With assist from Allie Bice
Welcome to POLITICO’s 2021 Transition Playbook, your information to the primary 100 days of the Biden administration
White House chief of employees RON KLAIN thinks the Cabinet has too many individuals. He believes tax hikes are “much needed” however speaking about them may be “kryptonite” for Democrats. And he thinks voters ought to by no means, ever choose a candidate in a major based mostly on “electability.”
Or a minimum of that’s what Klain, newspaper columnist, believed.
Before he turned chief of employees to President JOE BIDEN, Klain dabbled in op-ed writing. He had a Bloomberg View column from 2011 to 2012 and wrote dozens of columns for The Washington Post in the course of the Trump administration. Well earlier than then, his byline was on a column referred to as “The Saxa Syndrome” for Georgetown University’s pupil newspaper.
He apparently most popular working within the White House to a future within the Washington press corps. But, alongside the way in which to that discovery, he penned a number of columns straight related to the job he holds now.
Klain lamented in Bloomberg View in 2011 that the White House Cabinet Room had grown so crowded that secretaries now needed to “climb over a chair arm, or squeeze their rump past a colleague’s face, to reach their seat.”
“The awkward seating problem illustrates a bigger point: The modern Cabinet has grown too large to be an effective tool to help run the federal government,” Klain wrote.
President BARACK OBAMA’s Cabinet had 22 members. Can you, Klain requested, “name any U.S. corporate chief executive with that many direct reports?”
He urged scrapping each Cabinet company besides State, Treasury, Defense and Justice. The Justice Department would take in the Department of Homeland Security. The relaxation can be folded into three uber-companies: the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Human Resources and the Department of Economic Development. He admitted the thought “would cost money before it produced savings, and create chaos in the agencies before things settled down” however argued the lengthy-time period advantages can be substantial.
Fast ahead a decade and Klain is now a member of the Cabinet — and it’s even greater. President JOE BIDEN’s Cabinet has 25 members, the most important in historical past. They haven’t but wanted to cram into the Cabinet Room, but it surely’s solely a matter of time.
An individual aware of Klain’s views stated he now not favors shrinking the Cabinet, however he wasn’t alone on the time. Obama pitched consolidating Cabinet departments in his 2011 State of the Union, and White House chief of employees BILL DALEY later proposed merging the Commerce Department, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and several other smaller companies. But the thought ran into opposition on the Hill and by no means went wherever.
Klain’s columns from 2011 and 2012 are significantly notable on condition that Biden is now dealing with among the identical points the Obama administration was then, together with whether or not or to not elevate taxes on the wealthy and the way to promote infrastructure funding.
In one October 2011 column, he warned Democrats that proposing tax hikes could come with “severe” political consequences. Arguing that billionaires ought to pay the next tax charge than their secretaries was not essentially a profitable argument, Klain wrote.
“Even if middle-class voters are stirred by the populist sentiment behind such rhetoric, they may be unnerved by its implicit zeal to raise taxes, and the tone of the debate leaves the administration vulnerable to the usual caricatures of Democrats as overenthusiastic tax hikers,” he stated.
That’s about to grow to be related, as Biden told ABC News this week, “Anybody making more than $400,000 will see a small to a significant tax increase,” beneath a forthcoming infrastructure spending plan. “You have now 90 of the Fortune 500 companies don’t pay a single penny in federal tax. Not a penny. Making billions of dollars,” the president argued.
In one other column, Klain wrote that Congress ought to invest in fixing the nation’s bridges, roads and dams however shouldn’t elevate expectations that such initiatives would supply a lot of new jobs. While marquee initiatives just like the Hoover Dam and the Tennessee Valley Authority turned symbols of the New Deal, Klain argued, “It’s important to understand how small a role giant construction projects played in ending the Great Depression.”
The White House stated in an announcement that Klain works “to implement the policy agenda and priorities of President Biden and Vice President Harris. Columns from decades ago as a college student or a private citizen have literally no impact on the Biden-Harris agenda today.”
Some of Klain’s political recommendation, nevertheless, was useless on.
Months earlier than RICK PERRY’s “oops” debacle in a Republican major debate derailed his 2012 presidential marketing campaign, Klain urged Perry’s team to focus “on making sure he doesn’t make major gaffes” in the course of the debates. Klain additionally argued that Obama ought to root for MITT ROMNEY to win the 2012 GOP major as a result of “Romney’s privileged upbringing, Wall Street career, and tone-deaf statements (like boasting that his wife owns multiple Cadillacs) will alienate” working-class voters within the normal election. (Fact examine: true.)
