Biden Expected to Tap Gene Sperling to Implement Covid Relief Plan

Biden Expected to Tap Gene Sperling to Implement Covid Relief Plan

WASHINGTON—President

Biden

is expected to tap

Gene Sperling,

a veteran of Democratic administrations, to lead the implementation of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief law, an administration official said Sunday.

Mr. Sperling led the White House National Economic Council under President

Bill Clinton

and President Barack

Obama

and served as an informal adviser to Mr. Biden’s presidential campaign.

Mr. Biden is set to give remarks Monday on the implementation of the law, which includes direct payments, an extension of enhanced jobless benefits and an extension of the child tax credit. Last week, he stressed the importance of the next steps, recalling that in 2009, as vice president, he took on a leading role to ensure that the Recovery Act dollars were being deployed effectively.

“It’s one thing to pass the American Rescue Plan. It’s going to be another thing to implement it. It’s going to require fastidious oversight to make sure there’s no waste or fraud, and the law does what it’s designed to do,” he said.

An administration official said of Mr. Sperling: “There’s no one who knows how the federal government works better than Gene Sperling, and there’s no one better qualified to take charge of the implementation of the Rescue Plan and make sure it delivers for the American people.”

The official added that Mr. Sperling “will work with the heads of the White House policy councils and key leaders at federal agencies so we can get funds out the door quickly, maximize its impact, and accelerate the work the administration is doing to crush Covid-19 and rescue our economy.”

Mr. Sperling had been discussed by some Democrats as a possible pick to lead the Office of Management and Budget as Neera Tanden’s nomination faltered and she withdrew from consideration. The White House interest in naming him to lead the Covid law implementation was first reported by Politico.

The president and top aides plan to fan out across the country this week to promote the law. Democrats are keenly aware of what they consider a failed effort to sell former President Barack Obama’s stimulus effort in 2009, which Republicans derided as bloated and wasteful, and the Affordable Care Act a year later. Mr. Obama’s party suffered sweeping losses in the 2010 midterm elections, a fate Mr. Biden hopes to avoid.

“Barack was so modest, he didn’t want to take, as he said, a ‘victory lap,’” Mr. Biden told House Democrats during a recent virtual meeting. “I kept saying, ‘Tell people what we did.’ He said, ‘We don’t have time. I’m not going to take a victory lap.’ And we paid a price for it, ironically, for that humility.”

Write to Catherine Lucey at catherine.lucey@wsj.com

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Appeared in the March 15, 2021, print edition as ‘Sperling to Lead Relief Law Effort.’

Source: WSJ – US News

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