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December 21, 2020
RDP TRANSITION UPDATE - 12/21/20
Beginning this week, the Revolving Door Project will provide regular updates on how the Biden transition is shaping up. While we do not claim to capture the full powers and responsibilities of these positions, we will discuss the top Administration jobs Biden has yet to fill. We also discuss the individuals vying for top Administration jobs that present serious conflicts of interest.
December 21, 2020
Biden has long marketed himself as the unity candidate who could appeal to large swaths of the American electorate. So his selection of his old friend Tom Vilsack as USDA Secretary, whose only unifying characteristic is the disdain he has received from a broad coalition of advocacy groups, is perplexing to say the least.
December 08, 2020
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.
November 18, 2020 | The Guardian
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.
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 14, 2020
The fossil fuel industry depends on financial institutions to survive. And banks, for their part, pull in big profits from underwriting climate disaster. That’s why, if Joe Biden wins in November, his pick for Treasury Secretary must be an aggressive advocate for climate action. The Treasury Department has untapped capacity to push financial institutions and insurance companies to take the risks of the climate crisis seriously. While his legislative proposals elicit proper close scrutiny, his choice of Treasury Secretary is arguably among Biden’s most important climate policy decisions.
September 17, 2020
The Revolving Door Project on Foreign Policy
For too long, American foreign policy decisions have been controlled by the wealthy and well-connected, trampling on the rights and interests of regular people, both at home and abroad. These decisions, including corporate negotiated trade deals and continued engagement in armed conflict abroad, have failed all but a small clique of committed warhawks, defense contractors, and international corporations.
August 18, 2020 | American Prospect
Rather than turning to neoliberal veterans of the Clinton and Obama administrations who have bounced between government positions and the private sector, Biden should appoint those with a proven track record of effectively advancing the public interest.
August 10, 2020
The Revolving Door Project on Fighting Monopoly Power
Congress and the antitrust enforcement agencies have given unprecedented attention to the monopoly issues surrounding Big Tech in recent months. The scrutiny is one step toward rebalancing our increasingly concentrated economy, especially in the time of COVID-19, when small businesses are struggling to survive and corporations are further entrenching their power. But the problem of economic concentration extends far beyond Big Tech. It defines almost every corner of our economy. With the upcoming election and a potential shift in power, Joe Biden has an opportunity to reduce economic consolidation across the board, using executive branch powers including, but not limited to, reforming the antitrust enforcement agencies.
August 07, 2020 | The Intercept
On Climate Policy, Biden’s Advisers Reveal More Than His Proposals Do
Several of Biden’s informal advisers and confidants on energy policy are veterans of the Obama administration’s “all of the above” strategy, which embraced fossil fuel development and technologies like fracking while publicly trumpeting clean energy commitments.
July 08, 2020 | In These Times
How The Trump Administration's Small Business Program Has Failed Communities Of Color
Trump’s SBA not only failed to support businesses struggling the most in the midst of the pandemic, but it failed to fulfill its purpose as defined by Congress. When it first created the agency, Congress specifically outlined the SBA’s obligation to support entrepreneurs from socially disadvantaged groups, who faced (and continue to face) limited access to credit, lower credit scores, a lack of relationships with financial institutions and lower levels of personal wealth.
May 20, 2020 | Talking Points Memo Cafe
We Can’t Let Him Get Away With It: Trump Chose Wall Street Over Main Street
In an advertisement released earlier this month, the Lincoln Project, an anti-Trump PAC, claimed that the Trump administration bailed out big banks via its coronavirus stimulus legislation (the CARES Act), leaving Main Street to suffer the effects of the pandemic. “Trump bailed out Wall Street, not Main Street,” a grim voice-over tells the viewer. President Donald Trump quickly took to Twitter hurling insults at the leaders of the PAC. Soon after, Politifact reported the advertisement’s claim was false, and Facebook subsequently labeled the advertisement “partially false.” But the Lincoln Project’s statement is true by any measure: The Trump administration played a central role in crafting the CARES Act, a piece of legislation that has bailed out Wall Street and not Main Street. The designers of the CARES Act must be held responsible for their actions.
May 12, 2020
A Brief History of the SBA
In the past month, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has gained widespread media attention. This research report reviews the little-known agency’s history.
May 07, 2020
Why is Congress Ignoring EIDLs?
Over the past several weeks, the SBA has been criticized for its administration and oversight of its Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which offers forgivable loans designed to be spent on payroll expenses. But little attention has been paid to the SBA’s second COVID-response loan effort: the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. EIDLs provide small businesses affected by disasters with emergency loans. Over the past few decades, the SBA has provided EIDLs after major disasters such as Hurricane Katrina and 9/11.
May 01, 2020
The SBA's Office of Advocacy: What is it and Why is it Relevant?
The Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy (“Advocacy”) is a little known corner of the executive branch that wields a surprising amount of power, particularly in the regulatory process. This research memo explores the powers Advocacy possesses, how the office gained this power, and the potential Advocacy may have in a progressive administration to be a strong anti-consolidation voice in the regulatory process.