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Politics Return of the technocrats: Biden aims for ‘normal’ after four years of tumult

22:15  23 january  2021
22:15  23 january  2021 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Republicans line up to oppose Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan

  Republicans line up to oppose Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus plan Republicans are already lining up to oppose President-elect Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 rescue plan that he debuted in Wilmington, Delaware Thursday night. Punchbowl News reported Friday morning that two powerful GOP lawmakers: Sen. Marco Rubio and Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas, the top Republican on the House Ways and Means Committee, have already become naysayers.'President-elect Biden served in [the] Senate for over 35 years. So he knows the plan he outlined tonight can't pass "quickly" & will delay the 2k for hard hit Americans,' Rubio said Thursday night.

Many of America’s leading unions endorsed candidate Joe Biden , despite the enormous prosperity President Trump brought to their members. It did not occur to them that Joe Biden would be forced to appease the anti-industry Left, because of the voting power that they represent to the Democrat Party.

After being sworn as the nation's 46th president, Joe Biden will return to work Thursday, his first full day at the White House. Biden wasted little time after his inauguration Wednesday in working to undo President Donald Trump's policies that were anathema to Democrats during his four years in office.

President Biden and his team issued 17 executive actions and directives, fielded 28 questions during a news briefing and swore in more than 1,100 people to serve in his administration. And that was just on Day One.

a person standing in front of a statue: President Biden, with Vice President Harris by his side, signs executive orders at the White House on Jan. 22. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden, with Vice President Harris by his side, signs executive orders at the White House on Jan. 22.

In the first few days of Biden’s administration, aides to the new president have also blasted out fact sheets and memorandums — a veritable redwood worth of paperwork — and quietly reached out to a range of interest groups and politicians of both parties.

Pence is helping Biden make the transition more normal. But their cooperation has risks for each.

  Pence is helping Biden make the transition more normal. But their cooperation has risks for each. Pence is accepting Biden’s win in a way Trump has not, helping Biden solidify his transition to power. That benefits Biden and Pence for now, but a volatile political landscape lies ahead for both. That comes after Pence last Thursday called Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris to congratulate her, offering her Air Force Two to travel to the inauguration, a courtesy Biden extended to Pence four years ago. Most dramatically, Pence on Jan. 6 rejected efforts to disrupt Congress’s certification of the election results, making him the target of a violent mob as he formalized Biden’s win.

After 'holocaust centers,' crowd size shouting matches, and an uncountable number of 'alternative facts,' White House Press Briefings are jarringly normal so far under Biden . John Heilemann shares this video from The Recount.

After 'holocaust centers,' crowd size shouting matches, and an uncountable number of 'alternative facts,' White House Press Briefings are jarringly normal so far under Biden . John Heilemann shares this video from The Recount.

The technocrats, in other words, are back — complete with their return to regular order and aspirations of rigorous monotony.

The whirlwind of activity, both public and private, was part of a planned launch of his presidency that began in late April — before Biden had formally clinched the Democratic nomination — designed to showcase Biden’s promise to restore what he and his aides view as normalcy to the White House.

“They are running normal policy processes,” said Neil Bradley, the executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “For those of us who've been in Washington a long time, it is the normal policymaking process that we've been familiar with for a long time. And that, from our perspective, seems to produce better, more informed policy.”

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After 'holocaust centers,' crowd size shouting matches, and an uncountable number of 'alternative facts,' White House Press Briefings are jarringly normal so far under Biden . John Heilemann shares this video from The Recount.

As a result, it appears the deep state has managed to run delays for four years , preventing any real day of reckoning for left-wing traitors, while In today’s Situation Update, I explore the possibility of a China-led invasion of the United States, complete with Chinese cruise missiles taking out US power

But if Biden and his team view his mantra of “Build Back Better” as a lofty goal, many Republicans see it as a return of the swamp. Former president Donald Trump’s rise was fueled by voters who viewed Washington as a town of bureaucrats and elites removed from the struggles of their daily lives — and who appreciated Trump’s disdain for the usual way of doing things.

President Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

“I’m not sure what a new normal looks like, because I think the Trump way of doing things and his nonpolitical approach has a certain appeal to voters, and that’s going to have to be part of this new normal,” said Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster.

Referring to Biden’s relatively staid Twitter feed, Newhouse joked, “Are we still waiting for his first tweet? Many Americans are used to right now communication by Twitter. I think some people actually miss that.”

