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Susan Rice to leave role as White House domestic policy chief

Susan Rice has led the Domestic Policy Council during President Biden’s administration. (Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post)
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Susan Rice will step down as White House domestic policy adviser, President Biden announced Monday, praising her work on some of the more divisive issues for his administration, including immigration and health care.

Rice, 58, previously served as national security adviser and ambassador to the United Nations under President Barack Obama, and was reported to have been considered as Biden’s running mate in 2020.

Biden instead named Rice to serve as his top domestic policy chief, a decision that he acknowledged Monday “surprised a lot of people.”

“Susan was synonymous with foreign policy,” Biden said in a statement. “But what I knew then and what we all know now — after more than two years of her steady leadership of the Domestic Policy Council — it’s clear: there is no one more capable, and more determined to get important things done for the American people than Susan Rice.”

Rice plans to step down in late May, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters Monday. NBC News, which first reported on Rice’s departure, said her last day would be May 26. Rice has not specified what her plans after leaving the White House would be and could not be reached immediately Monday.

As chair of the Domestic Policy Council, Rice was responsible for overseeing a vast policy portfolio that included economic mobility, health care and immigration.

Biden credited Rice’s efforts with helping to expand the Affordable Care Act, enabling Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices for seniors and to cap the cost of insulin at $35, taking “historic actions to reduce gun violence,” and increasing access to child care and long-term care, among other achievements.

In 2021, CBS News reported that Rice and other administration officials were divided on whether to end a Trump-era immigration policy under Title 42 that allowed border agents to expel migrants for public health reasons during the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, Rice reportedly argued the border policy remained necessary. After lengthy delays and court battles, the policy is set to expire next month, shortly before Rice steps down.

On Monday, Biden had only words of praise for Rice’s work on immigration policy.

“We reversed the harmful immigration policies of the previous Administration, reunified more than 670 children separated from their families, and rebuilt the broken system of care for unaccompanied children, putting their safety and well-being first and foremost,” Biden stated. “The list goes on, and would not have been possible without Susan.”

At the outset of Biden’s term in office, Rice was also tasked with ensuring racial equity was incorporated into all of the administration’s policies.

Biden noted that Rice is the only person in U.S. history to serve as both national security adviser and domestic policy adviser.

“But what sets her apart as a leader and colleague is the seriousness with which she takes her role and the urgency and tenacity she brings, her bias towards action and results, and the integrity, humility and humor with which she does this work,” he said.

In a social media post, Rice said she was “deeply grateful” to Biden for trusting her to serve as domestic policy adviser, and praised the teams at the Domestic Policy Council and White House.

“There are no more dedicated public servants,” Rice said. “I am so proud of all we have been able to accomplish together for the American people.”

Tyler Pager contributed to this report.