ALEXANDRIA, Va.—With Joe Biden slated to be sworn in on January 20, what will the 46th president’s cabinet look like—and how will it impact the convenience retailing industry?
“It’s clear that the top issue or agenda item for the Biden administration, which we’re starting to see with his nomination picks for his cabinet and White House staff picks, will be climate change,” said Paige Anderson, NACS director of government relations, on this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “The Biden Administration and the C-Store Industry.”
“Climate change is going to be the overwhelming issue that’s going to impact our industry,” she said. “From a fuels perspective yes, but you’re also really going to see an aggressive greening of all sorts of policy initiatives…from statements to executive orders to regulatory action—and it’s going to start the first day.”
As part of the Biden focus on climate change, his administration has asked John Kerry, former Secretary of State under Obama, to be the climate czar on the international front. “[Kerry] played a big role in negotiating the Paris Agreement,…so it’s no surprise” that Biden would want him to helm this position, Anderson said.
Anderson’s NACS colleague, Jon Taets, also director of government relations, shared a slightly different view on the podcast. “The big thing that concerns me is where their Labor Department is going to go,” he said. Biden has yet to announce his pick for Labor secretary. “I think it will be progressive, and I think we’ll see him starting to roll back a lot of what the Trump Administration did over the last couple of years, such as the overtime rule and joint employer rule.”
While the election outcome wasn’t quite as definitive a change as the Democrats and Republicans expected, Taets pointed out that “for me, [Biden] has been a little bit all over the board on his appointments….I think there’s a lot of push and pull within the Democratic party as to what they want him to do with more progressive picks. So far, he has not gone too progressive.”
Anderson also said Biden’s transportation department pick of former mayor and presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg wasn’t too surprising. “He was one of the few candidates in the primary who was actually talking about transportation and infrastructure, vehicle miles [traveled] tax fee in his infrastructure plan,” she said. “His resume may not be very deep on transportation issues—he certainly was talking about it on the campaign trail when he was a candidate.”
For more insights on what the next four years could bring for our industry, listen to the podcast here. Also, read coverage in the January 2021 Inside Washington column in NACS Magazine.
Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. With more than 200 episodes to choose from, the podcast can be heard on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play and other podcast apps and YouTube and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded more than 200,000 times by listeners around the world.