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Biden says election is a battle for the soul of the nation and accuses Trump of having ‘failed in the most basic duty to the nation’. Biden presented November’s election as a “battle for the soul of this nation”, echoing the words he used when he launched his third presidential bid last year .

During Wednesday night’s Democratic debate in Detroit, former Vice President Joe Biden directed his opening statement at President Trump. Over years of war and air blockades, like much of the rest of the country, it’s economy and healthcare system have been destroyed.

The president’s team is betting that most Americans won’t.

Biden tapped former senator Ted Kaufman (D-Del.) to run his transition on April 22. He pulled in several others, and what started as handful of trusted Biden advisers ballooned to a staff of more than 400 paid transition employees by Jan. 20.

a statue of Joe Biden in a suit and tie: President Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post President Biden speaks about the economy before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021.

Another 1,000 volunteers also helped in a number of ways, including vetting potential hires — a mammoth task that involved more than 8,000 interviews.

Guided by Biden’s speeches and remarks on the campaign trail, they turned the candidate’s public decrees and promises into legislative language. When Biden delivered his major economic speeches over the summer, they took the text and broke it down into separate executive orders and tracked what he was promising on the first day, first week and first 100 days.

[Podcast: The Biden era begins]

“Every single one of the things you’re seeing, there is a massive amount of planning,” said Kaufman, referring to the opening days of the administration.

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“You’ve got to sit down and figure out, ‘What do I want to have on day one, two, three, four and five?’ ” he said. “Then, ‘When do I have to have the substance ready to go?’

Proposals were drafted and then vetted by multiple rounds of attorneys, including career lawyers inside the Justice Department. Two major pieces of legislation were put together: One for coronavirus relief and another on immigration.

There was also an employee handbook for the transition. “There is no transition without a successful campaign” was one quote from the book. Another focused on tone: “No egos, no drama, no task too small for anyone. We have each other’s backs.”

Their work accelerated once Biden was elected, with transition officials reaching out to interest groups in key players in Washington, making over 3,500 calls to organizations, according to a transition official.

The groups included the typical constituencies that are part of the Democratic coalition including labor unions, civil rights organizations and women’s groups. But they also targeted those more typically aligned with the GOP.

“Uniting America is not about just giving speeches — it’s not even about announcing policies,” Kaufman said. “It’s about getting down, doing the hard work and talking to members of Congress, talking to governors and talking to people in normally Republican areas.”

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Bradley, whose group has commonly aligned with Republicans, called it “a highly organized, I would say very efficient process.”

“It removes multiple layers of uncertainty or confusion,” he said. “We may not always agree with the direction that they’re going, but at least you have a sense of understanding it and that is exceptionally helpful to the business community — just knowing how policy is unfolding.”

[In first full day in office, Biden faces numerous crises]

With the Trump administration, by contrast, “everyone was scrambling to figure out what was going on,” he said.

Biden’s nominees have also been making the rounds, such as a visit by Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen with the National Association of Manufacturers executive committee.

It was “a very candid, open, frank conversation,” said Jay Timmons, the group’s president.

Timmons, who was once the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said that Biden’s approach has been “refreshing.”

It helps that he’s known Biden since he was a Senate aide two decades ago. “In Joe Biden, you have just a decent human being,” Timmons said. “He’s willing to listen to all points of view.”

The outreach provided an early benefit when these right-leaning groups, including the Chamber, NAM and the Business Roundtable issued statements on Jan. 4 urging members of Congress and others to accept Biden’s electoral college victory.

A painting of Abraham Lincoln is seen behind President Biden as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post A painting of Abraham Lincoln is seen behind President Biden as he speaks about the coronavirus pandemic before signing executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

That happened in some cases after the Biden transition reached out asking for the help, according to a business lobbyist familiar with the effort who requested anonymity to discuss private talks.

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“They expressed their concerns about the road that we were going down and where that might lead, which were, frankly, concerns that a lot of people in the business community shared,” the lobbyist said.

The Biden team’s message was clear: “Folks speaking up would be helpful,” the lobbyist recalled. “A lot of folks in the business community were happy to.” Biden’s transition confirmed the outreach to business groups, but noted that in some cases business organizations proactively asked how they could help.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki has highlighted the support for Biden’s covid relief package from business groups, saying there has been an “outpouring of support” for various parts of the package “from everyone from Bernie Sanders to the Chamber of Commerce.”

But the Biden team’s concerted effort to revive some of the basic traditions of past White Houses also has its risks. Washington trying to work together can look an awful lot like elites palling around, or the overly clubby atmosphere that gave rise to the early enthusiasm for Trump’s candidacy.