Elsewhere, Klain extra intently resembled a basic political pundit, in that his takes aged terribly.
In a 2008 piece for The New York Times headlined “Anything But The E-Word,” which ran shortly after Biden dropped out of the presidential races after inserting fifth in Iowa, Klain decried voters’ misplaced give attention to “electability.”
“When I was supporting Senator Joe Biden earlier this year, I often had people say to me, ‘I think Joe Biden would be a great president, but I won’t vote for him, because he can’t win,’” Klain wrote
“[C]hoosing a candidate based on ‘electability’ is almost always futile,” he added.
Twelve years later, Klain was advising Biden’s marketing campaign, which couldn’t cease speaking about Biden’s electability, even placing polling ends in adverts in the course of the major. That message helped make him president.
Klain’s faculty columns are extra entertaining however a bit much less pertinent to his present actions.
In considered one of them, he satirically argued that President JIMMY CARTER was secretly working as “an agent for the South in its effort to ‘rise again.’” In one other, he described going with his future wife to an ROTC military ball as somebody “from a strong anti-military background” and discovering that the individuals there “weren’t all that different from you and I.”
But Klain did develop some sources as a pupil reporter that may show related to his future profession. A Feb. 28, 1980, story in The Hoya studies that present White House senior adviser MIKE DONILON “handily” misplaced that yr’s election for pupil authorities president. The byline: Hoya Assistant News Editor Ron Klain.
“I’m going to pass on commenting on my writing as an 18 year old,” Klain wrote in a textual content to Transition Playbook. “But fun fact: when I became news editor of the Hoya in April of 1980 my deputy was [New York Times tech columnist and podcast host] KARA SWISHER.”
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In the East Room, the place he stated his administration would meet its aim of administering 100 million vaccine photographs on Friday, weeks forward of his self-imposed deadline.
With Biden within the East Room. She additionally ceremonially swore in Interior Secretary DEB HAALAND (her official swearing in was on Tuesday) and met with girls labor leaders, together with RANDI WEINGARTEN of the American Federation of Teachers, LIZ SCHULER of the AFL-CIO, BECKY PRINGLE of the National Education Association and TERESA ROMERO of the United Farm Workers. (Others joined just about.)
From the Library of Congress: Which president was a classically skilled pianist?
(Answer is on the backside.)
EDUCATION DEPARTMENT SCRAPS TRUMP-ERA RULE — The Education Department introduced immediately it can pull back a Trump-era rule that solely partially paid again the loans of scholars who have been defrauded by their faculty, MICHAEL STRATFORD studies.
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DEMS IN DISARRAY OVER THE FDA — Two months into his presidency amidst the pandemic, Biden still has not nominated someone to steer the Food and Drug Administration, ADAM CANCRYN studies (one other must follow!).
Biden officers had initially zeroed in on longtime FDA regulator JANET WOODCOCK. Quite a few Democrats have begun voicing issues, nevertheless, as dependancy therapy and anti-opioid teams have criticized her tenure as head of the FDA’s drug division throughout a interval the place the opioid disaster grew right into a full-blown epidemic.
Sens. MAGGIE HASSAN (D-N.H.) and ED MARKEY (D-M.A.) each not too long ago raised the problem and Sen. JOE MANCHIN, whose state of West Virginia has been maybe probably the most bothered by the opioid disaster, privately signaled resistance to a possible Woodcock nomination.
THE RIGHT STUFF? Biden is predicted to appoint former Sen. BILL NELSON of Florida to steer NASA, selecting a longtime booster of the house program to steer the company’s return to the moon, JACQUELINE FELDSCHER studies.
Nelson, 78, spent six days in orbit when he flew to space in 1986 aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia and served as the highest Democrat on the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee throughout his 18 years in Congress, the place he was instrumental in establishing lots of NASA’s present priorities.
But you may count on one specific 2017 assertion to come back up in his hearings. After Trump nominated a congressman to steer the company, Nelson blasted the selection, telling MARC CAPUTO: “The head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician.”
SKIN OF HIS TEETH — The Senate narrowly confirmed XAVIER BECERRA to steer the Department of Health and Human Services immediately, ALICE MIRANDA OLLSTEIN studies.
