November 13, 2020 | Slate
In McConnell, Biden likely faces an opponent ideologically hellbent on sabotaging any government led by someone with a “D” next to their name. McConnell has had ample opportunity to address Covid-19, its accompanying recession, climate change, and other crises facing the country—his inaction speaks for itself.
November 09, 2020 | The American Prospect
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
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
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
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
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
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.
October 29, 2020 | The American Prospect
Note to Biden: A President Can Do a Lot Even Without the Senate
For almost four years, the breathtaking cruelty, mismanagement, and corruption of the Trump administration have kept the pundits yapping, the printing presses running, angry congressional letters flying, and the Twittersphere ablaze. Depending on the results of next Tuesday’s election, however, Joe Biden may soon be in a position to actually do something about it all. As Biden and his advisers survey the rubble, it will be important that they not get distracted by the nonsense (“I will tweet less” is not a compelling administrative pillar), but rather home in on those features of the Trump administration that have made life worse for millions.
October 28, 2020 | New Republic
Beltway Lobbyists Are Clutching Their Pearls Over Biden's Ethics Reforms
Thousands of people, from all walks of life, are attracted to doing policy work in Washington. The ones who aren’t multimillionaires don’t get offered the Treasury undersecretary position as an entry-level job.
October 23, 2020 | Washington Monthly
Uncle Sam’s HR Department Needs Help
Joe Biden promises a return to an honest, competent federal government. For that to happen, the government must be adequately staffed with experienced civil servants empowered to push forward his policy agenda, should he win. Without an experienced team, even the best appointees will struggle.
October 23, 2020 | Public Seminar
Donald Trump Politicized the Federal Bureaucracy: The Next President Needs to Reverse That
In an effort to mitigate the political damage from failing to contain the virus and manage its corollary crises, the White House recently mandated that the Department of Agriculture include a signed letter from Donald Trump inside food boxes, claiming credit for the federal program providing food to families in need. The move effectively politicized the taxpayer funded program as a tool of the president’s own self-promotion just a month before the election. Even worse, the department’s inclusion of the letter has jeopardized the program’s operation, as distribution sites fear they will be improperly engaging in political activity.
October 23, 2020
Breaking With the Trade Consensus
Over the past decades, U.S. trade policies have primarily served the interests of corporate America. The result? The American worker experienced few if any of the promised benefits of globalization. President Trump seized upon this in his bid for the Presidency in 2016, but his declaration of China as an enemy and ill-advised trade war have only widened the trade deficit he vowed to close. The data show that the trade deficit reached $67 billion in August, its highest level since August 2006. More so, job growth in the manufacturing sector has been on decline since before the pandemic. Indeed, the current deficit in manufactured goods, $84 billion, is the largest on record with data starting in 1992.
October 22, 2020 | Independent Media Institute
How BlackRock Is On Track To Infiltrate A Biden Administration
The Democratic base, still scarred from the 2016 election, is frantic not to count its chickens before they hatch. But Wall Street and corporate America have no such qualms. As Joe Biden leads in national polls and swing states, the most powerful firms in the country are seeking assurances that his administration won’t crack down on their crimes.
October 21, 2020
The Fed’s Neglect of State and Local Governments Will Cost Us
Last week, the Congressional Oversight Commission — charged with overseeing $500 billion in federal coronavirus aid — finally published its fifth report. Disagreements between Republican and Democratic commissioners delayed its release. The Commission described in detail the blatant prioritization of Wall Street over everyday Americans of Jerome Powell’s Fed. Here’s what we learned:
October 20, 2020
Obama famously assembled a “Team of Rivals” when he swept into office in 2008. His cabinet consolidated the ideological flanks of his party while extending an olive branch to Republicans by leaving Bush-appointee Bob Gates in office at the Department of Defense.
The 2010 Republican sweep of Congress quickly incinerated that olive branch.