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Shuwanza Goff, left, speaks with then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019.
Shuwanza Goff, left, speaks with then-House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer in the Capitol on Jan. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Shuwanza Goff, a longtime congressional aide with strong relationships on both sides of the aisle, will become the next legislative affairs director at the White House and the first African American woman to serve in the role, President Joe Biden announced Monday. 

Goff was previously the White House’s deputy director of legislative affairs and House liaison. She left the administration for the private sector earlier this year but will be rejoining the White House to succeed Louisa Terrell. The White House earlier this month announced Terrell would be stepping down.

“Shuwanza is a proven leader and trusted voice on both sides of the aisle,” Biden said in a statement. “She returns to the White House with strong relationships across both Chambers, forged over more than a decade on Capitol Hill.”

Goff’s first job on the Hill was as a staff assistant in Steny H. Hoyer’s office in 2008, while she was still a graduate student at American University.  By 2013 she was Hoyer’s floor director — becoming the first Black woman to serve in the role in the history of the House — tasked with corralling the Democratic Caucus around legislative priorities. She also helped determine which bills made it to the House floor, set the legislative schedule and helped craft the Democratic policy agenda.

“I think I’m most excited about being able to still interact with the House, but doing it through a different sort of vantage point,” she said in December 2020, before departing Congress for the White House. “I expect the job to be similar to what I’m already doing … engaging with the members and knowing and understanding what their priorities are.”

In her former role at the White House, Goff led negotiations with congressional leaders on issues like infrastructure, COVID-19, postal overhaul, gun violence, semiconductors, health care and two major reconciliation packages, according to a statement from the White House.

“As my Deputy Director of Legislative Affairs, Shuwanza helped pass monumental pieces of legislation through Congress: from the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, to the Chips and Science Act and the Inflation Reduction Act,” Biden said in the statement.

“Shuwanza’s close partnership with my decades-long friends in the House and Senate, and her expertise, instincts and deep respect for the United States Congress will continue to serve our Administration and the American people well,” the statement continued.

Goff has strong working relationships with top-ranking House members, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans. Rep. Patrick T. McHenry, R-N.C., who worked with Goff in his capacity as chief deputy whip for House Republicans before she left for the White House, called her “top notch.”

“She fights tenaciously for their side, but she also has respect on the Republican side because she knows what she’s doing,” McHenry told Roll Call in 2021

Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, a New Hampshire Democrat who chairs the powerful New Democrat Coalition, cheered the announcement Monday on Twitter.

“Shuwanza Goff is a talented and trusted legislative expert — she has proven experience working across the aisle to move our country forward, something I know she will continue to do in this new role,” Kuster wrote.

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