Knowing that she would never survive a Senate confirmation fight, former Obama national security adviser Susan Rice has been tapped by Joe Biden for the head White House Domestic Policy Council role, something Mitch and the boys can't do squat about.
President-elect Joe Biden has tapped Barack Obama’s former national security adviser Susan Rice to run the White House Domestic Policy Council, according to people familiar with the decision.
Rice, who also served as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was vetted to serve as Biden’s vice president and was a contender to be secretary of State, a position that went to Antony Blinken.
Democrats had concerns about Rice’s ability to get confirmed in a Republican-controlled Senate, and the director of the Domestic Policy Council is not a Senate-confirmed position. The Biden team had been looking to find a high-profile role for Rice, but the top domestic policy job comes as a surprise given her expertise and experience in foreign policy.
A spokesperson for the Biden transition declined to comment. A spokesperson for Rice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her position, Rice, 56, will play a large role in implementing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, a wide-ranging set of policy proposals that would invest trillions of dollars in American infrastructure and manufacturing, clean energy, caregiving, education and racial equity.
A person familiar with Biden’s thinking said he chose Rice for the role because of her deep experience in crisis management and interagency processes. The person said Biden does not see foreign, economic and diplomatic realms as separate and discrete and her deep knowledge of how the federal government works will be an asset to implementing his domestic policy agenda.
Biden officially announced Rice’s appointment Thursday morning, along with his nominations of Marcia Fudge to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Vilsack as Agriculture secretary, Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative and Denis McDonough as secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in a statement.
Rice’s decision to take the domestic policy job also signals that she still harbors political ambitions. She floated the possibility of running for Senate in Maine against Susan Collins and was a finalist to serve as Biden’s running mate. The top domestic policy job will fill out her foreign policy-heavy resume.
So yes, Rice will be part of the Biden domestic policy team, rather than the foreign policy one, but having someone with the expertise she possesses is a huge benefit to Biden in that department. She knows how to get things done, and I expect she'll be a key part of using the power of the executive branch to go around Mitch and his endless Senate GOP roadblocks.