Show an ad over header. AMP

Biden concentrates policy power in the White House with climate and energy picks

The incoming Joe Bidenadministration just filled in some of the biggest blanks on its energy and climate team, and the decisions say plenty about its approach.

Catch up fast: Obama-era EPA boss Gina McCarthy is slated to be named Biden's White House domestic climate policy adviser to lead a government-wide policy push.

  • Ali Zaidi, a top New York State energy and climate official, is expected to be named her deputy. Neither role requires Senate confirmation.
  • Biden is expected to nominate former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm as secretary of Energy.
  • Michael Regan, North Carolina's top environmental regulator, has emerged as a leading candidate for the nominee to run EPA.
  • Biden announced he's nominating Pete Buttigieg as secretary of transportation.

Quick take

1. Executive experience is at a premium. That makes sense because the odds of steering major climate legislation through Congress are very low.

  • The New York Times reports that climate advocates see choosing McCarthy as a "signal that the administration was prepared to bypass Congress and enact measures using executive authority to begin bringing down greenhouse gases."

2. A related point: Familiarity with the federal regulatory process is important for the Biden team.

  • McCarthy has that. So does Zaidi, who was a senior official in President Obama's White House Office of Management and Budget.
  • And Regan was at EPA during the Bill Clinton and George W. Bush administrations.

3. It's top-heavy. The Biden team is concentrating a lot of policy power in the White House.

  • McCarthy, a prominent name in the climate world, will be the domestic counterpart to special climate envoy John Kerry, the highest-profile name on Biden's climate and energy team.
  • Kerry's job, while under the State Department's purview, includes a seat on the National Security Council.

4. Cars — Granholm is very familiar with the auto sector. That matters because Biden hopes to greatly speed up adoption of electric vehicles as part of his energy and climate agenda.

5. The new picks have avoided inflaming intra-Democratic tensions. Groups on the left flank of the green movement last night applauded the choices of McCarthy and Granholm.

  • New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland, reportedly a leading candidate for the Interior Department, is a top choice for progressives, so keep an eye on that one.

6. It's a diverse slate. Buttigieg would be the first openly gay Cabinet secretary, while Haaland, if selected, would be the first Native American Cabinet secretary.

  • Regan would be the first Black man to lead EPA, while Granholm would be the second woman to run the Energy Department.

Democrats to take up immigration reform next week

The House will vote on two immigration bills next week, including one to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday on a call with the Democratic caucus.

Why it matters: This is likely the only realistic shot the Biden administration has at this point to pass immigration reform.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden to be briefed on need for 20,000 child migrant beds to cope with border surge

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

Keep reading... Show less

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Keep reading... Show less

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan to grant Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% ofPuerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.

Keep reading... Show less

J&J and Merck to partner for COVID vaccine production to boost supply

President Biden will announce Tuesday that pharmaceutical giant Merck will help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its newly authorized coronavirus vaccine to boost supply, a senior administration official tells Axios.

The big picture: The development has the potential to vastly increase supply, possibly doubling what the J&J could make on its own, the official said. The company has run into challenges while trying to expand its vaccine production to a global scale.

Keep reading... Show less

Casinos are throwing cash at sports betting media

Casinos are investing millions on sports betting content to lure bettors to their online and in-person sportsbooks.

Why it matters: It’s a mini gold rush for some sports media companies that were struggling in the pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Global carbon emissions rebound to pre-COVID levels

Newly released data show that global CO2 emissions had returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of last year and surpassed them in some major economies.

Why it matters: The International Energy Agency warned that clean energy efforts are falling short.

Keep reading... Show less

Civil rights leader and Bill Clinton adviser Vernon Jordan dies at 85

Vernon Jordan, the Civil Rights Movement pioneer who served as a close adviser to former President Clinton, died on Monday evening, CNN reports. He was 85.

Why it matters: The former National Urban League president was influential in American politics — from his service in President Lyndon B. Johnson’s civil rights conference to his position in leadership at the NAACP.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories