The roughly 500-person group Biden’s campaign announced on Monday will prepare federal agencies for the incoming administration and draft plans to overhaul their operations after four years under Trump. The president-elect’s team includes people who favor stronger government regulation than Trump -- particularly for the financial and energy sectors -- and greater consumer protections.
Four years ago, Trump stocked his so-called agency “landing teams” with conservatives from think tanks and advocacy groups -- including people who had been openly hostile to the agencies they were charged to review. It foreshadowed an aggressive rollback of regulations under Trump’s watch.
Biden has taken a notably different tack with what he calls “agency review teams,” though some liberals have raised concerns about the participation of executives from companies, including
The groups of advisers that enter federal agencies ahead of Inauguration Day are a hallmark of presidential transitions, but their influence only goes so far. After the 2016 transition, some Trump “landing team” officials later complained their policy recommendations were ignored.
And in Biden’s case, they may not have much time to work. They cannot access office space or begin closely working with government officials until the administrator of the General Services Administration,
Biden says that won’t prevent his transition officials from beginning their planning.
Biden’s energy- and environment-focused transition teams feature a host of former Obama administration officials as well as some activists from advocacy groups.
By contrast, Trump’s EPA transition team was led by the
The head of Trump’s
Shortly after they arrived at the Energy Department in 2016, Trump’s advisers delivered a lengthy questionnaire to Obama officials, seeking to root out the names of employees and contractors involved in climate policy and negotiations. The effort unsettled agency staff, and Democrats cast it as a witch hunt.
Biden’s Energy landing team also includes Brad Markell, a top AFL-CIO official who was involved in auto industry bargaining talks and negotiations over tailpipe emissions standards during the Obama administration. Maggie Thomas, who advised Democrats
Biden pleased progressives this week by naming a slate of people to review U.S. financial watchdogs who’ve been critical of Wall Street, a stark contrast to the industry insiders and anti-regulation policy experts who populated Trump’s transition.
Among Biden advisers who will play a key role in picking leaders for agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission is
“The Treasury and financial regulatory landing teams seem to show an appreciation for the critique of Wall Street that the progressives have been trying to get across for several years,” said Jeff Hauser of the left-leaning
Trump’s landing teams at the financial regulatory agencies included
Among those examining the Treasury Department for Biden is
Also on Biden’s team is
Progressives, however, have raised concerns about Biden’s team for the Office of Management and Budget, which includes
Liberal activists are also wary of Bridget Dooling’s addition to the budget team. Dooling is a professor at George Washington University’s Regulatory Studies Center, which favors expanding the use of cost-benefit analysis in regulation -- an approach that could curtail ambitious approaches to rule-writing.
Meanwhile, the Biden transition team for the
Voters in cities powered Biden to victory, and he rewarded them by stocking his transition team with transit veterans and labor leaders. The Transportation Department review team is led by
Biden’s team is peppered with figures from organized labor, which played a role in delivering critical swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. They include representatives of the Teamsters, United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters and the Transport Workers Union.
“I think there’s significant representation for working families,” Larry Willis, president of the AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department.
Trump’s team for the Transportation Department included critics of robust federal infrastructure spending like the late Shirley Ybarra, a former senior transportation policy analyst at Reason Foundation. Other members of the Trump transition’s DOT transition team came from the private sector.
Trump’s team for the Pentagon included former executives at defense contractors
Biden’s team includes several Obama veterans who served in national security posts before decamping to left-leaning think tanks, like Center for a New American Security and New America, as well as RAND Corp.
Women make up more than half of Biden’s Pentagon team, whereas there was only one woman among Trump’s Defense Department transition advisers.
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