Progressive Democratic leaders Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are likely to be excluded from President-elect Joe Biden’s Cabinet because of confirmation concerns and worries that they will be replaced by Republicans, The Associated Press reports.
Progressive leaders “sensing disappointment” have already “reluctantly” begun to support less-controversial alternatives, according to the report.
Warren, who has received support as a potential Treasury Secretary, and Sanders, who is pushing to be the Labor Secretary, both serve in states with Republicans governors, meaning they would almost certainly be replaced by Republicans. That could undercut the entire Biden agenda since Democrats are fighting to win a narrow Senate majority in the two runoffs in Georgia.
There are also concerns that Republicans, who may end up with the majority, may reject more progressive picks.
Pressure on Biden to pick progressives:
Whether Biden taps Warren and/or Sanders, both have pressured him to select more progressive Cabinet heads.
“It seems to me pretty clear that progressive views need to be expressed within a Biden administration,” Sanders told the AP. “It would be, for example, enormously insulting if Biden put together a ‘team of rivals’ — and there’s some discussion that that’s what he intends to do — which might include Republicans and conservative Democrats — but which ignored the progressive community. I think that would be very, very unfortunate.”
“It’s safe to say that Elizabeth Warren has definitely earned the trust and the ear of Joe Biden, and will surely have an influential role in agenda setting going forward whether it’s being a very powerful senator or a more formal role in his administration,” Adam Green, co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told the outlet. “No matter what, she’ll be powerful when it comes to agenda setting for the Democratic Party.”
Push for lesser-known progressives:
With Sanders and Warren likely to be shutout of the administration, some groups are now backing lesser-known progressive options like Michigan Rep. Andy Levin for Labor Secretary and former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen for Treasury Secretary.
“Not every single member of the administration is going to be progressive — that’s not who Joe Biden is,” Waleed Shahid, a spokesman for the progressive group Justice Democrats, told the AP, adding that progressives just want “adequate representation.”
“We are advocating for them to be included, but we also have backup choices,” he said of Sanders and Warren.