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December 08, 2020

Miranda Litwak

Blog Post

2020 Election/Transition

Tom Vilsack: The Wrong Choice for USDA Secretary

The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is a hugely underappreciated and powerful position. The USDA’s programs and regulations touch policy areas far beyond traditional agriculture, impacting climate change, food policy, immigration, antitrust issues, rural development, and racial justice. Biden’s choice to lead the USDA must be ready and willing to employ the USDA’s power and pursue the following policy goals.

December 07, 2020

Max Moran

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionDepartment of Justice

Sally Yates' Record of Ignoring The Innocent And Protecting The Guilty

Sally Yates, an anti-Trump #Resistance icon, spent her last year in Obama’s Justice department refusing to act on a high-profile clemency initiative, prompting a furious resignation letter from Obama’s pardon attorney. After her famous firing in the early Trump days, Yates went to work for BigLaw firm King & Spalding’s “Special Matters and Government Investigations” practice, which is BigLawspeak for “teaching corporate America which laws they can violate without DOJ filing suit, and how to tamp down on suits which they do file.”

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Why Wasn't this Vote a Priority for Kamala Harris?

With scant days remaining in this Congress, Senate Republicans are busily working to undermine the incoming Biden administration by rushing to confirm Trump’s nominees to terms that will last well beyond January 20, 2021. Yesterday, in a close 48 to 47 vote, they installed Christopher Waller to the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in a term that will not expire until 2030, robbing Biden of the seat. With Mike Pence and his potential tie-breaking vote out of town, Kamala Harris (in her capacity as a Senator) had the power to delay, if not stop it.

December 04, 2020

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

November 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.

December 03, 2020 | The American Prospect

Yevgeny Shrago

Op-Ed

2020 Election/TransitionCongressional Oversight

How Democrats Can Stop Trump’s Transition Sabotage

Donald Trump’s attempted coup shouldn’t draw attention away from his administration’s day-to-day corruption. His post-election firing of federal officials who have contradicted him and installation of unqualified loyalists shows that Trump will try to salvage the loss with internal sabotage of the incoming administration. With less than two months to go, things will only get worse, unless Democrats use the upcoming spending negotiations to stop him.

November 24, 2020

Timi Iwayemi

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionForeign PolicyTech

Michèle Flournoy and The Ongoing Influence of WestExec Advisors

As we proposed in the Prospect, Biden’s administration can pursue a progressive national security agenda that prioritizes diplomacy over military action, opposes regime change interventions, reduces the Pentagon’s budget, and condemns governments that violate human rights. But to do so, Biden must also end the defense industry’s influence on the executive branch and turn to individuals without deep conflicts.

November 23, 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 23, 2020

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionFinancial Regulation

JANET YELLEN: What You Need to Know

Janet Yellen has had a long and distinguished career in the academy and in public service. Like anyone with such a lengthy career, there have been misses along the way. And RDP and other progressives will be sure to speak out in the future should any of them resurface. But Yellen’s commitment to fighting unemployment and the conventional wisdom has been the through line of her career. The differences between the worldviews of Janet Yellen and Tim Geithner, President Obama’s first Treasury Secretary, could hardly be more stark.

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.