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John Kerry speaks last month after Joe Biden appointed him as his international climate czar. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

Progressives are demanding Joe Biden's domestic climate policy czar, who he is expected to name this week, have "direct access to the president" and "wide-reaching power," according to a memo to Biden transition officials obtained by Axios. 

Why it matters: After focusing on personnel and policy, progressives are pivoting to focus on other ways to wield power with the Biden-Harris administration — including spelling out explicit demands.

Driving the news: Sunrise Movement, the activist climate group, first offered this guideline to the Biden transition team in late November, but continues to press them on the issue.

  • The top responsibility they advocate for in the description is that this person has "direct access to the President," highlighting the seniority progressives want associated with this position. 
  • And they expect this climate official to "wield considerable influence in decision-making across policy, budget-setting, and program implementation across all departments and agencies."

The backdrop: John Kerry was previously announced as Biden's special climate envoy, focusing on international climate matters as a member of the National Security Council.

  • The assistant to the president for climate mobilization is expected to act as Kerry's domestic counterpart.

Former EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy is a leading candidate for this domestic climate role, multiple people familiar tell Axios.

Read the memo.


Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jan 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Schumer suggests Biden could use emergency powers for climate policy

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wants President Biden to explore use of emergency executive powers to fight climate change, he told MSNBC's Rachel Maddow last night.

Driving the news: Schumer said it "might be a good idea for President Biden to call a climate emergency," and noted, "Then he can do many, many things under the emergency powers of the president ... that he could do without legislation."

20 mins ago - Politics & Policy
Scoop

White House plots "full-court press" for $1.9 trillion relief plan

National Economic Council Director Brian Deese speaks during a White House news briefing. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Biden White House is deploying top officials to get a wide ideological spectrum of lawmakers, governors and mayors on board with the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID relief proposal, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The broad, choreographed effort shows just how crucially Biden views the stimulus to the nation's recovery and his own political success.

20 mins ago - World

Scoop: Sudan wants to seal Israel normalization deal at White House

Burhan. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty

Three months after Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel, it still hasn't signed an agreement to formally do so. Israeli officials tell me one reason has now emerged: Sudan wants to sign the deal at the White House.

Driving the news: Israel sent Sudan a draft agreement for establishing diplomatic relations several weeks ago, but the Sudanese didn’t reply, the officials say. On Tuesday, Israeli Minister of Intelligence Eli Cohen raised that issue in Khartoum during the first-ever visit of an Israeli minister to Sudan.