Maine Republican SUSAN COLLINS joined all the Democrats current within the 50-49 vote — the tightest tally for any of Biden’s Cabinet picks up to now and an unusually slender margin for an HHS secretary.
KNOW WHEN TO HOLD ‘EM, KNOW WHEN TO FOLD ‘EM: Sen. TED CRUZ (R-Texas) lifted his holds on two of Biden’s nominees for prime nationwide safety posts, after the State Department indicated it might punish entities concerned within the development of Nord Stream 2, a controversial Russia-to-Germany gasoline pipeline.
The Senate unanimously confirmed WILLIAM BURNS, Biden’s nominee for CIA director, and BRIAN McKEON, Biden’s selection for deputy secretary of State for administration and sources, later this afternoon, ANDREW DESIDERIO, MARTIN MATISHAK and NATASHA BERTRAND report.
NEW. SELINA. NOW. — A coalition of labor and progressive organizations is banding collectively to launch a $10 million advert blitz pressuring the Biden administration to swiftly embrace an enormous infrastructure, jobs and manufacturing package deal as its subsequent precedence, CHRIS CADELAGO scoops.
Members of the newly-shaped coalition — entitled New Recovery Now! — embody: the Center for American Progress Action Fund, Service Employees International Union, MoveOn, National Domestic Workers Alliance/Care in Action, Community Change/Action and the Working Families Party.
The marketing campaign will function TV adverts thanking Senate Democrats for unanimously supporting Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue plan and focusing on Republicans for opposing it, in line with a top level view of the coalition’s plans.
But the majority of the spending will give attention to urging the president and lawmakers to suggest a daring, so-referred to as Build Back Better package deal. While organizers aren’t specifying a desired whole greenback determine for Biden’s a lot-anticipated infrastructure invoice, they’re advocating for fast motion and for Democrats to speculate substantial quantities in inexperienced local weather jobs in addition to guarantee a pathway to citizenship for important staff.
SHOW ME THE MONEY! Newly sworn-in Secretary of Housing and Urban Development MARCIA FUDGE informed reporters immediately that company wants extra sources than the division’s normal $55 billion finances, KATY O’DONNELL reports.
“We need at least another $70 to $100 billion,” she stated. The further funds can be a one-time infusion of cash, not an annual improve, a HUD spokesperson clarified after the briefing.
Asked if she needs to see among the housing provisions which can be a part of the Biden administration’s Covid response keep in place when the disaster eases, Fudge replied that she needs to see “most of [the relief measures] permanent, no question about it.”
MORE PIPELINE DIPLOMACY: The Biden administration is dealing with off with European allies over the Nord Stream 2 gasoline pipeline, and DANIEL BENJAMIN reports in POLITICO Magazine that it’s prompting issues on the opposite aspect of the Atlantic that Biden will end up to easily be “Trump light.”
Kremlin spokesman: Biden calling Putin a killer was “very bad” (The Associated Press)
Some Democrats are grumbling about Biden’s international coverage (The New York Times)
U.S. Sets Tough Tone Ahead of High-Level Talks with China (WSJ)
Dan Bongino says Biden is ‘boring’ and ‘a catastrophe for discuss radio’ however that he’ll do his greatest in opposition to him anyway (Insider)
Biden weighs conserving U.S. troops in Afghanistan till November (NBC News)
WENDY SHERMAN, Biden’s choose to be the deputy secretary of State, won’t let an damage cease her from engaged on necessary issues — a minimum of, if an incident within the fall of 2013 is any indication.
During the Obama administration, Sherman served because the third-rating official on the State Department and led the negotiations with Iran that resulted within the 2015 nuclear deal.
En path to a labeled briefing with members of Congress on the standing of the negotiations, Sherman fell and ruptured a tendon in her finger. Instead of going to the emergency room, the New York Times reported that she packed the finger in ice and proceeded to replace lawmakers on the discussions over Tehran’s uranium stockpile and enrichment actions.
“Suddenly,” Sherman stated in an interview with a Boston University magazine, “I had the most famous finger in the world.”
It wasn’t till after the assembly that she sought medical take care of her finger.
“She is both extraordinarily focused and extraordinarily tenacious,” ANTHONY BLINKEN, who labored with Sherman on the time, informed the Times in 2013. “She’s not the kind to pay attention to pain.”
RICHARD NIXON was a classically skilled pianist, beginning classes at an early age on the request of his mom. Nixon additionally knew the way to play the accordion, clarinet, saxophone and violin.