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President Biden delivered Veterans Day remarks at Arlington National Cemetery. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden plans to install a point-person in charge of infrastructure to ensure his administration properly implements its trillion-dollar legislation, two sources familiar with the plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Biden and his top aides know they need to flawlessly execute on their mammoth plan. It may be Biden's best — and, perhaps, only remaining — opportunity to show voters Democrats can deliver major changes to improve people's lives.

  • The White House press office did not have an immediate comment.

Flashback: In February 2009, President Obama put then-Vice President Joe Biden in charge of implementing their $787 billion stimulus package, calling Biden "Sheriff Joe."

  • "The fact that I'm asking my vice president to personally lead this effort shows how important it is for our country and future to get this right," Obama said.

What we're hearing: A source with direct knowledge of the appointment said the new role would be called the "infrastructure implementation coordinator."

The goal is to streamline the grant-and-spending process and prevent fraud as the $1.2 trillion in funding is dispersed.

  • The infrastructure spending is divided into two parts: $650 billion for existing — and mostly pre-planned — highway and transportation spending; and $550 billion for new projects, including an additional $110 billion for roads and bridges that would not have been otherwise modernized or constructed.
  • American could see the benefits from another $65 billion for high-speed internet access well before the 2024 election, especially a $14.2 billion program to provide a $30-a-month voucher to low-income Americans to pay for internet service.
  • There's also $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, which the Amtrak chief told "Axios on HBO" would be "absolutely transformational."

Go deeper: It's not yet known who Biden will pick to fill the job, but if history is a guide, it will be somebody he's known for a long time and trusts implicitly.

  • When Biden took office he viewed the coronavirus as by far his biggest challenge — and one that would define his presidency.
  • He appointed Jeff Zients, a former Obama National Economic Council director who ran the presidential transition, to oversee his administration's overall COVID response. He also empowered Zients across agencies.
  • He tapped another former NEC adviser, Gene Sperling, to monitor spending for the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package the president signed into law in March. It included new programs like an expanded child tax credit, as well as billions in enhanced unemployment benefits.

Behind the scenes: A Biden adviser said the administration doesn't expect an immediate bump in the president's approval ratings.

  • Inflation is soaring and they'll be hit with another wave of negative stories as supply chains remain clogged over the holiday season.
  • But the optimists on Biden's team hope voters see enough positive changes in their lives by next fall — and give credit to the president for them — to give Democrats a fighting chance to hold onto power in the midterm elections.

Between the lines: Overseeing the new infrastructure spending is an important job, but a similar position for the proposed $1.75 trillion in social spending Congress is now negotiating would be an even bigger one.

  • The Build Back Better position would involve working with state and local governments, and fashioning entirely new programs, like universal pre-K and home care for the disabled and elderly.

Go deeper

Dec 3, 2021 - Podcasts

Trump’s "Remain in Mexico" policy is back

The Biden administration has reached a deal with Mexico to restart the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program, also known as the Migrant Protection Protocol at the border. Starting Monday, asylum seekers will once again have to wait outside the U.S. while their claims are processed.

  • Plus, Mike Allen wraps up the week in politics.
  • And, the new trend of IV treatments at spas.

Guests: Axios' Stef Kight, Mike Allen and Jennifer Kingson.

Credits: Axios Today is produced in partnership with Pushkin Industries. The team includes Niala Boodhoo, Sara Kehaulani Goo, Julia Redpath, Alexandra Botti, Nuria Marquez Martinez, Alex Sugiura, Sabeena Singhani, David Toledo and Jayk Cherry. Music is composed by Evan Viola. You can reach us at podcasts@axios.com. You can text questions, comments and story ideas to Niala as a text or voice memo to 202-918-4893.

Go Deeper:

Movie theaters go out of style

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Vaccination rates are going up, people are going out to restaurants again — although the new COVID variant may get in the way — but they still aren't rushing back to the movies.

By the numbers: Some 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer hitting theaters, according to a study from the film research company The Quorum, as reported by the New York Times.

2 hours ago - Health

Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles down

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

European countries are doubling down on pressure campaigns to get people vaccinated just as Republicans continue to wage war — often successfully — against vaccine mandates in the U.S.

Why it matters: The starkly different approaches create a sharp contrast between the regions' approaches to vaccination, even as the Omicron variant rapidly spreads around the world.