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July 14, 2021

Zena Wolf

Blog Post

ClimateDepartment of JusticeEthics in GovernmentIndependent Agencies

Recent Leaks And Ongoing Litigation At The EPA Highlight The Importance Of Government Transparency

The Biden Administration has a historic opportunity to reverse the executive branch’s long-standing war on whistleblowers, and end the all-too-common (and sadly bipartisan) practice of villainizing whistleblowers and leakers to avoid accountability for government wrongdoing revealed by these actors.

June 22, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for Spring 2021

Over 10 percent of Biden’s presidential term has passed. Yet, despite notable accomplishments on COVD-19 relief, the Biden administration is still far from having maximized its potential impact, particularly when it comes to executive branch power. Nowhere is that more evident than at independent federal agencies, where Biden’s agenda has barely even begun to take root. With 10 percent of his term gone, Democrats have secured a majority on just three new independent agency boards.

June 02, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Report

ClimateFederal ReserveFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

Working Paper: New Federal Reserve Governors Must Deploy All of the Institution’s Tools to Advance the Public Interest

Over the course of the next eight months, Biden will have the opportunity to reshape the Federal Reserve Board of Governors with nominations for up to four of its seven seats, including the positions of Vice Chair of Supervision, Vice Chair, and Chair (listed in the order they will become vacant). In choosing nominees for these posts, it will be essential that Biden consider the full weight of the Federal Reserve’s immense power and select individuals who are ready and willing to deploy every ounce of it to advance the public interest.

May 13, 2021

Henry Burke

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

100 Days in Office and Biden is Outpacing Obama

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 07, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

100 Days in Independent Agency Nominations

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.

April 06, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for April 2021

After over two months in office, President Joe Biden has a Cabinet. And his administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have been slow to emerge. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

March 31, 2021

Newsletter

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

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 17, 2021

Newsletter

2020 Election/TransitionGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

The Financial Conflicts Lurking Around the Corner

Almost two months after he took office, Biden’s Cabinet is nearing completion. Nearly all of the six remaining spots seem set to be filled in relatively short order. Now, with the senior-most leadership in place, more permanent hiring for other political roles is likely to accelerate. And with that in mind progressives and good government groups are engaging in another push to ensure that public interest-minded officials populate all levels of political leadership. On Thursday, 46 groups sent a letter to Chief of Staff Ron Klain asking that new hires at the Justice Department not hail from BigLaw and that those with connections to firms who have already been hired recuse from policy and personnel decisions that could impact former clients. When asked whether the Biden administration would heed that call, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki was noncommittal. That’s disappointing — demanding recusals from BigTech and BigLaw tied hires should be a no-brainer (and, in fact, it’s already a step down from our preferred solution, which is not to appoint them at all) — but, if there’s one thing the administration should know by now, it’s that we’ll not be letting them off the hook when it comes to conflicts of interest.

March 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater Eleanor Eagan Max Moran

Blog Post

ClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

FSOC 101: How Each Member Of The Financial Stability Oversight Council Can Fight Climate Change

Title 1 of the Dodd-Frank Act Title established the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) just over a decade ago. Prior to its arrival, there was no cross-agency government body tasked with protecting the financial system from systemic risks. FSOC was created to avoid repeating the mistakes of the 2008 financial crisis and to be a safeguard against financial practices with the potential to wreak global havoc.

March 16, 2021

Dorothy Slater

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionClimateFinancial RegulationIndependent Agencies

A Slam Dunk Climate Opportunity For Biden: Five Open Seats On The Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board

President Biden is being presented with a straightforward, simple opportunity to make good on his promise to take a whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change. Appointing climate leaders who will take urgent climate action even if their job descriptions do not explicitly mention the environment is one of the easiest and most important ways Biden can display integrity.

March 05, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The State of Independent Agency Nominations - Update for March 2021

It has been over a month since President Joe Biden assumed the presidency. So far, thirteen of his Cabinet picks have received Senate confirmation, while the remaining ten who will require it wend their way through the process. In the meantime, the administration continues to announce names for the nearly 4000 other positions it will need to fill. With only a few exceptions, however, picks for one class of appointment — to independent agency boards — have not yet been forthcoming. The Biden administration undoubtedly faces many competing priorities, but these nominations must rise to the top.

February 19, 2021

Eleanor Eagan

Blog Post

2020 Election/TransitionIndependent Agencies

Senate Must Clear Obstacles and Avoid False Tradeoffs

On January 20, Joe Biden was sworn in as the country’s 46th President. It will be months, even years, however, before all of the accompanying members of his administration are in place. With over 4000 positions to fill, the vetting and selection process necessary to stand up a new administration is formidable. Add to that the lengthy road to Senate confirmation for over 1000 of those picks and you have a recipe for dysfunction.