Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, was hurrying to a vote by way of the Capitol’s cavernous underground tunnel system on a latest Thursday when his telephone rang. It was Pete Buttigieg, the secretary of transportation, calling for a fast briefing earlier than an infrastructure assembly he had scheduled with a bunch of Republican senators.
Mr. Coons dismissed the reporters trailing him, propped his pc pill towards a railing subsequent to the Senate subway observe, and started typing away, taking notes, as he lowered his voice to share the skinny on the Republicans.
“These are Republican senators he doesn’t know,” Mr. Coons stated of Mr. Buttigieg after the two hung up. “So it’s just sort of tactical advice about specific members. What are their interests? What’s the background? Do you think there’s room for progress?”
Before the finish of the day, Mr. Coons’s telephone would ring a number of extra occasions, with varied White House officers on the different finish — looking for counsel, scuttlebutt and perception that President Biden wanted to navigate his agenda by way of the Senate.
To path Mr. Coons on Capitol Hill is to witness how he operates as an extra pair of eyes and ears for the Biden administration in Congress, a form of consigliere trusted by each the president and the senators — lots of them Republicans — whom Mr. Biden must succeed.
It is a far much less prestigious job than the one which Mr. Coons — who interned for Mr. Biden three many years in the past, turned his mentee on the New Castle County Council, campaigned for him in Iowa and now holds the seat that after belonged to him — initially sought in the Biden administration, the place he had hoped to function secretary of state. But it might probably demand the identical form of shuttle diplomacy and high-stakes negotiation.