Biden Taps Former New Orleans Mayor to Oversee Infrastructure
(Bloomberg) -- President Joe Biden selected former New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu to oversee implementation of the $550 billion infrastructure bill that he plans to sign on Monday.
Landrieu, a Democrat, led his city from 2010 to 2018, and helped guide its recovery from Hurricane Katrina and BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. He also spent six years as lieutenant governor of Louisiana and served as a state legislator.
The infrastructure measure is a central element of Biden’s economic plan and ensuring that money isn’t squandered will be key for Democrats as they try to maintain control of the House and Senate in mid-term elections next year.
Biden will sign the bill at a White House ceremony to which he’s invited a bipartisan group of lawmakers, as well as state and local officials who support the effort. Congress cleared the measure after protracted negotiations.
Biden told his cabinet on Friday that “we all have to make sure this money is used wisely, used well, and used to the stated purposes for the American people.”
Since leaving office, Landrieu has launched the E Pluribus Unum Fund, a nonprofit aimed at tackling issues of race and class in the American South.
“Our work will require strong partnerships across the government and with state and local leaders, business and labor to create good-paying jobs and rebuild America for the middle class,” Landrieu said in a White House statement.
Landrieu, 61, had been seen as a potential candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination but said in early 2019 that he would not run, citing the large field of contenders that had already formed. A successful stint in the Biden administration could help boost a potential future candidacy.
Gene Sperling, a former National Economic Council director for two Democratic presidents, is playing a similar role guiding the rollout of the $1.9 trillion American Recovery Plan.
As vice president, Biden led the Obama administration’s implementation of stimulus programs approved in 2009 in response to a deep recession. Biden has said he’s proud of the low levels of fraud associated with the measure.
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