impact, particularly when it comes to executive branch power.
May 07, 2021 | The American Prospect
President Biden has signed an executive order guaranteeing a minimum wage of $15/hr for federal contractors, but there’s a lot more that he can do to immediately improve their lives.
May 06, 2021
President Biden has nominated three candidates — Ron Stroman, Anton Hajjar and Amber McReynolds — to vacant seats on the USPS Board of Governors. While these nominations are a good start, they won’t be enough to give the board a majority that can fire Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
May 05, 2021
When there actually are odious, greedy bad guys stuffed away in a back-room scheming, it’s pretty good politics to bust it up and take credit for doing so. Just such a racket is happening right now in an obscure corner of the executive branch, and all it would take to end it is some muscle from the President and one of his most-praised appointees.