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April 27, 2021
Amid a transition season of bruising battles between progressives and the old guard over Biden’s Cabinet picks, Merrick Garland for Attorney General was one choice that sparked relatively little controversy. Three months into Biden’s presidency, however, Garland is quickly shaping up to be the most consequentially bad Cabinet pick. On any number of important metrics — sweeping out holdovers from the Trump administration and reversing its positions, preventing corporate capture, and acting aggressively to advance the public interest — Garland is failing.
April 21, 2021
“Although the bar is low, Biden has proven to be the least captured and most public-oriented President of any of our lifetimes,” the Revolving Door Project wrote. “That said, Biden’s administration thus far is certainly not spotless.”
April 21, 2021
As the end of his first 100 days nears, Biden has signed into law COVID relief legislation, published his inaugural budget proposal, and begun rolling back some of the damage wrought by the Trump years. On the campaign trail, Biden rightfully described Trump as an “existential threat”.
April 19, 2021
The U.S. Treasury Department announced today that John Morton would be appointed as its first Climate “Counselor,” tasked with organizing financial-related climate work across the executive branch’s financial regulators.
April 19, 2021 | The Daily Beast
But the old guard continues to wield significant power and will be hard pressed to admit defeat, as exemplified by political strategist Bradley Tusk’s continued success. Some might recall Tusk as New York Mayor Bill De Blasio’s biggest critic. Others know him best as Silicon Valley’s favorite political fixer. Teachers’ unions probably remember him comparing them to the NRA. Tusk’s particular brand of politics—lobbying against regulation on behalf of companies he then invests in—in some ways represents the last gasp of corporate control over government that has run rampant since the Reagan era.
April 14, 2021
On the campaign trail, Biden was reluctant to criticize any aspect of the “Obama-Biden” administration’s record. Since taking office, however, he has made perfectly clear that he is aware of, and has learned from, many of its mistakes. Having watched how an anemic stimulus package in 2009 delivered a slow, faltering recovery and political carnage, the Biden administration chose to go big with its economic response. This initial, consequential departure has earned Biden accolades and prompted a “growing narrative that he’s bolder and bigger-thinking than President Obama” (a narrative Biden reportedly loves). But while Biden may be surpassing Obama legislatively, he is lagging behind him when it comes to the pace of nominations, delaying policy implementation and preventing his administration from reaching its full potential.
April 14, 2021
With his nomination of Katherine Tai, who has advocated for a worker-centered trade policy, Biden demonstrated his commitment to transforming the trade agenda in the Democratic party. Unfortunately, his choice of Sarah Bianchi to serve as deputy USTR could undermine these efforts:
April 13, 2021
President Biden announced last month that he would nominate Todd Kim to be the top environmental lawyer at the Department of Justice. It was a relatively quiet announcement, devoid of much fanfare, compared to the position’s enormous potential to shape environmental and climate policy for years to come.
April 10, 2021
Hochstein previously served in the Obama State Department, where his job was essentially to secure access to global oil fields on behalf of putatively American multinational Big Oil firms.
March 31, 2021
They’re Building Back Better; We Still Urge Faster!
Jockeying to shape the upcoming infrastructure package is well underway. Our attention, however, is on an important deadline this Sunday. April 4 is the last day for lawmakers to introduce Congressional Review Act resolutions to strike eligible Trump rules from the books. If they don’t meet this deadline, the Biden administration will have to undertake a lengthy administrative process to reverse those regulations. By forcing Biden to dedicate resources to these rollbacks and delaying the start of new rulemakings, failure to act now could set this administration back on everything from civil rights and financial regulation to housing and environmental regulation.
March 30, 2021
Welcome to our supplemental newsletter, the Revolving Door Spotlight. Here, we review the open jobs in the Biden administration we have our eyes on, as well as the would-be revolvers vying for those jobs. To learn more about which agencies and positions specific industries are seeking to influence, as well as the industry-tied individuals who might seek to lead them, check out our Industry Agenda reports here and our Personnel Map here.
March 23, 2021
Progressive groups successfully pressed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to replace the acting head of the office that oversees the nation’s $1.5 trillion student loan portfolio in recent weeks. Now, Abigail Seldin, a former student loan company executive, is reportedly a candidate to lead that office.
March 22, 2021 | Democracy Journal
The nominations that President Biden has made thus far serve as a guidebook to the years ahead. By analyzing those picks, we see a vivid picture of where we can expect strong executive actions to take on the corporate monopolies and polluters choking the American economy—and where we can anticipate division between the progressive base and corporatist establishment actors.
March 17, 2021
A powerful collection of weapons manufacturers and defense contractors are shaping American foreign policy by lobbying policymakers and funding hawkish think tanks to keep U.S. defense spending the highest in the world. Their influence-peddling efforts prioritize the defense industry’s profits over countless lives and pressing domestic priorities like universal healthcare. Our Elias Alsbergas and Vishal Shankar explain how the military-industrial complex seeks to influence the executive branch and which defense industry allies are seeking jobs in the Biden Administration.