Biden taps new legislative affairs head as spending fight approaches

Biden taps new legislative affairs head as spending fight approaches

President Joe Biden on Monday named longtime Hill aide Shuwanza Goff as his director of legislative affairs, just in time for the coming high-stakes spending negotiations with Republicans.

Goff, the first Black woman named to the role, will succeed Louisa Terrell, who’s held the position since the start of the Biden administration and steered the White House’s multitrillion-dollar agenda through narrow congressional majorities. Goff’s new role will be particularly critical in the coming weeks, given her amicable relationships with House Republicans, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy, as she takes on the task of navigating a divided government and a looming government shutdown threat.

“Shuwanza is a proven leader and trusted voice on both sides of the aisle. She returns to the White House with strong relationships across both Chambers, forged over more than a decade on Capitol Hill,” Biden said in a statement.

The administration’s appointment has satisfied Hill allies who had pushed the administration to consider diverse candidates for the coveted spot. Some congressional Democrats had privately grumbled about about the rumored shortlist, worried the candidate list lacked diversity.

Goff is a veteran of Capitol Hill and is widely respected on both sides of the aisle — and one of the few Democratic aides to have longstanding relationships with Republicans like McCarthy. She started her Hill career in the office of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) in 2008, eventually rising to become his floor director when he was in Democratic leadership.

She rose through the ranks in former Majority Leader Hoyer’s office but also built strong ties to progressive Democrats, who were privately cheering her return to the White House on Monday.

She previously served as the deputy director of the White House Legislative Affairs Office and its House Liaison for the first two years of the Biden administration before departing earlier this year for the private sector. Goff had been part of the White House’s legislative brawls over the infrastructure bill and the party-line social spending packages, among other issues.

Democrats immediately cheered the announcement, with Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) tweeting: “Shuwanza is the best of the best.”

The Associated Press first reported Goff’s appointment.

Sarah Ferris contributed to this report.

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Author: By Nicholas Wu