Biden taps new chief of staff, deputy

November 13, 2013

Vice President Biden announced on Wednesday that his chief of staff, Bruce Reed, would step down next month and be replaced by a senior adviser, Steve Ricchetti, a former top official in the Clinton White House and lobbyist.

Before joining Biden's staff in March, 2012, Richetti ran a public affairs and lobbying firm in Washington. He had officially deregistered as a lobbyist at the end of 2008, so he did not need to obtain the waiver that the administration requires of every official it hires who has been a lobbyist in the past two years. His firm has done work on behalf of AT&T, drug-maker Eli Lilly and other private-sector clients.

Before his lobbying work, Richetti served as deputy chief of staff and deputy assistant to the president for legislative affairs in then-President Bill Clinton’s White House.

Biden also announced that communications director Shailagh J. Murray will be promoted to deputy chief of staff. Murray, a former journalist for the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post who joined the White House in May, 2011, also will continue in her current role.

Biden's restructured leadership team will help shape the last three years of his vice presidency as he mulls whether to run for president in 2016.

“Steve and I have been friends for years, and I was thrilled when he joined my staff as counselor,” Biden said in a statement Wednesday morning.  “He has a wealth of experience in policy and government, he knows Congress, and he has strong relationships with the West Wing staff.  I’m lucky to have him.”

For his part, Rucchetti said: “It’s a privilege to serve the Vice President and I look forward to this new challenge.”

Biden also thanked Reed, who is leaving to become president of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation, a major philanthropy focused on education, for his work in the administration.

“The middle class is stronger, the tax code is fairer, the deficit is smaller, and America is safer because of what this administration has accomplished during his time here,” the vice president said.

Since joining Biden's staff nearly three years ago, Reed has been a key White House negotiator on a series of budget clashes with Republicans. He also helped coordinate the administration’s work on adopting more stringent gun-control rules through executive actions and new legislation, the latter of which failed in Congress.

Zachary A. Goldfarb is policy editor at The Washington Post.
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