Nov 10, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden transition starts congressional outreach

Joe Biden
Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The Biden transition team is officially reaching out to Democratic lawmakers, telling them that President-elect Biden is eager "to seize this transition period to get started."

Why it matters: The transition is signaling that it wants to work with congressional offices and draw on their expertise — and personnel — to implement Biden's agenda.

  • Louisa Terrell, who worked for Biden in the Senate and in President Obama’s White House, along with stints at Facebook and McKinsey, is leading legislative affairs for the transition.

Details: Terrell is telling House congressional offices that Biden will build a Cabinet that "looks like America and reflects President-elect Biden’s core values," according to an email circulating on Capitol Hill.

  • "This means recruiting staff that bring a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds," the email reads.
  • The transition will "be poised to receive all personnel requests and route them to the right transition teams."

The big picture: Lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill — as well as K Street lobbyists — are eagerly awaiting the release of Biden's "agency review teams," which will work directly with federal agencies and departments to smooth the transition.

  • They will also provide a clue as to who will staff the departments below the Cabinet secretary level, as well as the likely policy direction of those agencies.
  • The Biden transition has announced restrictions — and exemptions — on lobbyists joining the transition.
  • "Transition OLA (Office of Legislative Affairs) will soon reach out to committees of jurisdiction to schedule listening sessions with the applicable ARTs, to take place in November and early December," the email reads.

But, but, but: The agency review teams, which the Trump transition called "landing teams," will have a difficult time getting to work unless the General Services Administration makes a so-called "ascertainment" to declare Biden the victory.

  • The transition is threatening legal action to give those teams access to office space and classified information.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with more details about Terrell's background.

Go deeper