Politics Biden administration grants ethics waivers to former labor lobbyists
Why President Joe Biden's speech to Congress was unlike any other in modern history
A joint sessions speech, known for its glad-handing cadence, was bound to be subdued with only 200 folks permitted at an event that can hold 1,500.President Joe Biden's address to a joint session of Congress was unlike any in modern history due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With no more than 200 folks permitted for an event that can hold up to 1,500, an event known for its glad-handing cadence and rousing moments was destined to be subdued.
President's administration has staffed former labor union officials in senior positions after relaxing rules preventing them from communicating with the large unions they used to work for, it has been revealed.
The Biden administration granted waivers to two former union officials in February and March and has argued that the waivers were necessary and 'in the public interest' for them to carry out their job functions.
The two officials who received the waivers are Alethea Predeoux and Celeste, revealed.
The move has been slammed as hypocritical by critics who claim that the 'union boss appointments have resulted in anti-worker policies,' the outlet reported.
'I'm still exhaling': Swing-state voters on Biden's 100 days
ELM GROVE, Wis. (AP) — Standing on the sidelines of her son's soccer practice in this upscale suburb, Laura Hahn looked skyward for answers when asked how she would rate President Joe Biden's first 100 days in office. Overall, Biden is doing well, she said after a few minutes of thought. But she acknowledged her judgment is as much a feeling of relief as an analysis of accomplishments. “I’m still exhaling,” Hahn said, referencing the tumultuous tenure of President Donald Trump. “It’s been exhausting.”At the 100-day marker, polls show most Americans are like Hahn, giving the new president positive marks for his early performance.
The waivers also come after former President Donald Trump in his final weeks in office had rescinded a policy that included a five-year ban on former government officials lobbying their former agencies, opening the door in reverse.
Predeoux, a senior official in the Office of Personnel Management, had been the top lobbyist for the American Federation of Government Employees which is a union representing 700,000 federal workers.
A March 15 memorandum on the waiver from the office's general counsel Lynn Eisenberg reads: 'Ms. Predeoux has been a registered lobbyist for AFGE for six years. Prior to joining AFGE, she served for approximately five years as a registered lobbyist for Paralyzed Veterans of America.'
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The president’s first address to Congress had 26.9 million viewers, not 11.6 million as claimed in a social media post.An April 29 Facebook post from James T. Harris, a conservative radio host and social media personality, lists television ratings for five past presidential addresses — four from former President Donald Trump and one from Biden. The post says Biden’s address to Congress had only 11.6 million viewers, compared to 37.2 million viewers for Trump’s 2020 State of the Union speech.
'While she has lobbied the Hill on OPM-related issues, she has not directly lobbied OPM,' the memorandum reads.
If Predeoux had not been granted the waiver then Biden's ethics pledge would have barred her from working on issues on which she lobbied.
The Biden administration then issued a similar waiver for Celeste Drake, the head of the White House's new Made In America Office, in April, Axios revealed.
'You are expected to advise and counsel the President, the Director of OMB, and other Federal Agencies on international trade, federal procurement, manufacturing, and other matters of national and international importance,' thefor Drake reads.
'Absent this waiver, you would be restricted for two years following your appointment from communicating with your former employers, the Director's Guild of America and the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations, except if those organizations took part in a public event.'
Biden’s America First hangover
In key areas like immigration and Covid-19 relief, Biden isn’t breaking with Trump’s nationalism. In fact, he’s continuing it.There have been real accomplishments, like the transformative American Rescue Plan. But in key policy areas, even ones where Trump’s approach deeply damaged America’s democratic image, the Biden administration has seemingly been content with continuing its predecessor’s policies. On immigration and the global Covid-19 response in particular, Biden has seemed unable or unwilling to move past Donald Trump’s worldview, giving “America First” a home in a Democratic White House.
Without a waiver, Drake would also be prohibited from working on issues for which she lobbied in the two years before her appointment.
