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Pro-Biden outside group launching with White House’s blessing

President Joe Biden is getting outside reinforcements to help promote and build support for his policy agenda in the form of a new nonprofit advocacy group, a senior administration official and a person familiar with the matter told CNN.

The nonprofit, named Building Back Together, will launch next month with the White House’s blessing and is expected to air ads and coordinate pro-Biden messaging with other supportive outside groups, the sources said. The Wall Street Journal first reported the group’s impending launch on Wednesday.

White House officials view the group as an important effort to help sell, build and maintain support for Biden’s policy agenda over the coming months — beginning with issues like coronavirus and the economy.

“He has a set of ambitious and bold proposals to move this country forward, and making sure that people who support those proposals and who have grassroots members across the country are involved and in a position to get the information they need is going to help move them forward,” the senior administration official said.

The nonprofit will be run by a group of Democratic strategists who formerly worked on or are close to the Biden campaign, the official said, including: Stephanie Cutter, the 2012 Obama deputy campaign manager who produced the 2020 Democratic National Convention; Addisu Demissie, who ran Democratic New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s 2020 presidential campaign; Patrick Bonsignore, the Biden campaign’s paid media director; and Matt Barreto, a Biden campaign pollster.

Top White House officials are expected to stay in close touch with the nonprofit’s strategists but will not direct or control the group directly. Cutter is a former business partner of now-White House deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon and the pair will work in close coordination, along with Anita Dunn and other top Biden advisers.

The outside effort is modeled after a similar operation from the Obama administration, where a group called the Common Purpose Project helped promote the agenda of the White House.

Building Back Together was also formed to be something of a check on progressive groups, which are stepping up their efforts to push the Biden administration leftward. The group is designed to be an umbrella operation to keep a variety of interest groups in step with the White House.

Just as in the Obama administration, some Democrats are critical of the spending on these types of outside organizations because donations and energy flows toward them instead of the Democratic National Committee. But the formation of the group underscores the considerable challenges awaiting Biden as he looks to push his legislative agenda through a narrowly divided ccongress.

To this point, the President has largely zeroed in on economic relief and public health measures to get the country back on track amid the coronavirus pandemic. But all of his stated priorities — such as health care, immigration and climate change — will present legislative challenges. The Senate is evenly divided between the parties but Vice President Kamala Harris is able to break ties there in favor of Democrats, and Biden’s party holds a slim advantage in the House.

In the meantime, Biden has mostly set his agenda into motion through executive actions, many of which have been aimed at addressing the pandemic and dismantling many of former President Donald Trump’s policies.

This story has been updated with additional information Wednesday.

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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