Biden's post-Georgia intrigue
After the victory lap from last night's Raphael Warnock Senate victory in Georgia, President Biden will focus on his most urgent political task.
Why it matters: Biden needs to assemble a team that can replicate the Democrats' midterm success while fending off GOP congressional investigations that will look for the weakest members of the herd, starting in the Cabinet.
Former COVID-19 czar Jeff Zients has been busy preparing options for a potential White House and Cabinet reorganization, but most decisions were on hold until Biden learned the results of Georgia.
- Biden aides are hesitant to give Republicans any chance to litigate the administration’s policies through messy confirmation battles, especially right after the election.
- They also don’t want any potential Cabinet shakeup to be viewed through the prism of a midterm reset. If Cabinet officials leave, it may be later in the year.
The big picture: Biden still has some 40 embassies without an ambassador, including five from Group of 20 countries, according to the nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service.
- Biden wants his State Department fully stocked to deal with an uncertain world, with the war in Ukraine continuing and the global economy flashing warning signs of a serious slowdown.
The intrigue: The Georgia win, coupled with falling gas prices and a summer of legislative success, make it more likely that Chief of Staff Ron Klain will depart, according to people familiar with the matter.
- Klain hasn’t made a final decision, and the president as well as outside allies want him to stay.
- But he has told colleagues that he is physically exhausted. He has lasted longer than nearly all of his predecessors in a job with punishing hours, according to Biden advisers.