President-elect Joe Biden's team has signaled to congressional and corporate leaders that the new White House advisor, Steve Ricchetti, will be one of their contacts in the new administration.
Biden's advisors have told lawmakers and business executives that Ricchetti will be an important link in trying to get in touch with the new government, according to those briefed on the matter. Ricchetti, a longtime confidante of Biden, was recently named advisor to the president and chaired the Biden campaign.
Several people said Ricchetti is expected to play a role similar to that of Valerie Jarrett when she was President Barack Obama's senior advisor. Jarrett would turn to business leaders to measure them against Obama's policies.
"What I keep hearing from the business community is that they want a strong economy. That's a goal the president shares," Jarrett told Politico in 2010, despite Obama targeting some of the largest financial institutions in the country.
Ricchetti's position will include working with Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-La., Who, in addition to his senior advisor role, will also serve as the director of the Public Engagement Office at the White House, according to another person familiar with the matter. Richmond is expected to be the leading business relationship for Biden's administration, according to Politico.
Ricchetti's portfolio will also include working with Louisa Terrell, Biden's director of legislative affairs at the White House, the person added.
Ricchetti's extensive experience in Washington as former Biden chief of staff and as chairman of the campaign, in which he worked with executives and union leaders on Wall Street, among others, gives him the advantage of knowing several influential actors who could help the future administration.
Nonetheless, progressive groups criticized Ricchetti, who was also a lobbyist.
NBC News reported last week that Demand Progress and other progressive organizations launched a website with a petition urging company executives to be banned from Biden's administration. Ricchetti is one of the names on their list of "most concerned corporate insiders trying to get into the Biden administration".
Ron Klain, Biden's chief of staff, said the president-elect would announce some cabinet members on Tuesday. Biden announced an additional key for his national security team on Monday.
Ricchetti and a spokesman for the transition did not return a request for comment.
During the campaign, Ricchetti had a role similar to his likely upcoming position in Biden's administration. He met with Wall Street executives in January to gather their support for Biden. A Ricchetti ally reaches out to senior executives to discuss ideas for possible private sector funding for Biden's extensive infrastructure proposal, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Those who refused to appear in this story did so to speak freely. The person familiar with the ally who is working on outside efforts to catch the pulse of the business community on infrastructure reform declined to be named as the effort is still ongoing.
Biden released a $ 1.3 trillion infrastructure plan late last year. The proposal includes the restoration of highways, roads and bridges, and an attempt to encourage further adoption of electric vehicles and trains. While both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have expressed an interest in getting an infrastructure bill passed, there has been frequent debate over how to pay for it.
Some executives have already started encouraging Biden to move forward with some form of infrastructure package.
Bob Swan, the CEO of Intel, suggested that part of the management of Biden should focus on investing in digital infrastructure.
"The widespread use of advanced 5G telecommunications networks will increase the efficiency of businesses in all industries and enable more innovation in the US." Swan said in an open letter posted on Monday. "Upgrades to our infrastructure not only have to deal with today's technology, but also drive the development of tomorrow's technologies."
Many corporate lobby groups, like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have included infrastructure reform in what they want to work on with a Biden administration. The Business Roundtable has expressed an interest in working with a White House in Biden to remove the tariffs introduced by President Donald Trump's administration. Another round of the coronavirus stimulus is a top priority for both groups.
Outside of the political proposals, the CEOs gather around Biden as elected president, while Trump continues to fight the election results. A group of over 160 New York executives wrote an open letter to the Trump administration asking the General Services Administration to confirm the election.
Signatories include BlackRock CEO Larry Fink, Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon, Blackstone President, Jon Gray, Lazard CEO Kenneth Jacobs, and Blair Effron, Centerview Partners co-founder.