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Former President Donald Trump left a parting gift before leaving Washington, D.C., that his successor is not happy about: dozens of allies appointed to a variety of government boards and commissions.
President Joe Biden is looking into how his administration may replace a number of Trump appointees to boards such as those overseeing the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and the Air Force Academy, according to Politico. But the people Trump appointed, many at the last minute before his exit from the White House, may be entrenched until their terms are up years later.
As Politico reports:
Biden’s team is trying to determine whether they can do anything about the appointments, a person familiar with the situation said. “We are tracking closely and seeing what we can do,” the person said.
But those who have reviewed the law governing the boards say removing appointees can be difficult, especially if they come with political or business connections that could help the organizations. Most appointees do not need Senate confirmation and will remain until the end of their yearslong terms. Those who support Trump’s appointments say if Congress opposes the appointment process, lawmakers should change it.
Biden may be able to replace some of Trump’s allies on commissions such as the Pentagon Defense Business Board, which gives business advice to the secretary of defense, that do not have set term limits for their members. Other boards, such as the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board, which has a five-year term, may prove difficult if not impossible to remake before members’ terms are up.
While the board positions are usually not salaried, many offer perks to their members such as travel money or access to exclusive events.
Since his inauguration last week, Biden’s administration has devoted itself to erasing much of Trump’s legacy and changes to the federal government. Biden issued dozens of executive orders his first week in office, more than triple the number that former Presidents Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush each passed in their first week in office combined.
A main focus of Biden’s early agenda has been cracking down on the fossil fuel industry by stifling production and revoking permits for development. On his first day in office, Biden signed an executive order directing the U.S. to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, a largely symbolic gesture with no legal weight committing the U.S. to cutting emissions. His order came along with executive actions rescinding a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, indefinitely suspending new oil and gas leases on federal land, and locking back up a massive oil reserve in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Biden has also began rolling back Trump-era policies on immigration. As early as Friday, the president reportedly intends to increase the number of refugees allowed into the United States. Biden has already attempted to freeze deportations of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.