Jan 22, 2023
Jeff Zients set to be next White House Chief of Staff: Report
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Jeff Zients is reportedly set to be named the new White House chief of staff by President Joe Biden.
Zients, who previously served as Biden's coronavirus response coordinator from Jan. 2021 until April 2022, will replace White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain, per a report from the Washington Post.
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The report about Zients' appointment comes a day after the New York Times reported that Klain was planning on stepping down from his role.Klain has served as Biden's chief of staff since Jan. 2021, but is now expected to step away from the role in the coming weeks. FILE - White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients speaks during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, April 13, 2021. Former White House COVID-19 response coordinator Zients is among those on the shortlist to succeed White House chief of staff Ron Klain, who is preparing to leave his job in the coming weeks, according to a person familiar with Klain's plans. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File) Patrick Semansky/AP
Zients has served in both the Obama and Biden administrations in a variety of roles. Under former President Barack Obama, Zients was deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget before later becoming the director of the National Economic Council. He also served as a counselor to Biden from Jan. 2021 until April 2022.
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When Zients left his position as the White House coronavirus response coordinator, Biden called him "a man of service and an expert manager," adding that "there is no one better at delivering results than Jeff."
Klain's departure will be the most high profile of the Biden administration, but more could be on the horizon if Biden announces a reelection bid for 2024.Opinion Biden must stop blaming Avian flu for all farming inflation By: Taylor Hunt Sign up now to get the Washington Examiner’s breaking news and timely commentary delivered right to your inbox. White House Ron Klain Joe Biden News Chief of Staff
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Tags: white house white house joe biden ron klain barack obama white house ron klain joe biden news chief of staff white house chief of staff ron klain white house chief of staff ron klain served as biden’s as biden’s in the coming weeks from the washington white house covid patrick semansky the white house director jeff zients until april
House Democrat on climate change caucus rakes in cash from oil and gas investments
A Democratic congresswoman who is part of a congressional caucus aiming to fight the effects of climate change is earning major profits on her oil and gas stock purchases in recent years, according to records reviewed by the Washington Examiner.
Rep. Lois Frankel is a member of the Safe Climate Caucus, which has targeted the fracking industry and aims "to solve the important issues facing our country because of climate change."
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However, the Florida Democrat's purported commitment to staving off climate change has not stopped her from shelling out up to $195,000 between March 2020 and December 2022 to obtain shares of six oil and gas companies that have ballooned in value, filings show.
"Regardless of party, we call on all Congressional [leaders] elected to divest from the fossil fuel industry and to be real climate champions," Thanu Yakupitiyage, a spokeswoman for 350.org, a left-leaning group that supports ending the use of fossil fuels and transitioning to green energy, told the Washington Examiner. "Any politician who has holdings in the fossil fuel industry cannot truly say they are for climate action.
"We expect all Congressional leaders to adhere to a fossil-free pledge," she added, referring to an agreement some Democratic lawmakers have made to reject $200 or more in donations from oil, gas, and coal industry executives or related lobbyists and political action committees.
Between March 2020 and December 2022, Frankel bought up to $60,000 worth of Diamondback Energy, a Texas-based oil and natural gas company that pulled in over $6.7 billion in revenue in 2021. She has also, separately, sold up to $30,000 worth of the stock, disclosures show.
Diamondback Energy's stock is up by over 15% in the last year, sitting at more than $151 per share as of this writing. Frankel's purchases combined were struck at roughly $105 per share, according to filings.
Frankel also purchased up to $45,000 worth of ConocoPhillips between March 2020 and July 2022. In 2019, the Guardian said the multinational Houston-based Hydrocarbon exploration company was responsible for 0.91% of global greenhouse gas emissions from 1998 to 2015.
ConocoPhillips is currently trading at over $124 per share, up by over 10% since last year. Frankel's trades were struck at an average of over $57 per share combined, filings show.
"These investments are seriously concerning and show the deep hold that oil, gas, and coal interests have over our financial and political system," Colin Rees, political director for Oil Change U.S., an anti-fossil fuels group, told the Washington Examiner.
