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November 18, 2022

KJ Boyle

Blog Post

ClimateExecutive Branch

Infrastructure Coordinator Not Coordinating With Public Transit Agency

Last November, President Biden signed the Infrastructure, Investment and Jobs Act, better known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The bill provides $1.2 trillion for infrastructure renovations nationwide, with $91 billion earmarked for various public transportation programs. At the time, Biden announced Mitch Landrieu would be the White House’s Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator in charge of implementing the landmark legislation, more colloquially known as the “Infrastructure Czar.” Landrieu now oversees a $1.2 trillion dollar bill, so he must be in constant communication with the administrators of key agencies to ensure it’s money well spent … right?

November 01, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

ClimateDepartment of Commerce

Gina Raimondo Should (Still) Fire NHC Acting Director Jamie Rhome

Last month, Jamie Rhome, the current Acting Director of the National Hurricane Center (NHC), effectively rejected settled climate science while discussing the then-potential severity and impact of Hurricane Ian. In that interview, Rhome said he would “caution against” linking the intensity of Hurricane Ian to climate change. To be clear, there is no question or ambiguity on this link. The worsening severity of extreme weather events as a result of climate change is something that has been firmly established, for years, by other federal agencies – like NASA – and also by international research bodies – like the National Academies – which makes Rhome’s refusal to do so all the more baffling. 

October 31, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Congressional OversightDepartment of Homeland SecurityDepartment of JusticeEthics in Government

A Crisis Of (Un)Accountability: Amidst Profound Political Cruelty, Ethics Matter More Than Ever

The news was flooded in September with images, reports, and increasingly abhorrent context for Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ trafficking of migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard as a political stunt. DeSantis’ actions, and those of his aides, are of course potentially illegal, as was asserted by a Texas sheriff who opened a criminal investigation into the spectacle. This latest sadistic political posturing came at the cost of real people fleeing real persecution, but there is also a crucial piece of this awful puzzle that hasn’t been fully explored. Why did Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agents, funded by federal dollars, allegedly forge documents for migrants knowing (even if the migrants themselves didn’t) that their flights were not destined for the locales DHS agents made their immigration proceedings beholden to?

October 17, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Executive BranchIndependent Agencies

Independent Agency Update Summer 2022

Personnel is policy, which means that the people who make up our federal institutions matter. Which means that the partisan Republican assault on the staffing up of the federal agencies that regulate so much of the public’s everyday life also matters greatly. Unfortunately, as we have highlighted for months and will continue to highlight for as long as it persists, the federal government is being gutted from the inside out by a blockade of overdue qualified leadership. 

October 14, 2022

Hannah Story Brown Timi Iwayemi Fatou Ndiaye

Blog Post

Executive BranchGovernment CapacityIndependent Agencies

Omnibus Awareness Month in Review

If Congress regularly met its own deadlines, then October—the first month of the fiscal year—would also be the first month when federal agencies could implement their new and improved budgets. Unfortunately, the modern Congress regularly fails to pass an omnibus spending package for the next fiscal year, which bundles several appropriations bills for different parts of the federal government into one whole-of-government budget, by the end of the previous fiscal year. This autumn is no different.

August 17, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

De-Trumpification

Corrupt Cuffari and our Continued Case for De-Trumpification

Donald Trump is not the only person who has been keeping evidence from law enforcement. The news cycle has been rocked for weeks by revelations that Secret Service agents deleted text messages, wiped their phones, and otherwise disappeared evidence related to their activities during Donald Trump’s attempted coup. These revelations are horrifying, as are the profound dangers such actions pose to our collective safety. Of course, it’s not just the threat to our national, personal, and political security that should inspire terror, but also how these behaviors fundamentally challenge the most effective tool that the public has to ensure accountability from its government: transparency.

July 08, 2022

Toni Aguilar Rosenthal

Blog Post

Independent Agencies

The Extraordinary (Time) Costs of Senate Republican Nomination Blockades

There are at least 366 presidentially appointed positions requiring Senate confirmation that are still awaiting a nominee or have nominees already going through the long, arduous, confirmation process. However, a process that has long been notorious for how time-consuming and antiquated it is, is intentionally being made even more difficult by nefarious Republican bad actors that are weaponizing Senate rules against supremely qualified nominees specifically to hinder the health of the federal government and to devastate President Biden’s agenda. 

June 29, 2022

Glenna Li

Blog Post

Anti-MonopolyDepartment of JusticeExecutive BranchFTC

Biden Must Take On Refineries To Lower Gas Prices

Rising gas prices may not be a problem of the Biden administration’s making, but they are a problem it cannot afford to ignore. People across the country are feeling their effects, with some groups like gig workers and those in the trucking industry – which has seen an increase in layoffs as gas prices have risen – suffering more acutely. In the face of these difficult conditions, it is essential that the Biden administration take decisive action to ease the pain people are feeling right now and, in the medium-term, address the structural factors that created this crisis.