Biden’s economic point man draws praise — and pushback

Few doubt Deese’s intelligence, and his close relationship with Biden is a potent source of his authority on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. But while supporters have praised his efforts to win support for a $1.9 trillion relief package, Deese also has drawn criticism from Democrats and Republicans alike, some of whom have bristled at how much power he’s been given and how he’s wielding it.

Senate Republicans have groused privately that Deese, who declined to be interviewed for this story, does not appear interested in compromising on a final coronavirus relief package. One Republican senator said that Deese, who has been meeting with members of both parties in group settings and one-on-one, appeared to brush off concerns on a range of economic issues, including stimulus checks.

“He is doing his job, but he hasn’t been easy to work with so far,” said the senator, who asked for anonymity to discuss the complaints candidly. “Either he’s not been instructed to be bipartisan or he doesn’t have much interest.”