Muckraker: Grist on Politics

The government in waiting Center for American Progress Action Fund held a press conference on Wednesday to unveil its new book, Change for America: A Progressive Blueprint for the 44th President. The book won’t be for sale until January, but some chapters are available free online now.

Meanwhile, Wonk Room has a sneak peek at additional details on the climate and energy portion, which we highlighted earlier. The section in the book was authored by Todd Stern, who served as staff secretary to Bill Clinton and was the senior White House negotiator for the Kyoto negotiations, and David Hayes, deputy secretary at the Department of Interior under Clinton. Hayes, it should be noted, is heading Obama’s transition efforts for EPA, Interior, Energy, and Agriculture. (Stern is also on the transition team.)

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Here’s the complete list of who would sit on the proposed National Energy Council, in addition to the adviser or “czar”:

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  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Treasury
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Chair, Council on Environmental Quality
  • Chair, National Security Council
  • Chair, National Economic Council

The council would have its own staff, though some posts could be shared with other White House offices like the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the National Security Council (NSC), the National Economic Council (NEC), and the Council on Environmental Quality (NEQ). In the Center for American Progress blueprint, the authors suggest that, in addition to the czar, the staff could include:

  • Deputy Advisor
  • Domestic Policy Advisor #1
  • Domestic Policy Advisor #2
  • Technology Advisor (OSTP)
  • Private Finance Advisor (NEC/OSTP)
  • Scientific Advisor (CEQ/OSTP)
  • Economic Advisor (NEC)
  • Climate Diplomacy Advisor (NSC)
  • Congressional Liaison
  • Press Secretary

The blueprint also suggests that the Obama administration establish the following groups:

Energy Innovation Council. Establish an interagency council “to develop an integrated, multiyear national energy research, development, and deployment strategy.” The authors note that “the federal government’s investment in energy R&D — around $2 billion last year — is woefully inadequate, only a third of what it spent 25 years ago. By contrast, the government spends $28 billion on medical research and $75 billion on military research.”

Energy Technology Corporation. Create a quasi-public entity “dedicated to managing large-scale energy demonstration projects in low- or no-carbon technologies.”

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National Energy Conference and Advisory Council. In the first weeks of the administration, the president should create an “ongoing advisory council” and “convene a series of meetings with key players,” including “business and financial leaders, labor leaders, farmers, scientists, public health experts, national security experts, environmentalists, leaders from the faith community, and others.”