And key Republican senators have already expressed skepticism, if not outright opposition, to Biden’s $1.9 trillion covid-19 relief proposal.

[Biden sticks to vaccine goals nearly met by his predecessor]

“President Biden is talking like a centrist, he is using the words of the center, talking about unity, but he is governing like someone from the far left,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in a video message on Friday.

“He has ordered more executive fiats than anyone in such a short period of time — ever. More than Obama, more than Trump, more than anyone,” Rubio said, referring to the flurry of executive actions Biden has signed.

Over about 48 hours, Biden signed more than two dozen executive actions and one piece of legislation — granting his Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin a waiver exempting him from a law requiring the head of the Pentagon to have been out of uniform for at least seven years.

Biden willing to negotiate relief checks as he meets 10 GOP senators

  Biden willing to negotiate relief checks as he meets 10 GOP senators By Sarah N. Lynch and Jarrett RenshawWASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Ten moderate Republican U.S. senators urged Democratic President Joe Biden on Sunday to On Sunday, a group of 10 moderate Republicans, including Senators Mitt Romney, and Susan Collins, drafted up a $600 billion bill, which is only one-third the price tag of the $1.9 trillion package Biden is already considering.

a close up of a logo: Pens are seen before President Biden prepares to sign executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post Pens are seen before President Biden prepares to sign executive orders in the State Dining Room at the White House on Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.

He took aim at Trump’s record on climate change, immediately rejoining the Paris climate accords and rescinding the permit for the Keystone XL pipeline. He reoriented his administration on the response to the coronavirus pandemic, reversing Trump’s decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization and imposing a mask mandate on federal property.

The Biden White House is also engaging in some age-old traditions, like blaming the previous administration for the crises they face. Jeff Zients, the head of Biden’s coronavirus task force, told reporters recently that “what we are inheriting from the Trump administration is much worse than we could have imagined,” and other aides — without providing specifics — have anonymously claimed that the Trump team left behind absolutely no coronavirus strategy.

Biden’s team says it plans to bring back the practice of daily press briefings, and promised transparency with the American public. But that doesn’t mean they are above the timeless tradition of skilled obfuscation: Psaki, for instance, has repeatedly declined to share Biden’s position on whether he believes Trump should be convicted of inciting the Jan. 6 Capitol riot in the upcoming Senate impeachment trial.

“Well, he's no longer in the Senate, and he believes that it's up to the Senate and Congress to determine how they will hold the former president accountable and what the mechanics and timeline of that process will be,” Psaki said Friday.

For many Democrats, the return of the so-called establishment — or the “seasoned,” in the preferred nomenclature of Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) — is a welcome change.

a close up of Jen Psaki in a blue shirt: White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a briefing at the White House on Thursday. © Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post White House press secretary Jen Psaki speaks during a briefing at the White House on Thursday.

“I don’t care what anyone says — it was a beautiful, wonderful inauguration but 26,000 National Guard troops surrounding you isn’t a sense of calm, and I think just normal is good,” Dingell said, referring to the heavy security implemented in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege by pro-Trump supporters. “People want to hug each other and go out to dinner and we can’t do that, but at least here’s a process by which you can try to get things done.”

In another return to tradition reaching out to North American allies, Biden made Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his first phone call with a foreign leader Friday, followed by Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

[Obama’s early days were full of legislative wins. Biden may not have that chance.]

The Biden White House also reinstated its subscriptions of the New York Times and The Washington Post in the West Wing — a practice stopped under Trump during a moment of fury at the publications, though he continued to avidly consume news from both papers.

And during a new conference Friday, Psaki jokingly made clear that Biden’s priorities are distinctly different than those of his predecessor.

“I can confirm to you here: The president has not spent a moment thinking about the color scheme of Air Force One,” Psaki said, a jab at Trump’s fixation on replacing the traditional baby blue of the presidential aircraft with colors inspired by the American flag.

Matt Viser contributed to this report.

Biden willing to negotiate relief checks as he meets 10 GOP senators .
By Sarah N. Lynch and Jarrett RenshawWASHINGTON, Jan 31 (Reuters) - Ten moderate Republican U.S. senators urged Democratic President Joe Biden on Sunday to On Sunday, a group of 10 moderate Republicans, including Senators Mitt Romney, and Susan Collins, drafted up a $600 billion bill, which is only one-third the price tag of the $1.9 trillion package Biden is already considering.

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