Biden’s domestic policy adviser Susan Rice departs

by Jacob Fuller

White House domestic policy adviser Susan Rice is departing after two years, President Joe Biden said in a statement on Monday praising her efforts on healthcare and immigration while noting her historic role serving as a top domestic and national security aide in two administrations.

“After more than two years of her steady leadership of the Domestic Policy Council – it’s clear: there is no one more capable, and more determined to get important things done for the American people than Susan Rice,” Biden said.

Rice previously served as a national security adviser and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under then-President Barack Obama when Biden was vice president. Her last day is expected to be May 26, according to a source familiar with the situation.

“As the only person to serve as both National Security Advisor and Domestic Policy Advisor, Susan’s record of public service makes history,” Biden added.

Biden noted that her selection to oversee domestic priorities “surprised a lot of people” but he cited her efforts on healthcare, gun and police reform, student debt, child care and immigration, among other issues.

Among those being eyed as a replacement for her include Neera Tanden, Biden’s staff secretary and a senior adviser, the source said.

The move comes as Biden prepares to officially announce his re-election bid as early as Tuesday

The Democrat has faced some headwinds on immigration after promising to roll back almost all of the restrictive policies imposed under his Republican predecessor, Donald Trump, and the issue is likely to resurface during the 2024 presidential campaign.

Rice played an influential role shaping Biden’s immigration policy, tending to favor more restrictive measures at the U.S.-Mexico border. A source with knowledge of the issue previously said her push for tougher border enforcement clashed with more liberal staffers on the president’s Domestic Policy Counsel.

During a spike in migrant arrivals after Biden took office in 2021, she pushed for faster releases of unaccompanied children to U.S. sponsors. The practice has come under scrutiny as Reuters and other outlets have documented instances of children working illegally in grueling jobs.

Biden announced Rice as his top domestic aide before taking office in January 2021 after having considered her as a possible running mate in the 2020 election.

At the time, a source familiar with Biden’s thinking had said he viewed foreign policy and domestic policy as intertwined and valued her experience across the federal government as valuable to enacting his domestic agenda and efforts to rebuild the economy after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Copyright 2023 Thomson/Reuters