The congresswoman told the Washington Examiner that her trades are "managed independently by a money manager who buys and sells stocks at his discretion."
Still, if Frankel was serious about targeting the fossil fuels industry through her pro-green energy stance, she would communicate to her money manager that she doesn't want to broadly invest in oil and gas stocks, according to Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market think tank.
"Hypocrisy is not in short supply anywhere in humankind," he told the Washington Examiner. "Perhaps it's even more prevalent among our elected leaders. She made a bet on these stocks, and, boy, has that paid off."
Kendra Arnold, executive director of the Foundation for Accountability and Civic Trust, a right-leaning watchdog, said Frankel's "independent money manager" claim "has no value." This is because members can legally communicate to their managers about trade preferences and are, ultimately, "fully aware" of what they are invested in.
In October 2022, Frankel bought up to $30,000 worth in stock of Halliburton, a major fracking company that has come under fire for its ties to George W. Bush's presidential administration. Halliburton is currently trading at over $40 per share, and Frankel's shares were struck at over $33 per share combined, according to filings.
Halliburton agreed to pay a $382 million fine in 2009 in connection to its then-subsidiary, KBR, bribing top Nigerian government officials between 1994 and 2004. The Houston company, which aims for a 40% emissions reduction by 2035, has been criticized by climate groups for not complying with Environmental Protection Agency demands for information on the chemicals it uses to frack.
Frankel, between May 2020 and April 2022, has also bought up to $105,000 worth combined in shares of the petroleum refineries companies PBF Energy and Hess Corporation, as well as the oil and gas company Pioneer Natural Resources. She has also sold up to $75,000 worth combined in shares of these companies, records show.
PBF Energy's stock is up by over 16% year-to-date, Pioneer Natural Resources stock by over 7%, and Hess Corporation's by over 16%.
"Anyone who looks at the data can clearly see that an all-of-the-above, made-in-America approach to energy policy — which includes oil and gas — is the most environmentally responsible approach," Rep. Bruce Westerman (R-AR), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, told the Washington Examiner. "While it’s disappointing to see the Left’s hypocrisy when it comes to energy, it’s certainly not surprising."
Other fossil-fuel-backed stocks Frankel has purchased in the past include utility companies reliant on the oil and gas industry. This includes Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, PPL Corporation, Southern Company, and Portland General Electric.
On her congressional website, Frankel lists "protecting the environment" as a top issue. The congresswoman notably opposed former President Donald Trump's move to yank the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement, which America joined in 2015 and that sets voluntary targets for countries to cut greenhouse gas emissions. President Joe Biden added the U.S. back to the agreement on his first day in office.
Frankel has also tweeted that investing in green energy "will drastically reduce carbon emissions, while also creating jobs & growing our economy."
She was a backer of Biden's Build Back Better Act, a failed $1.7 trillion spending bill that invested hundreds of millions of dollars in climate initiatives. Later, she voted in favor of the Inflation Reduction Act, a $740 billion energy and climate spending bill that Biden signed into law in August 2022.
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The Safe Climate Caucus has applauded the Clean Power Plan, an Obama-era policy ruled unconstitutional in June 2022 that sought to cut greenhouse gas emissions through carbon dioxide regulation. The Supreme Court held that the EPA's plan was overextending its authority — which critics said would harm job growth and creation.
"Confronting the climate crisis requires weakening Big Oil’s political power, and divesting from destructive industries like fossil fuels is a key requirement for any elected official’s credibility on energy issues," said Rees, the Oil Change U.S. political director. "Big Oil’s influence is a major problem in our political system and a key obstacle to addressing the climate crisis."Opinion Unhinged: Stanford student facing backlash for reading a book By: Brad Polumbo DC wants federal government to solve migrant crisis as it buckles under influx Sign up now to get the Washington Examiner’s breaking news and timely commentary delivered right to your inbox. Congress Energy Climate Change Fossil Fuels Florida News