Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

President-elect Biden will name former National Security Adviser Susan Rice to head the Domestic Policy Council, the Biden transition team confirmed Thursday — a significant change from her previous roles that would put her in charge of major portions of his “Build Back Better” plan.

Between the lines: Rice was previously considered for Cabinet positions including Secretary of State, but she would have faced steep confirmation odds given her history of clashes with some GOP senators and as a flashpoint over Benghazi. The DPC role does not require Senate confirmation.

  • She'll coordinate closely with the president-elect’s top national security and economic advisers, Jake Sullivan and Brian Deese.
  • This reflects Biden’s desire for more interconnected management of foreign, economic and domestic policy.

Background: Rice, 56, a Black woman and former UN ambassador, is a heavy-hitter and trusted friend whom Biden considered for his running mate as well as Cabinet posts. She's being brought in to elevate the DPC’s stature along with an expansion of staff and resources to guide the U.S. through the pandemic and recovery.

  • “She’s not a wallflower; she’s going to speak up when she thinks something needs more attention,” one source tells Axios, adding that Biden “welcomes that.”
  • Movement toward a stronger DPC also took place during the Trump administration.
  • Many presidential advisers over the years have served in multiple administrations. It’s less common to bounce between foreign- and domestic-facing roles, though there have been notable examples, including James Baker and Leon Panetta.

Be smart: While Rice's resume is heavy on foreign policy, diplomacy and national security, her biography is steeped in consideration of domestic issues including civil rights, education and economic and racial equality.

  • Her late mother was known as "the mother of Pell Grants," while her late father was a Federal Reserve governor and economics professor and served in the Tuskegee Airmen. Her grandparents were immigrants and her great-grandfather was a slave.
  • She and Biden have spoken in detail about how her personal and family story has shaped her views of domestic challenges, the sources said.

How it works: In this role, Rice will meet regularly with Biden, sit on the administration’s COVID-19 task force, convene sessions with Cabinet secretaries and formulate and coordinate policies.

  • Health care, immigration and racial equity are expected to top the new administration’s domestic priorities.
  • More broadly, the DPC encompasses agencies' work on education, labor, energy, gun policy, veterans’ affairs, housing, transportation, agriculture, the environment, conservation, opioid addiction, civil rights, voting rights and democratic governance.

What we're watching: Over the past two years, Rice has increasingly turned her time and commentary to domestic matters through opinion pieces, a memoir and serving on a bipartisan group that advised D.C. on structuring its COVID-19 reopening.

The big picture: The Biden transition team also announced on Thursday that President Obama's former chief of staff Denis McDonough would be nominated to lead the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the president-elect continues to stock his Cabinet with familiar faces.

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - Podcasts

America’s historic week ahead

It’s a big week in American politics. Tomorrow, President-elect Joe Biden is preparing to take the oath of office. At the same time, Washington, D.C., and state capitals around the country are on high alert for potential violence. And to top it all off, President Trump’s second impeachment trial is looming.

  • Plus, Joe Biden’s COVID plan.
  • And, who he wants in his Cabinet.
55 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.

Off the Rails

Episode 8: The siege

Photo illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photos: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 8: The siege. An inside account of the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6 that ultimately failed to block the certification of the Electoral College. And, finally, Trump's concession.

On Jan. 6, White House deputy national security adviser Matt Pottinger entered the West Wing in the mid-afternoon, shortly after his colleagues' phones had lit up with an emergency curfew alert from D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.