A spokesperson for the Biden transition declined to comment. A spokesperson for Rice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In her position, Rice, 56, will play a large role in implementing Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, a wide-ranging set of policy proposals that would invest trillions of dollars in American infrastructure and manufacturing, clean energy, caregiving, education and racial equity.
A person familiar with Biden’s thinking said he chose Rice for the role because of her deep experience in crisis management and interagency processes. The person said Biden does not see foreign, economic and diplomatic realms as separate and discrete and her deep knowledge of how the federal government works will be an asset to implementing his domestic policy agenda.
Biden officially announced Rice’s appointment Thursday morning, along with his nominations of Marcia Fudge to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Tom Vilsack as Agriculture secretary, Katherine Tai as U.S. trade representative and Denis McDonough as secretary of Veterans Affairs.
“The roles they will take on are where the rubber meets the road — where competent and crisis-tested governance can make a meaningful difference in people’s lives, enhancing the dignity, equity, security, and prosperity of the day-to-day lives of Americans,” Biden said in a statement.
Rice’s decision to take the domestic policy job also signals that she still harbors political ambitions. She floated the possibility of running for Senate in Maine against Susan Collins and was a finalist to serve as Biden’s running mate. The top domestic policy job will fill out her foreign policy-heavy resume.
Though Rice’s job does not require Senate confirmation, the Biden administration will need the support of Republicans to implement its far-reaching domestic policy agenda. Rice, however, has long been the target of the GOP because of her comments after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi and unmasking requests related to Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and foreign interference. Rice has never been charged with doing anything improper, but she has been the subject of withering criticism from Republicans, which could complicate the administration’s efforts to pass policies in Congress.