Presidential power isn’t just about executive orders, and though President Biden has made assertive use of those in his first week in office, he’s also moved quickly on another key lever of power available to presidents: staffing. Not just Cabinet secretaries and other headline names, but the people down a couple levels whose names few of us ever hear, yet who can make a significant different in the kind and quality of work that gets done in a presidential administration.
Biden has already sworn in around 1,000 of those out-of-the-headlines-but-important political appointees. According to a White House statement, at the National Security Council Biden has “nearly doubled the number of staff ready to start and onboarded than either Trump did in 2017 or Obama in 2009,” ready to get started on “the urgent need to build—in some cases rebuild—capabilities like climate, cyber, global health security and biodefense, and democracy from the ground up.” The chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is now the former head of the union representing immigration judges—someone who spoke out strongly against the Trump administration’s efforts to break the immigration courts.
Harsh case quotas intended to speed immigrants through without a chance to really be heard, for instance, were “an unprecedented act which compromises the integrity of the court,” Ashley Tabaddor said in 2018. In 2019, as the union filed Federal Labor Relations Authority complaints over Trump administration changes to immigration courts, she said: “In the last three years and particularly in the last few weeks, the Department of Justice has taken big, dramatic and revolutionary steps to dismantle the court and strike, honestly, at the very core of the principles that we as judges and Americans hold dear.”
It’s rare that news about who’ll be chief counsel of a federal agency gives you chills, but this could be that time.
There’s more: At the Environmental Protection Agency, The New York Times reports, before Michael Regan gets confirmed as administrator, “a cadre of young staff members—a roster that reads like a who’s who of climate change policy wonks, many of them culled from the Obama administration—will be at work.”
These people are replacing Trumpists dedicated to tearing the government apart, harming immigrants, or gutting environmental protections.
The problem is, as presidential historian Michael Beschloss told the Times, ”It’s harder to rebuild a government than it is to ransack, demoralize and hollow a government out.” Trump’s had four years to ransack and demoralize, and he’s done a good job of it. But this is where Biden’s decades of experience in government may really come to play—he knows what position can accomplish what and where to focus his efforts, whether in rebuilding or moving forward, and he’s not wasting time.
From Daily Kos at Read More. This article is republished from DailyKos under an open content license. Read the original article at DailyKos.