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Biden to Name New Chief of Staff

Government

President Joe Biden | Image by Shag 7799

President Joe Biden is expected to appoint Jeff Zients as his next chief of staff, according to The Washington Post. Ron Klain, the current White House chief of staff, has served since the beginning of Biden’s term but is now preparing to leave the job within the coming weeks.

Zients is a familiar face at the White House. He led the COVID-19 response at the beginning of Biden’s term and has held various high-level positions across both the Obama and Biden administrations.

The 56-year-old business executive and government official left the White House in April but returned in the autumn to help Klain prepare for staff turnover following the midterm elections. Recently, Klain assigned Zients to other projects that some reportedly viewed as preparing Zients for the chief of staff role, as per The Washington Post.

Zients began his career in the private sector, working for a management consulting firm. He later founded Portfolio Logic, an investment firm focused on health care and business services.

In 2002, at age 35, he was named to Fortune Magazine’s “40 under 40,” with an estimated wealth of $149 million.

The Senate confirmed Zients in 2009 as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). At the same time, President Obama appointed him chief performance officer of the United States, a position in the OMB that focuses on the federal government and budget reform.

He led the efforts to address errors with the 2013 launch of healthcare.gov and served as assistant to the president for economic policy and director of the National Economic Council (NEC) from 2014 to 2017.

Zients joined Facebook’s board of directors in 2018 but declined to seek reelection to the board in 2020.

Since 2020, Zients has worked closely with the Biden administration. After Biden’s inauguration, Zients was appointed as coordinator of the COVID-19 response and counselor to the president.

In July 2021, he delayed the relaxation of COVID-related travel restrictions between the United States and Europe.

The possible appointment of Zients as chief of staff has brought criticism from organizations such as the Revolving Door Project, “a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research [that] scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement,” according to the organization’s website.

In a Sunday press release, Jeff Hauser, founder and executive director of the project, described Zients as someone who “has become astonishingly rich by profiteering in healthcare.”

In addition, Hauser blasted Zients for his connections to social media companies. “Americans are aghast at how social media companies have built monopolies and violated privacy laws,” Hauser wrote. “Zients served on the Board of Directors of Facebook as it was defending itself against growing attacks from both political parties.”

Hauser continued, “We have long argued for a ‘corporate crackdown’ on behaviors that violate federal laws and harm the American people in order for corporations to become richer. Those are the practices that have made Zients rich.

“We’re deeply worried that Zients will prevent the administration from exercising power righteously on behalf of an already cynical populace.”

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Lyndsay
Lyndsay
5 days ago

Oh yes, for sure, let’s allow a multi-millionaire who profited from health care be in charge. Talk about having to “call the kettle black” on this guy! Hypocrites.