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Kamala Harris' Former Policy Chief Gives Peek Into New White House Priorities

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Welcome back to Human Capital! After a short hiatus, we’re back with Daniel Suvor, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ chief of policy and senior counsel during her time as California attorney general. Suvor, partner at O’Melveny & Myers in Los Angeles and co-chair of the firm’s State Attorneys General Litigation and Investigations Group, fills us in on what’s likely ahead in the upcoming Biden-Harris administration.

Regulatory enforcement “is going to significantly increase,” says Suvor, who remains active in politics. “I don’t think that’s going out on a limb.”

The top priority “seems to be the urgent response to COVID — to the growing public health crisis,” Suvor said. “I think that for Biden, the pandemic laid bare some truths about income inequality and the need to protect working families.” 

Keep scrolling to see other top priorities Suvor predicts for the incoming Biden-Harris administration. 

A quick backgrounder: Suvor specializes in high-stakes litigation, government investigations and controversies, and regulatory matters. His practice areas include products liability, health care, environmental, technology, financial services and white collar and investigation matters that could appear before government agencies.

Other high-level political roles: Suvor was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a litigation attorney for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and as special assistant to the general counsel of HHS. He also served in the Obama administration as senior director of the White House Office of Cabinet Affairs.

Expect significant focus on: consumer protection, enforcement in the health space, as well as big tech, antitrust and privacy issues as well as financial fraud. “I think they’ll also do a lot to make it easier for workers to organize and collectively bargain, and enforcement [of] wage and hour laws in addition to environmental law enforcement,” he said.

Biden and Harris “have plans to beat COVID-19.” That starts “with ensuring public health officials are informed,” Suvor said.

Plans will also be laid to build on the Affordable Care Act, by adding in new options for individuals who want to obtain insurance. “The idea is once we succeed in beating the pandemic, we ensure that millions of Americans who suffer long-term side effects don’t face higher premiums or higher health insurance costs based on preexisting conditions,” Suvor said.

The Biden-Harris administration plans to “lower health care costs and expand access through a Medicare-like public option,” he relayed.

Privacy will be another top focus. The big California Consumer Privacy Act “was just amended by state ballot initiative and it could have major consequences for data-dependent businesses,” Suvor said. It will “change how businesses collect, share and sell personal information of California consumers.”

A new consumer privacy watchdog in California was set up under the new amendments, with the full law not taking effect until 2023. “Many of the requirements of the act came into effect earlier this year,” along with the state ballot changes, Suvor explained.

How’s Kamala as a boss? “She’s great to work with; a good heart and compass and she’s a great boss,” Suvor relayed. “She’s someone that really cares about making a difference, and thinks about vulnerable people; she’s going to bring that perspective to the White House.”

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