Progressive groups are pushing President-elect Joe Biden to include more candidates who lean further to the left than him in his cabinet, including a member of the “Squad,” as they seek influence over policymaking.
The Sunrise Movement, a group focused on the urgency of climate change, is advocating for cabinet picks who have no ties to fossil fuel companies or corporate lobbyists. It’s a wish list that includes Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
Justice Democrats, which has a stated goal of building a “mission-driven caucus” in Congress by electing more leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also signed off on the list, which also includes Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.
Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, is a vocal critic of President Trump.
She also recently lashed out at fellow Democrats, some of whom blamed down-ballot losses on progressive members of the party, telling Politico that she isn’t interested in unity if it comes at the cost of people’s rights and freedoms.
Meanwhile, Biden appeared to throw cold water on the idea that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., might be tapped for cabinet roles during an interview with NBC this week.
He claimed he already had “significant representation among progressives” in his administration, and taking a Democrat out of the Senate or the House would be a difficult decision.
“I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda and it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get it done,” Biden said.
Sanders has been a progressive favorite for labor secretary, and Warren had been eyeing the role of Treasury Secretary, which was offered to former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.
Biden has also taken on a number of staffers who previously served in the Obama administration, and is consequently fending off the idea that his tenure will essentially resemble a third term for former President Barack Obama.
“This is not a third Obama term because we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” Biden told NBC News. “President Trump has changed the landscape, it’s become ‘America first,’ which meant America alone.”
Biden said he selected certain individuals to serve in his administration because they represent the spectrums of both the American people and the Democratic Party.