World Bank pick
POLITICS | Biden taps former Mastercard CEO to lead the bank
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On Feb. 23, President Joe Biden announced his nomination of former Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to become the 14th president of the World Bank. A White House press release noted that Banga, a native of India, would have unique insight on how to foster solutions for climate change in economically disadvantaged countries—a priority for the Biden administration.
The nomination earned rare bipartisan praise. The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., criticized Biden’s climate agenda but lauded Banga.
“The next World Bank President must focus on the Bank’s core mission of alleviating global poverty and the necessary reforms to confront China’s economic aggression, rather than progressive pet projects,” McHenry said in a statement. “I am confident in Mr. Banga’s ability to fulfill this role.”
At Mastercard, Banga oversaw a remarkable period of growth. During his time as CEO from 2010 to 2021, the company’s estimated value grew tenfold to some $345 billion.
The World Bank’s mission is to reduce poverty and increase economic development through strategic investments. Because of its majority stake, the United States has selected every president of the World Bank so far, although other countries are also free to present their own candidates.
The World Bank’s board must now evaluate Banga’s candidacy—a process that could take several months—before confirming or rejecting his nomination.
Running blue in a reliably red state
U.S. Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., last month declared his intent to run for a fourth term. Because Democrats and their independent allies hold a 51-49 majority in the Senate, races like Tester’s will be critical for deciding control of the chamber in 2025.
Tester’s path to victory in 2024—a presidential election year—will require him to again win support from Montana’s Republican electorate, which backed former President Donald Trump over President Joe Biden by 16.4 percentage points in 2020. Tester is the chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and has used that position to connect with constituents concerned about military and service member support.
The UVA Center for Politics currently labels Tester’s race a toss-up. Another Democrat facing a 2024 reelection bid in a Republican state—if he decides to run—is West Virginia’s Joe Manchin. —L.B.
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