'Without this waiver, the adjustments that would be necessary to maintain your recusal would result in serious limitations in your ability to perform the essential duties of your position,' the memorandum reads.
Alfredo Ortiz, president of the Job Creators Network, has slammed the waiver in a statement made to Axios.
'It's no surprise that President Biden's union boss appointments have resulted in anti-worker policies like the PRO Act and the $15 minimum wage,' Ortiz said.
Katharine Cooksey, the spokeswoman for the National Republican Senatorial Committee, blasted it as 'corruption' in a statement to.
'The pattern of corruption between Democrats and big union bosses is obvious – just follow the money and follow the staff,' she said.
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Things have been quieter around here in presidential-fact-check land. © OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP/Getty Images US President Joe Biden delivers remarks at an event marking Amtrack's 50th Anniversary at the William H. Gray III 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on April 30, 2021. Not because President Joe Biden is accurate all the time. He certainly isn't. But through his first 100 days in the Oval Office, Biden has given us intermittent false claims rather than the staggering avalanche of daily wrongness we faced from his predecessor.
Last week, it was revealed that a powerful teachers union allegedly pressured the Biden administration to put the brakes on schools reopening.
The American Federation of Teachers sent emails to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before it issued guidance on re-opening schools to in-person teachingreported. White House officials were copied on them.
The union lobbied the CDC to tone down language about returning students to classroom regardless of community spread of COVID, and also to allow teachers the right to work from home.
'Since the very first day of the Biden administration, every single Democrat has echoed the same union-approved talking points to keep schools closed and to jam a radical, job-killing agenda through Congress,' Cooksey told Fox News.
'While Republicans are working to get kids back in the classrooms and the economy moving again, Democrats are taking orders from their bosses at the unions to keep schools closed and stifle job opportunities.'
Trump, in one of his final acts as president, released then-current and former members of his administration from the terms of their ethics pledge. He signed the one-page revocation of the ethics order just hours before his term ended.
Daily on Energy: Granholm touts carbon capture as area for bipartisanship
Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what's going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue! © Provided by Washington Examiner DOE Header 2020 A POSSIBILITY FOR BIPARTISANSHIP? Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is touting major spending on carbon capture as key to finding agreement with Republicans on infrastructure spending.
Trump's ethic policy also had large loopholes that allowed many to skirt the rules. The administration also avoided enforcing it, government watchdog groups said.
'The first rule of ethics enforcement is you need to have strong standards. Then you need to back them up with intense transparency. And you also need to reinforce the whole thing with tone from the top,' Norm Eisen, Obama's former ethics czar, said in January.
Eisen said Trump did the opposite on all three and 'made a mockery of it by having a corrupt tone at the top.'
Like his predecessors, Biden alsoan ethics executive order instituting an ethics pledge on the day of his inauguration.
The ethics pledge includes the provision for which Predeoux and Drake received their waivers as well as reinstating the policy preventing outgoing officials from lobbying the government for a period of just two years after leaving their position.
Another provision prohibits incoming administration officials from accepting 'golden parachute' payments from their former employers for taking a government job.
Yet another restricts former senior level staffers not just from lobbying the administration for at least two years, but also prohibits for a period of one year working behind the scenes to materially assist others who lobby the executive branch - a practice often referred to as 'shadow lobbying.'
A path for business out of the China forced labor dilemma .
With few ways of responding to charges of complicity in human rights abuses, firms could rely on the International Labor Organization.The stakes could not be higher for firms doing business in China or relying on Chinese exports. In January, the U.S. banned Xinjiang-grown cotton (20 percent of the global supply) and tomatoes. Beyond garment manufacturers, Kraft Heinz and Campbell Soup were impacted. Coca-Cola is worried that it might be next (Xinjiang sugar), while climate-change campaigners should be concerned that half the world's supply of polysilicon (essential to solar panels) comes from Xinjiang.